(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
The East India Company’s first corporate charter was granted in 1600 for a period of fifteen years. The company struggled to advance its trading and turn a profit initially but by 1609, business was picking up and King James I renewed the charter in 1609, for an indefinite period of time.
Imperialism worked like it always has and the corporation was able to expand toward many different places and grow bigger and richer. Thanks in large part to the stockholders and other rich people, deregulation of the company proceeded to occur over the years.
Monopolies were imposed soon enough. Another company was briefly set up by the government to try to compete, but they soon argued that there really was no strong competition against the company, so the companies merged.
The government and the shareholders fought back and forth over the company’s future for years. The government would pass an act, the company would retaliate, sometimes by finding new and more clever ways of getting around the burdens imposed.
By the mid 1700s, war was breaking out between Britain and France, in the midst of the growing power of the company and the emerging higher standard of living in Britain, while most of the war took place in the Americas, on “Indian” lands.
At the end of the Seven Years’ War, the Treaty of Paris was signed, and a provision in the treaty stipulated that French trade outposts were relegated to a few small spots. Britain had won the war, and consequently they gained more opportunities to expand trading, while the French lost opportunities, paving the way for further monopolies.
During the time that the company was being expanded, was gaining further monopoly rights, and creating untold wealth for Britain while American colonists weren’t seeing any of it, resentful colonists started smuggling contraband tea from other places, so they did not have to give money to the company, and, indirectly, Britain.
The King in Britain enacted the Stamp Act and later the Townshend Acts, after the former was repealed due to colonists’ objections to a direct tax to pay for a war fought on their soil by two other countries. The Townshend Acts were in part created to enforce that the British government had a right to tax the colonies, and to punish New York for disobeying the Quartering Act.
The governors of some of the colonies objected to the protesting, from the contraband tea to refusing to pay a tax to a corporation for its tea in order to pay for a war on their own soil, leading to the dissolution of some assemblies in the colonies.
Frustrated that the boycott had started to fail, and that many were too nervous to get involved, further action was taken and unrest was becoming so prevalent that more troops and gunships were requested and received by the government in the colonies. The British seized a ship, the HMS Liberty, accusing its owner John Hancock of treason for allegedly smuggling goods. Hancock was prosecuted but the charges were dropped.
More and more people became angry when they realized troops were on the way. Then the Boston Massacre happened, when colonists attacked some British troops in a riot.
This resulted in some troops leaving the area.
The Townshend Acts were amended at that point, but historians agree that the change was minute.
Since the East India Company sold all its tea to London and a duty tax was imposed, smugglers had been using the opportunity given to them to import contraband tea.
The result was unsurprisingly deregulation and, basically, tax cuts.
The Tea Act was imposed, again affirming the colonists’ mandate to pay taxes that would go to the corporation, while expanding the monopoly the corporation had by eliminating duties placed on their sales and allowing them to sell to the colonists at a reduced price. Supposedly the tea from the company would be consumed more because of its reduced price especially compared to contraband tea.
The company decided to ship tons of tea to the colonies. The liberal patriots in the colonies already opposed much of Britain’s rule and were already considering rebellion, while until this point, the conservatives weren’t ready to go that far.
This changed with the threat of a huge monopoly from the company. Suddenly even conservatives feared what would happen if this monopoly were to keep expanding and if the colonists were forced, indirectly, to fund what they saw as dangerous to the world and the colonies themselves.
Business owners greed not to sell the tea if it were to arrive in the colonies in order to fight against this monopoly.
Orders were canceled, except for Boston.
Colonists met in secret under increased threat from government forces and the leftover troops still hanging around. They decided to first try to block the tea from being allowed to be sold once it was accepted at the port. That didn’t work. The colonists had worked out ideas and attempted to come up with calm ways to resolve the crisis but tempers flared.
Then, of course, several colonists got together and dressed as Mohawk Indians, throwing the tea into the harbor which led to the elimination of most self-government in Massachusetts for awhile.
For their part, the colonists in other areas decided to take similar acts and a few other “tea parties” occurred and a boycott was imposed.
The Boston Tea Party led to a major increase in patriot revolutionaries in the colonies and brought people together in opposition to corporations and monopolies, and the government who worked in their favor.