The Tea Party Movement is an American political effort. Generally speaking, it is known to be both conservative and libertarian in nature. As a group, the Tea Partiers believe in the constitution, and strongly oppose the growth in national spending. In some ways, the Tea Party are obtaining the recognition that they are looking for, by way of public stunts and marches. Overall, however, the movement appears to be another attempt at leading a revolution, and is unlikely to succeed.
In his article, The Tea-Party Tradition, Daniel Hannan (2010) contests that the movement is “unaffiliated but conservative, political but sceptical toward political parties, angry but focused.”
According to David Brooks (2010) in his article, The Wall-Mart Hippies, the Tea Partiers exist with the aim of destroying the establishment. Brooks goes on to say that “They also want to take on The Man, return power to the people, upend the elites and lead a revolution.”
Brooks compares the Tea Partiers to the New Left movement which threatened to destroy the establishment nearly half a decade ago.
There are many differences between the two factions, perhaps the most obvious being that one was left-winged whereas the other is very much right. Furthermore, the earlier movement was by a bohemian group, and the more recent is by a bourgeois one. Also, the New Left was driven by war, and the Tea Partiers are driven by runaway federal spending (Brooks, 2010).
Nonetheless, as Brooks points out, there are more significant similarities between the two groups than there are disparities. A good example relates to the tactics of the groups; To the Tea Partiers seem to be adopting the strategies brought about by the New Left. The Tea Partiers are favouring methods of reaching the public such as street theatre, marches and shock tactics in the extreme (Brooks, 2010). They see this as a potentially effective way of making people take notice of them and of what they stand for.
In January, Tea Party activists claimed that the constitution was being forgotten in today’s society, and this prompted politicians to read aloud the constitution in the House of Representatives.
According to the BBC News website, both political parties had representatives taking turns in reading out sections of the constitution. The article also reports that the house plans to look at introducing a bill to cut public spending. This evidence suggests that the Tea Party is being taken seriously enough to address their claims.
Of the two political parties, the Republicans decided to read a revised constitution, as opposed to the original. This is because parts of the original are clearly out of date, for example it mentions “slaves being worth three-fifths of a person” (BBC News, 2011).
It is important to note that the constitution was originally sanctioned in 1788. At this time, the US was made up of only thirteen states and, for this reason among others, it is no longer relevant to the political issues of today. As Jill Lepore (2011) points out in her article, The Commandments, the constitution “is written in an elegant, clerical hand, on four sheets of parchment… and made not from the pulp of plants but from the hide of an animal.”
The Tea Party movement has succeeded in attracting the attention of the public. However, their overarching aim seems to be to disarm the establishment and to start a revolution, and this seems as unlikely as it was that the New Left would manage such a feat.
BBC News. (2011). US Constitution Read Aloud in House of Representatives. Retrieved from
Brooks, D. (2010). The Wal-Mart Hippies. The New York Times. Retrieved from
Crain, C. (2010). Tea and Antipathy. The New Yorker. Retrieved from
Hannan, D. (2010). The Tea-Party Tradition. National Review Online. Retrieved from
Lepore, J. (2011). The Commandments. The New Yorker. Retrieved from