News of 342 chests of tea dumped into Boston Harbor on December 16, 1773, in what was dubbed the Boston Tea Party, reached Britain in January 1774. Disgusted by the colonists’ action against private property, the British Parliament quickly decided upon the Coercive Acts as a means of reasserting British control over the colonies and punishing Boston.
As of May 20, 1774, the Massachusetts Government Act curtailed democracy in Massachusetts by altering the colonial charter of 1691 to reduce the power of elective officials and to increase that of the royal governor. On the same day, the passing of the Administration of Justice Act ensured that royal officials charged with capital crimes would not be tried in the colonies, but in Britain. On June 1, 1774, the Boston Port Act demanded payment for the destroyed tea before the port could reopen for any imports but food.
On June 2, 1774, Parliament completed its punishment by expanding the Quartering Act to allow soldiers to board in occupied private homes. In its original incarnation, the Quartering Act of 1765 had merely demanded that colonists provide barracks for British soldiers. In Boston, those barracks were on an isolated island in Boston Harbor. In 1766, the act expanded to include the housing of soldiers in public houses (hotels) and empty buildings. With Boston in an uproar, the British now demanded the ability to house the military among civilians, if necessary, to maintain order.