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USS Constellation Turns Her Stern To The Boston Tea Party

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December 14, 2007 Baltimore, MD 

Grassroots organizers were hoping to bring the Boston Tea Party to the Baltimore inner harbor. Activists were planning to stage a reenactment of the Boston Tea Party to remind us of the history and historical events which led to a free and independent America. Being held in conjunction with LiberTeaParty 2007, the event was to take place Sunday December 16, 2007, the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party aboard a  sailing ship reflective of the era. All precautions were to be undertaken with utmost respect for the environment. 

Many of us recognize the Boston Tea Party as one of those historic events, that sparked the American revolution, while many others may not be so aware of it’s historic significance.

Protesting taxation without representation as well as the monopoly to be enjoyed by the East India Trading company were the key factors provoking the events of December 16, 1773. 

"The idea was to rekindle the spirit upon which this nation was founded, while celebrating this very important day in our nation’s  history in a way that would also make Baltimore history."  

Many contacts were made from Annapolis to Baltimore in search of a ship with the desired historical stature but finding a sailing ship of that era during a season when most ships are in dry dock, proves to be somewhat of a challenge. One possibility, which is not in her winter berth, was the USS Constellation. She is the last all sail war ship built by the US Navy and now spends her days in Baltimore’s inner harbor as the USS Constellation Museum, “inviting people to explore the decks of history”. Over 200,000 people have visited the Constellation since the ship's return to Baltimore in July of 1999. 

To explore the decks of history or not to explore the decks of history? That is the question. 

I made contact with the Constellation Museum and was directed to the USS Constellation Museum’s Executive Director, Christopher Rowsom. In an email correspondence Mr. Rowsom informed me that in order to consider an activity such as this “we have to determine if it is appropriate for a national icon like USS Constellation.”, he then asked me to provide more detail, which I did: 

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"Sure, we are seeking to perform a reenactment of the Boston Tea Party. We will have members dressed in British / Colonial and Native American attire (probably more native American since that would be a more accurate depiction). We will toss empty crates into the harbor (tea might be considered a pollutant these days and we don't want to do any environmental harm) we will have a row- boat to retrieve crates immediately. The crates will be labeled with things such as Taxation Without Representation etc.

The whole event should be no longer than 30 to 45 minutes. I'm not certain as to how many members are coming but I can't see more than 30 at the most (RSVPs are coming in slowly).

Given the hisorical significance of the Boston Tea Party leading into the Revolutionary War combined with the USS Constellation being the last war sailing ship built by the navy and given the fact that the first commander of the USS Constellation was Captain Thomas Truxton who was also an experienced officer during the Revolutionary War, ( and also became a privateer seizing many British prizes). Further, considering that under his gifted leadership, The USS Constellation had many important victories.  (I understand Captain Truxton as well as other crew members still "reside" on the ship in spirit.)

I can't imagine a more perfect and appropriate venue for this type of reenactment of such an historic day in US history. Without that day we may not have ever had independence or a Navy.

I see that the ship hosts a New Years Eve event. Although enjoyed by many I really can't see a parallel in historic significance. I can assure you that the reenactment will be done in the spirit of the principles upon which this country was founded, and that there will be no misconduct.

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If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to call me.

It is my sincerest wish that we can reach an accord that will allow us tomake Baltimore history.


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