The reasons behind the Boston Tea Party were, as usual with the Revolution, a bit of a tangle.  Of course, we didn't like taxes in general.  And a primary issue was England's right to tax us at all -- but equally offensive was the weighting of the tea tax, with a functional result that tea from London's pet East India Company would be cheaper than our illegally smuggled tea.  Which added up to basically a bribe to pay their tax, and a sharp flick of the nose to colonials who made their money smuggling (translation:  John Hancock).  That the reasons behind the Tea Party were a bit muddied remained reasonably irrelevant until...

...We had our own federal government, and we still didn't wanna pay no taxes nowhen nohow.  Our freshly hatched government was gasping for funds, and Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton decided that whiskey would be a fine thing to tax.  Pennsylvania moonshiners thought otherwise, and they took up their rifles in opposition. 

Washington slapped them down fast and hard.  The basic argument being:  yes, that government didn't have the right to tax you.  But this government does.


Tax time!  Of course this was a bit of an issue in the Revolutionary War.  And if we have to pay taxes now that we have the right to vote for our representatives directly, we have only our own rhetoric to blame.  ^_^

The Mother Country, meantime, suffered some confusion that among the "English liberties" we demanded was direct representation in Parliament, since such representation wasn't exactly the general rule in England at the time.  Further areas of perplexity:  was it all right for England to pay for our infrastructure, social services, and defense, but magically not all right to try to recoup some of those losses?  Stop muddying the waters and start giving us more face!

Taxation was more a flash-point symbol than a genuine issue in and of itself; Ben Franklin himself dithered on the matter, first reading the mood of his countrymen utterly wrongly (no surprise, he'd been living in London for ages) and positing that only a particular type of tax was offensive.  Nope!  Turns out all of them were!

What was at issue was self-determination, not how many taxes can dance on the head of a pin.

Of course, we didn't like taxes then, and we don't like them now, which made taxation a particularly tasty rallying cry.  But practically the first matter on the docket when Washington came to power was losing some of that depressingly cavernous echo in the federal coffers.  And that meant taxes.  Oh well!