Profile America — Monday, December 16th. Over the past few years, an activist group called the "Tea Party" has become a force within the American political structure. It takes its name, by some reckoning, and its inspiration from one of the most effective and famous protests ever staged — the Boston Tea Party. On this date in 1773, colonial protestors boarded ships in Boston Harbor and dumped many crates of valuable tea overboard to protest British tax policies. Britain's retaliatory moves only hardened the position of the colonists wishing for independence and moved the American colonies closer to the revolution. Tea is no longer the expensive and dominant drink of choice that it once was in those years. Americans drink an average of 9 gallons of tea a year, compared to more than 23 gallons of coffee. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau, online at <www.census.gov>.