The Boston Tea Party is one of the defining stories of America’s founding as a nation. I remember learning about it year after year in school in the 1980s, probably every American kid does. What was never said in those scrappy little classrooms across Montana is that the story of the Boston Tea Party is also one of the sharpest tools wielded in defense of the mythologies that make up the American ideal. The fact that it was an illegal riot that destroyed private property doesn’t just get glossed over; it’s never presented that way, not in the U.S. anyway. It’s noble, the little nation that could refusing injustice imposed by a far-off government. What also gets glossed over is that the impetus for the riot wasn’t simply taxes; it was taxes imposed by government in order to benefit a private corporation.
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