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Hey, Matt:

How high were the taxes when the colonists finally got sick of it and dumped the tea in the brine and overthrew the British government? What would the equivalent be today?

-- Herman the German, the net

It wasn't so much the money, it was the principle of the thing, really. About 1765 the British were running short of cash, so they reached into the pockets of the colonists for a little tax money. The colonists knew that if the British got away with it, that would prove England had the power to tell the colonies what to do. Nobody here liked that idea much. So they boycotted British goods and managed to get all the taxes repealed but the three-cent customs duty on each pound of tea, the Brits' last bit of transatlantic control. Of course the duty didn't apply to the East India Company, just to non-British importers. Finally, in 1773, enough was just about enough, and the legendary band of rebels dumped 342 chests of Darjeeling into the harbor. Contemporary historians have been kind enough to translate that into pounds and even cups of tea: 90,000 pounds, 24 million cups of tea, worth $1 million today. So how much tax is that? Technically, none, since it was duty-free East India tea.

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