Tea Party FAQ

Who Is In Charge Of The Tea Party?

Everyone.

The Tea Party is actually just a lot of individuals. Some have been involved in politics, some are actual politicians. But most are ordinary people who were never involved in politics until the government responded to an economic crisis by bailing out failed businesses and sending the bill to young people.

There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of “Tea Party” organizations in the country. Those groups, like St. Louis Tea Party Coalition, have an organization structure. These groups, for the most part, help coordinate events, keep people informed, share tactics, and help grassroots activists who don’t feel comfortable working directly with major political parties.

Why Is It Called "The Tea Party?"

The Tea Party movement gets its name from the Boston Tea Party of 1773. The inspiration for modern day tea party protests came from CNBC correspondent Rick Santelli.

In February 2009, Santelli, reporting from the Chicago Board of Trade, reacted somewhat angrily to a report that the Obama Administration was considering a third “bail-out” bill–this one to bail out homeowners whose mortgage debt was greater than their homes’ values.

After bailouts of huge banks and huge corporations, Santelli and millions of Americans said, “Enough.”  Santelli said on the air that he would hold a Chicago Tea Party in July. But several conservatives around the country refused to wait five months.  And we held the “Nationwide Chicago Tea Party” one week later on Friday, February 27, 2009.

The St. Louis Tea Party Protest, called for by Bill Hennessy and organized by Bill, Dana Loesch, Michelle Moore, Gina Loudon, Ed Martin, Terri Brennan, and others, was the largest in the country held that day, and the second largest held that weekend.

This is the blog post that motivated Bill Hennessy to announce the St. Louis Tea Party.

What Do Tea Partiers Believe?

Tea Partiers don’t agree on everything. But we share a set of common beliefs–the beliefs shared by many of this country’s founders.

First, we believe that founding principles of the United States of America are skilfully embodied in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Tea Partiers believe that modern government has abused and usurped its limited powers–powers delegated by the states and the people through the Constitution in 1789. We believe that life in America will be more stable, more enjoyable, and more sustainable when the government lives by the law we laid down for it.

What Does The Tea Party Do?

Different Tea Party groups do different things.

  • Some organizations hold rallies, share information, and engage elected officials to promote their beliefs.
  • Some Tea Party groups recruit, train, and campaign for candidates for office.
  • Some Tea Parties devote themselves to education and information.
  • Some Tea Parties work with other established groups to get out the vote.
  • Some Tea Parties perform civic work, like helping the homeless or working in schools and hospitals, or restoring neighborhoods.

St. Louis Tea Party does all of these to some degree. We try to focus on getting people involved in the political process through monthly After Party meetings, Get Out The Vote work, and holding politicians in Jefferson City and Washington to account.

What Books Should I Read?

Since Tea Partiers come from many walks of life, we read just about anything. But there are some fundamental works that we believe every American should read.Here are a few books we recommend:

  • The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. Available free from St. Louis Tea Party Coalition and Heritage Foundation
  • The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek. Available from St. Louis Tea Party Coaltion free to students
  • The 5000 Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen. Available from St. Louis Tea Party for a small donation
  • The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neill Howe
  • Glenn Beck’s Common Sense by Glenn Beck
  • Covenant of Liberty by Michael Patrick Leahy
  • A Patriot’s History of the United States by Dr. Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen
  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  • The Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado by Adam Schraeger and Rob Witwer
  • Any book written by William F. Buckley Jr.
  • A Choice, Not An Echo by Phyllis Schafly
  • The Conscious Of A Conservative by Barry Goldwater
  • The Conservative Mind by Dr. Russell Kirk
  • [to be continued]

This list contains basic philosophical principles, strategies for winning, and intellectual visions of what the future holds.

Of course, there are thousands of great books everyone should read, but these books seem vital to America’s survival.