1778, from tea
. The Boston tea party
(Dec. 16, 1773) apparently not so called before 1864. Political references to tea party
all trace to that event, in which radicals in Massachusetts colony boarded British ships carrying tea and threw the product into Boston Harbor in protest royal taxation. It has been a model for other libertarian political actions in the U.S. (mostly symbolic), including citizen gatherings begun in early 2009 to protest government spending.