The Boston Tea Party

154.2 - The Boston Tea Party

This is the second part of a two-part lesson. In the first part, we learned all about the English Expression: My Cup of Tea


Words that are bolded in red are suggested vocabulary words for this episode.

The air is crisp and chilly, yet the sun is shining brightly. You step out from your hotel onto the sidewalk, eager to roam the historic cobblestone streets and bustling marketplaces of Boston. Boston is situated in present day Massachusetts, right on the northern Atlantic coastline. It’s picturesque, it’s lively, and it’s steeped in stories of how the United States gained its independence from Britain. Today, you’ll hear those tales of organization, patriotism and madness. This is the Boston Tea Party. 


Hi, everybody. My name is Shana and this is the American English Podcast. My goal here is to teach you the English spoken in the United States. Through common expressions, pronunciation tips, and interesting cultural snippets or stories, I hope to keep this fun, useful and interesting. Let’s do it! 


When you think of tea parties, what comes to mind? Fancy tea cups, perhaps? Little sandwiches and cakes on decorated dishes? Pastel colors? The visuals are usually chic, proper and sophisticated. 

The Boston Tea Party was none of that. On the evening of December 16th, 1773, 60 plus Bostonian patriots dressed up as Native Americans and threw 342 chests of British tea into the Boston Harbor. That’s 46 tons of tea, 18 million cups, $1 million worth. Some joked that they turned the harbor into a giant teapot. 

Why would Bostonians throw tea into the ocean? And what’s the deal with the Native American outfits? Isn’t that racist? Yeah. 

In this episode, I’ll tell you all about the events that led to the Boston Tea Party. If you plan on preparing for the US citizenship test in the near future, be sure to listen to this episode. Stay tuned until the very end, you’ll hear a quiz that was taken directly from the practice exam. 

Now, if you would like the transcript, definitions of challenging words and phrases, a quiz for this episode, and much more, be sure to sign up to Season 4 at


Without any further ado, let’s begin. 

Many, many years ago, before the United States was officially the United States, there were just colonies and they were under British control. Britain had established many of them. The first was in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. Then came settlements in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maryland. By the 1760s, there were 13 colonies all along the East Coast. 

You probably remember learning from episode number 11 that the American flag has 13 stripes.Those 13 red and white stripes represent the 13 original colonies. Also the 13 original states! 

In many ways, these 13 colonies were different from one another. Groups settled together based on their interests. New Hampshire and Massachusetts were fishermen and traders. The South attracted those who worked in agriculture. Some settlers gravitated towards one another for religious reasons: The Quakers settled in Pennsylvania, the English Catholics in Maryland, the Puritans in Massachusetts. But despite all of these differences, there was one fundamental thing in common. 

All of the colonists wanted freedom: political freedom, religious freedom, economic freedom and opportunity. Many had come to the US to escape persecution, and so they no longer wanted to be mistreated based on their looks, their backgrounds, or their beliefs. In short, they wanted to be free. 


That’s it for the free part of this transcript. For the vocabulary, definitions, quiz, full transcript and more, be sure to sign up to Season 4.