Case Study



Boston Tea Party Historical Society

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Triangular Trade in New England Colonies

New England colonies, including Massachusetts and the city of Boston actively participated in the so-called Triangular Trade. The trade was called “triangular” because of the specific pattern in which the goods were exchanged. Like any other trade the purpose was to bring goods from overseas that were in high demand at home and trade them for goods that would be more expensive if sold overseas.

In most cases the triangular trade relied on importing slaves from Africa to work on plantations, but unlike Brazil and other South American countries such as Peru that traded with Africa directly, the triangular trade involved three destinations. It required more planning and carried higher risk and as a result was more profitable.

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William Molineux – charismatic street agitator

William Molineux (c. 1717 – October 22, 1774), Boston merchant and friend of Samuel Adams was one of the most influential and radical patriots. By some accounts he had more authority on the streets of pre-revolutionary Boston than Adams himself. He died unexpectedly at age 58, just one year after the Boston Tea Party stirring up rumors about assassination and suicide.

Unlike other revolutionary leaders, who tried to distance themselves from the mobs that carried out protests, Molineux was not afraid to get his hands dirty. The Boston Tea Party was one of such acts. Molineux not only organized the protesters but actually lead them to destroy the tea.

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Ebenezer Stevens and the myth of Indian disguise

Ebenezer Stevens was a participant in the Boston Tea Party who later in life distinguished himself by rising to the ranks for Major General in the United State Army. His memories of the event about which he later spoke with his family debunked the popular myth that the participants were dressed as Indians.

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Nathaniel Willis – the Publisher and the Pioneer Journalist

Nathaniel Willis was one of the younger patriots who participated in the Boston Tea Party protest. He was only 18 years old when the protest was carried out. Willis was a publisher by profession and worked for Boston Independent Chronicle in the same printing office with Benjamin Franklin.

Willis lived quite an active life. In addition to joining his compatriots in the Boston Tea Party he was a distinguished horseman and served in the military.

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Francis Moore, the Man Who did not Wear Disguise

Almost every historic text about the Boston Tea Party mentions the fact that the participants disguised themselves as Indians. The documents however disagree with illustrations that show elaborate Indian costumes - in reality the cover was more modest. The costumes also helped to create the mystery of who were the exact participants. Even in our days the lists of participants are disputed due to inaccuracies. But interestingly at least one participant was known to wear no disguise - Francis Moore of Cambridge, MA.

Mr. Moore was born in 1741 and at the time of the protest was thirty-two years old. He passed away in 1833 at the age of ninety-three.

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Participant – Joseph Roby

From the little information available we know Joseph Roby was son of the Rev. Joseph Roby, of the Second Parish in Lynn, MA. He was the eldest son, twenty years old at the time, and is given in the list published by Francis S. Drake as "active in the destruction of the tea."

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Numbers and Facts


Student Essays

The Location

The Ships

Origin of the Tea


Printable Poster

Samuel Adams Biography

Picture Galleries


Top 10 preceding historic events

Triangular trade in the colonies

Tea Party reenactment script

The Tea Act of 1773

Debate Arguments for the British

The Actual Tea Chest

The Ballad

Information about Peru culture, history, Inca civilization, Machu Picchu and travel

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