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President Barack Obama. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons.
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Photo above: World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., opened April 29, 2004. Right: Court of Flags at the United Nations, Mateusz Stachowski, SXC Free Images.
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2009 - Detail
April 15, 2009 - After a succession of big government spending projects beginning in the Bush administration and expanded under President Obama, 750 grass roots Tea Party protests spring up across the nation. More than one half million citizens concerned with increased deficits due to actions such as the bailout of the banking industry, car industry, potential cap and trade legislation, and other administration projects that project a ten trillion dollar deficit over the next decade take part.
The Tea Party movement had been building for several years, exasperated by the wasteful government spending practices begun in the George W. Bush administration and expanded in the first year of Barack Obama's first term. They wanted lower taxes and a reduction in the federal deficit. Although it had roots in conservative Republican circles, it also gained ground within the Libertarian movement. Some polls estimated that ten percent of the United States public identified as part of the movement.
Paralleled to the genesis of the original Boston Tea Party in 1773, the new movement gained a name during a February 2009 news report by a CNBC News Reporter who suggested a "tea party" be formed to address issues of taxation and debt. Fifty conservative activists heard the call and began to coalesce around a movement to force politicians to pay attention to their concerns, focusing on economic issues against stimulus plans, tax increases, and an expansion of the federal government, but attempted to stay away from the conservative social issues.
Most members wanted a Constitutional Amendment for a Balanced Budget and a return to using the Constitution as a bulwark for their agenda. Organization of the Tea Party movement was decentralized, with smaller units, and never became a political party. They supported predominantly Republican candidates, but rarely agreed with the Republican Party heirarchy.
Days of Tea Party Protests
December 16, 2007 - Supporters of Presidental candidate Ron Paul hold a 24 hour fundraiser on the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. Some consider the aftermath of his presidential campaign as the genesis of the movement, which morphed into more Republican beliefs than his Third Party candidacy.
January 24, 2009 - One of the first organized protests, albeit on a more local level, occurred when the Young Americans for Liberty organized against additional high state taxes proposed by New York Governor David Paterson.
February 27, 2009 - First national tea party protest, started in Chicago, and included forty cities.
April 15, 2009 - Over seven hundred Tea Party protests are held across the United States on Tax Day, but are decried as "not grassroots" by Democratic leaders. Up to an estimated 500,000 people protested in various cities.
September 12, 2009 - Taxpayer March on Washington organized by groups against big government, the demise of capitalism, and proposals to expand the welfare state by new President Barack Obama. Organized by the 9-12 Project, FreedomWorks, National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Prosperity, and other conservative groups.
Tea Party Ten Point Plan
Known as the Contract from America, it was initially released in January 2010, and included some changes upon its final adoption on April 12, 2010. Candidates for election were asked to sign to pledge to support the contract.
1. Identify constitutionality of every new law.
2. Reject emissions trading.
3. Demand a balanced federal budget.
4. Simply the tax system.
5. Audit federal government agencies for constitutionality.
6. Limit annual growth in federal spending.
7. Repeal the Health Care Legislation passed on March 23, 2010.
8. Pass an "All of the Above" Energy Policy.
9. Reduce Earmarks.
10. Reduce Taxes.
Photo Above: Tea Party protestors in the Taxpayer March moving toward the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., September 12, 2009. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons. Image below: Lithograph of the original Tea Party protest in 1773 Boston Harbor, 1846, Sarony and Major. Courtesy Library of Congress. Info source: "'Tea party' Contract From America: Real plan or bumper sticker?" Patrick Johnson, Christian Science Monitor, April 15, 2010; Freedomworks.org; Wikipedia Commons.
History Photo Bomb
America's Best History where we take a look at the timeline of American History and the historic sites and national parks that hold that history within their lands.
Photos courtesy of the Library of Congress, National Archives, National Park Service, americasbesthistory.com & its licensors.