Christopher S. Davis

The Boston Tea Party: Separating Myth from Reality after 250 Years

For 250 years the Boston Tea Party has captured our imagination, becoming one of the great American legends. In this session we will use primary sources and expert scholarship to dive deep into the details of the (in)famous destruction of the tea. We’ll examine the event itself and our memory of it by comparing artistic depictions to what really happened. Additionally, we’ll consider the broader crisis by watching resistance to the Tea Act first grow in the other colonies. We’ll then see Boston try to catch up and eventually go overboard (literally). We’ll look at the response to the destruction here and across the Atlantic. Then we’ll push on to the Second Boston Tea Party and the enactment of the Intolerable Acts.

By examining the details and dispelling the myths, we’ll strive to answer the question: What would it have been like to be standing on Griffin’s Wharf on the evening of December 16, 1773?

The professional recording of this session was funded by a Preserving America grant from Americana Corner.

[Recorded on 12 August 2023]

Christopher Sherwood Davis is a former supervisor at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, which is where he became obsessed with that iconic event. In addition to training the interpreters and managing daily tour operations, he helped research and develop a number of exhibits and presentations during his time there. He now explores the broader Tea Crisis independently and shares his insights through his blog and on social media. Christopher is also an actor/historical interpreter and a dialect coach. Look for his forthcoming service “Voicing the Past: Speech and Accent Coaching for Historical Performers.”

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