This cartoon from the British press in 1775 mocked colonial women in the North Carolina town of Edenton for holding a party and signing a resolution boycotting British tea. They were inspired by the Boston Tea Party of 1773. What was unusual about the Edenton Tea Party was not the boycott, but that it was organized by women, who culturally were not supposed to be involved in current events, but only in the running of households. But since tea was considered an essential ingredient of a well-run household, the women’s actions were significant. British mockery ended a year later in 1776 when the 13 colonies declared their independence from Britain, starting the revolution.
“From England, in January 1775, Arthur Iredell wrote his brother, James Iredell, describing England’s reaction to the Edenton Tea Party. According to Arthur Iredell, the incident was not taken seriously because it was led by women. He sarcastically remarked, “The only security on our side … is the probability that there are but few places in America which possess so much female artillery as Edenton.”