We’re Not Just Talking About Tea Anymore

“That from henceforth we will suspend all commercial intercourse with the said island of Great Britain, until the said act for blocking up the said harbour be repealed.”
The Solemn League and Covenant, June 1774.

Fueled by a fiery conviction to protest Parliament’s embargo on Boston’s port, a local committee crafted a persuasive letter to galvanize support for a boycott of British imports: the Solemn League and Covenant.

The journey towards the Covenant began on May 13, 1774, when the Boston Town Meeting, led by Samuel Adams, proposed a boycott of British goods. On June 5, Joseph Warren introduced the Solemn League and Covenant to the Boston Committee of Correspondence. 

It called for a complete suspension of trade with Britain starting August 31, 1774, until the Boston Port Act was repealed. The Covenant urged townsmen to boycott British goods and to pressure local businesses to do the same.

The Boston Committee of Correspondence’s misjudgment of town support for the Solemn League and Covenant initially sparked confusion and opposition among Patriots—like misinterpreting a text message. Some saw it as a one-sided demand rather than a mutual agreement, while others deemed the boycott pointless. 

However, clarity from the committee about voluntary participation eventually eased tensions.

By June 20, the Boston Gazette reported growing support for the initiative, stating, “The present aspect of affairs is highly favorable to the liberties of America. The whole continent seems inspired by one soul, and that soul a rigorous and determined one.

The British response was less than accommodating. Governor Thomas Gage ordered the arrest of anyone promoting or signing the Covenant. 

But like all other punitive acts from British authority, Gage’s punishments only paved the way for a more cohesive and organized resistance movement that would later shape the First Continental Congress and the subsequent adoption of the Continental Association in October.

Mirroring the principles of the Covenant would be impossible today. 

Our billionaire employer class prioritizes profits over patriotism, opting for overseas manufacturing that binds us to China, and our government leaders cater to their wishes. Attempting to cease our purchases of Chinese-made products would unleash chaos and potentially lead to thousands of deaths.

We’re not just talking about tea anymore; we’re talking about gloves, gowns, face shields, ventilators, diagnostic kits, syringes, needles, IV bags, disinfectants, stretchers, monitors, infusion pumps, and blood and plasma products.

Dumping any of these into the sea to compel employers and politicians to restore U.S. manufacturing would be reckless and likely ineffective—they’ll implement artificial intelligence solutions under the guise of technological advancement.

“I underscored again that the United States does not seek to decouple from China.”
— Remarks by Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen at a Press Conference in Beijing, April 8, 2024. 

Art by Beck & Stone


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