Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Ralph Mann

Second Advisor

Lee Chambers

Third Advisor

Virginia Anderson


“More Than the Boston Tea Party: Tea in American Culture, 1760s – 1840s,” a M.A. thesis by Lisa L. Petrovich from the History Department and advised by Dr. Ralph Mann, argues that tea, despite its function in the Boston Tea Party, played other important roles in early American culture. Part of the new consumer economy, tea embedded itself in social customs and allowed for a more democratic means of respectability. It played political roles before the American Revolution and during the antebellum reform movements. Even though men imported and consumed the commodity, society in the new republic considered tea the domain of women, which reinforced negative patterns of thought about women’s place in America. Between the 1760s and the 1840s, Americans claimed tea as a part of their culture and gave it social, political, and gendered meanings, which include but are much more than the Boston Tea Party.