The Boston Port Act of 1774 was adopted by the United Kingdom Parliament as a response to the colonists’ protest which was later named the Boston Tea Party. The Act closed the harbor in Boston (Massachusetts) for commerce and required the inhabitants of the city to pay the East India Company for the damages suffered during the tea incident.


Several events lead to the Boston Port Act with the Boston Tea Party being an accelerator of the conflict between the North American colonists and the United Kingdom. However, by the time of this protest campaign, the contradiction had been brewing for circa a century. After the English Parliament’s passing the Tea Act in 1773 that allowed merchants to trade with Chinese tea, the best-selling product of that time, without paying taxes to the American colonies, the situation escalated. The Act resulted in the Boston Tea Party with Boston people throwing 42 tons of tea into the water. This incident deprived the thirteen colonies of their supporters in the English Parliament. Therefore, a harsh answer from the British Crown followed the event.

The Boston Port Act was one of several measures taken by the Parliament. It belonged to the Coercive Acts that aimed at strengthening the role of Great Britain in the management of American colonies and reestablishing its authority. Generally, using the laws, King George IIII and the Parliament wanted to prevent the colonies from coming together and stop the expanding resistance movement. However, the Coercive Acts did not have the impact desired since the colonists regarded them as a despotic infringement of their rights. For this reason, in some parts of the thirteen colonies, the laws were called Intolerable acts.

Namely, the purpose of the Boston Port Act was to discipline Boston which was particularly rebellious and to show that the Crown would ignore its requirements. Besides, the Boston Port Act economic impact was also envisaged. Actually, the law affected the economy of Massachusetts for the harbor of Boston served as the main hub of trade there. The effects of the Boston Port Act did not correspond with what the Parliament expected from the law. In fact, the Crown believed Boston would acquiesce and pay for the losses caused by the Boston Tea Party soon, thus restoring the full power and influence of the United Kingdom in the colonies. At the same time, according to the UK, the situation would be perceived by other colonists as a just punishment of the rebels, and further unification of the thirteen colonies would be prevented. However, the British Crown was wrong about how the colonists reacted to the Boston Port Act.

The effect was the opposite: instead of obeying the United Kingdom and seeing Bostonians as agitators who would carry the deserved punishment, the colonies stayed loyal to Boston. Moreover, they understood the enactment of the law was not just as a business of one city or one state but as a threat to the liberty of all of them. They decided to act jointly and fight for their rights. So, it might be noted that with the Boston Port Act the Parliament and the King did not achieve their initial goals of securing the British power and authority on the territory of the colonies. Vice versa, the law escalated the political situation and evoked the colonies to oppose the Crown, thus becoming one of the preludes to the American War of Independence.