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‘What happens in Boston changes the world’: Reenactors celebrate Boston Tea Party’s 245th anniversary

A Colonial re-enactor protested the decision made to dump the tea in the harbor at the Old South Meeting House in Boston for the 245th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party.
A Colonial re-enactor protested the decision made to dump the tea in the harbor at the Old South Meeting House in Boston for the 245th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. (Michael Swensen for The Boston Globe)

American history came to life Sunday evening as more than 150 reenactors took to the streets of Boston to celebrate the 245th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, a protest against taxation without representation that resulted in colonists throwing British tea into Boston Harbor.

The performance began at the Old South Meeting House, where angry “colonists” wearing waistcoats, breeches, and tri-cornered hats passionately debated the tea tax, as they did on Dec. 16, 1773.

After the characters delivered their points, they were met with hisses or chants of “Huzzah!” and “Here! Here!” while many participants stomped their feet on the ground to show their support.

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“Gentlemen, the issue here today is much greater than this three-pence tax,” an actor playing the part of Dr. Joseph Warren bellowed. “We must demand our right to representation. With no representatives in Parliament, these duties are an infringement of our natural and constitutional rights. We must defend our right to representation. On us depends the fortune of America.”

After the debate, the reenactors paraded through downtown until they reached Boston Harbor, where they dumped between 700 and 1,000 pounds of looseleaf tea into the water.

Now in its seventh year, the reenactment was organized by the Old South Meeting House and the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum. Shawn Ford, the executive director of the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, said he hopes spectators appreciated the significance that the event had for the city of Boston.

“The destruction of the tea, as it was known, that could have happened anywhere. . . but it didn’t,” Ford said. “It happened here in Boston, because of the Bostonians and the spirit of what they believed in.

“I always like to say what happens in Boston changes the world — in 1773, and it still happens today.”

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The Brig Beaver sat in Boston Harbor after the dumping of the tea.
The Brig Beaver sat in Boston Harbor after the dumping of the tea. (Michael Swensen for The Boston Globe)
Reenactors marched in the rain after the dumping of the tea into the harbor.
Reenactors marched in the rain after the dumping of the tea into the harbor. (Michael Swensen for The Boston Globe)
A reenactor playing George Roberts Twelves Hughes called the verdict at the Old South Meeting House in Boston.
A reenactor playing George Roberts Twelves Hughes called the verdict at the Old South Meeting House in Boston.(Michael Swensen for The Boston Globe)
A reenactor waited for his cue to head into the Old South Meeting House in Boston.
A reenactor waited for his cue to head into the Old South Meeting House in Boston.(Michael Swensen for The Boston Globe)
Reenactors were reflected on a pane of glass at the Old South Meeting House in Boston.
Reenactors were reflected on a pane of glass at the Old South Meeting House in Boston.(Michael Swensen for The Boston Globe)
Some of the reenactors loaded onto a bus before heading to the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.
Some of the reenactors loaded onto a bus before heading to the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.(Michael Swensen for The Boston Globe)

Sophia Eppolito can be reached at sophia.eppolito@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @SophiaEppolito.