Diguised as Indians?

Boston Tea PartyPreviously, I expounded (wow, that’s a fancy word) on the reasons for dumping the tea in the harbor.) 

Boston, 1773.  The Sons of Liberty dress as Indians to board merchant boats to dump English Tea in the harbor.  

Why were they dressed as Indians?

We’re told that they dressed as Indians as a disguise.  But, like so much we’re told in school and even in the history books we read as adults, it’s not true.

Everyone knew who was on those ships. They knew who the organizers were.  They knew them from the taverns where they got the crowd fired up before the march to the wharf. 

George Hewes, one of the “Indians” gave this report:

“It was now evening, and I immediately dressed myself in the costume of an Indian, equipped with a small hatchet, which I and my associates denominated the tomahawk, with which, and a club, after having painted my face and hands with coal dust in the shop of a blacksmith, I repaired to Griffin’s wharf, where the ships lay that contained the tea. When I first appeared in the street after being thus disguised, I fell in with many who were dressed, equipped and painted as I was, and who fell in with me and marched in order to the place of our destination.”

The Americans dressed like Indians not to disguise themselves, but to make a point.  It was a two-fold statement.  First, it was a complete identification as Americans, no longer British.  Second, the Indians were thought the most free men on earth.  In many of the political cartoons of the day, the Americans were represented as an Indian maiden. 

The Patriots were thumbing their nose at the British.  “Free men are throwing your tea in the bay.  Free men are protecting our economy.  Free men are not paying your taxes.”