Smithsonian

"Tarred and feathered and forced to drink tea"

This political cartoon, published by a British newspaper, shows a tax collector being tarred, feathered, and forced to drink tea by a group of rebellious Bostonians. The Stamp Act, a tax on printed paper, hangs upside down on a tree. The tree also holds a waiting noose. In the background, rebels dump tea (another taxed item) into the harbor. All of this activity demonstrates the Bostonians’ anger at “taxation without representation.” The tone of the cartoon suggests the British artist’s indignation at the events.

Credit: “Tarred and Feathered and Forced to Drink Tea,” 1774 political cartoon, from the website Freedom: A History of Us, www.pbs.org/historyofus. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division (reproduction number, LC-USZ62-9487 [B&W film copy negative]).