J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Friday, October 01, 2010

Tea Party Patriots, Then and Now

The end of summer has brought the usual plethora of historical talks and events in Massachusetts. Here are three from the Old South Meeting House in Boston, circling around the Boston Tea Party.

On Thursday, 7 October, at 6:30 P.M., Prof. Jill Lepore of Harvard will speak on “The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle for American History.”

The 1773 Boston Tea Party is an iconic event in American history, a symbol for civic-minded citizens and activist organizations across the political spectrum. Since 2009, the far-right has laid claim to the Tea Party, creating a national campaign against taxation and tyranny in its modern forms. But what resemblance, if any, does this recent movement have to the original protests of 1773?
Lepore’s new book is The Whites of Their Eyes.

On Thursday, 21 October, at 6:30 P.M., Prof. Benjamin Carp of Tufts will speak on “Defiance of the Patriots: The Boston Tea Party of 1773,” which is also the name of his new book, to be launched that night.
On the evening of December 16, 1773, a group of disguised Bostonians boarded three merchant ships and dumped more than forty-six tons of tea into Boston Harbor. The Boston Tea Party was a daring and revolutionary act that set the stage for war. This study brings to life the diverse array of people and places that the Tea Party brought together—from Chinese tea-pickers to English businessmen, Native American tribes, sugar plantation slaves, and Boston’s ladies of leisure.
Showing how crowded the month has become, I know of three other historical organization hosting talks on eighteenth-century history the same night. But for folks interested in the real story of the Tea Party, Defiance of the Patriots is the most thorough and wide-ranging account out there.

Finally, the Old South’s reenactment of the meetings preceding the Boston Tea Party is a big draw every year. While the professors’ talks above are free, it costs $9 to attend the reenactment, and tickets can sell out. But if you buy today, the cost is only $8.


Josiah Coffey said...

Hello, just wondering when the reenactment will be?


J. L. Bell said...

This year’s reenactment is on 12 December, starting at 5:30 P.M. Click the last link in the posting for more info.