The Fractured Teapot: Debating the Legacy of the Boston Tea Party


Material Information

The Fractured Teapot: Debating the Legacy of the Boston Tea Party
Series Title:
"Civil" Society? On the Future Prospects of Meaningful Dialogue
Physical Description:
Carp, Benjamin
Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere, University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, FL
Publication Date:


The Fractured Teapot: Debating the Legacy of the Boston Tea Party Benjamin Carp (Tufts University) 12 November 2013, 5:30 pm, Smathers Library (East), 1A University of Florida
The Boston Tea Party of 1773 is known to every schoolchild, yet it recently found a new place in public debates after the rise of the Tea Party movement in 2009. This presentation explores the fractured nature of eighteenth-century politics, particularly in Revolutionary Boston. American reactions to the Boston Tea Party were mixed, and even Benjamin Franklin and George Washington expressed doubts about it. Some destroyers of the tea felt ashamed of their actions, and the phrase "Boston Tea Party" only became famous in the 1820s, fifty years after the event. Since then, generations of Americans have debated the meaning of the Tea Party and used it for their own purposes, from abolitionists to the Ku Klux Klan, from temperance advocates to tax protesters. Drawing connections between past and present, this presentation discusses how the appropriation of historical events can shape public debate.
Benjamin L. Carp is an Associate Professor of early American history at Tufts University. He is the author of Defiance of the Patriots: The Boston Tea Party and the Making of America, which won the Society of the Cincinnati Cox Book Prize in 2013; and Rebels Rising: Cities and the American Revolution. He has a B.A. from Yale University and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, and he previously taught at the University of Edinburgh. He has written for BBC History, Colonial Williamsburg, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, and he has appeared on BBC1, C-SPAN2, C-SPAN3, and the Discovery Channel.
Organized by the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere, and co-sponsored by the UF Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere (Rothman Endowment), the Harn Eminent Scholar Chair in Art History Program, the UF Honors Program, the Alexander Grass Chair in Jewish History at UF, the UF International Center, the UF Office of Research, UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the UF Center for Jewish Studies, the UF Libraries, the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions, the UF France-Florida Research Institute, the Hyatt and Cici Brown Endowment for Florida Archaeology, the UF Department of History, the UF African American Studies Program, the UF Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research, UF College of Design, Construction and Planning, and the Alachua County Library District.

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University of Florida Institutional Repository
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University of Florida
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