Report from the dailykos:
Today's "Party" in Boston is Weak Tea
by Dana Houle
Wed Apr 15, 2009 at 04:50:05 PM PDT
On December 16th, 1773, three ships were docked in Boston harbor filled with cargoes of tea from the royally chartered East India Company. The previous year, in a scheme to help fund colonial rule in India through the East India Company, the crown had decided to dump tea cheaply on the American colonies, but with a tax added to raise revenue.
American colonists drank prodigious amounts of tea, but it was almost all contraband tea. Dumping cheap tea on the American market would hurt the business of the contraband smugglers, many of whom had high status in the colonies. It also was a tax on colonial tea-drinkers, who had no representation in Parliament. Thus, it was taxation without representation.
A crowd of about 7,000 people assembled near the harbor. That night, after a town meeting in Boston's South Meeting House, around a hundred men, led by Sam Adams, boarded the vessels and dumped all 342 chests of tea in to the harbor.
A quick search of the intertoobz doesn't give the population of Boston at the time. But 17 years later, the first official US census found Boston's population at a little over 18,000; given the population growth trends of the time, it's probably safe to say that Boston's population in 1773 was around 15,000.
So, for the Boston Tea Party, the crowd was a little under half the size of the entire population of Boston.
Today, some people angry that they have both taxes and representation, got together in Boston. Fox News, which has been trumpeting these gatherings for days if not weeks, reported that the crowd was about 500 people. The current population of the city of Boston is over 600,000 people, and the population of the Boston metro area is close to 5 million.
So, fun with numbers: Crowd at Boston Tea Party=7,000, equal to 46% of population of Boston
Crowd at Boston Teabaggers's Party= 500, equal to 0.08% of population of Boston.
BTW, the original Boston Tea Party didn't have free advertising from Fox News