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Was the Boston Port Act Justified?

33.7% yes
66.3% no

March 31st marks the 250th anniversary of the passage of the Boston Port Act, and we are asking you to weigh in on a debate that had a huge impact during the lead-up to the American Revolution. In December 1773, a group of colonists boarded ships owned by the British East India Company and threw hundreds of chests of tea into Boston Harbor. They did so in protest of Parliament granting the company a monopoly on tea sales as well as imposing a new tax on tea. In response, Parliament passed the Boston Port Act, which closed the port to all trade until the city paid restitution to the British East India Company. The Act fueled colonial resistance to British policies—but was it justified? 

Those who argue that the Boston Port Act was justified argue that it was a reasonable measure designed to uphold justice and protect property rights. They contend that the colonists destroyed someone else’s property during the Tea Party, and that they should pay for the damages done. They may argue that colonists in Boston had been causing issues even before the Tea Party, so it was acceptable to pass an act to punish the entire city. Finally, they claim that because it was impossible to determine the individuals responsible for destroying the tea, a collective punishment was necessary in order to uphold justice. 

Those who argue that the Boston Port Act was not justified argue that it was an unjust act that violated the property rights of the colonists by closing off their trade. They argue that the Tea Party was a justified act to protest the unfair tax and monopoly that Parliament had passed. They argue that Parliament should not have imposed a punishment for it. They claim that even if a punishment for the event needed to be carried out, it was an injustice to pass a law that would have a negative impact on everyone in Boston. 

So, what do you think? Was the Boston Port Act Justified? Students can answer Yes, it was; No, it was not; or a nuanced answer in-between! Be sure to submit your responses by April 11th to be considered for this week’s contest.


Note: Ideal Think the Vote responses include the following:      

  • Address the question asked in a thoughtful and meaningful manner     
  • Use cited facts and constitutional arguments when appropriate to support their answers      
  • Are expressed in cohesive sentences and are free of distracting spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors      
  • They address counterarguments and opposing concerns in a respectful manner      
  • They organize their answer in a manner that flows logically and reads clearly   


For this question, BRI will be giving away two $25 gift cards, one to each person providing the best defense of each side of the debate. Both students will also win BRI swag. Each student winner will also be entered for a chance to win a grand prize of a $1,000 cash scholarship. Additionally, the referring teachers for both students will each win a $25 gift card and BRI swag. 

This question will run from 3/28/24 to 4/11/24, so be sure to submit your answers in time to be considered for our prizes! 

(For rules/regulations click HERE) 


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