Give Me LiberTEA or Give Me Death: A History of Tea Parties in America


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Unlike Great Britain, the United States knows how to throw a Tea Party. Forget the delicate teacups, the dainty biscuits, and saving face. 

On a quiet night in the colonies in 1773, American patriots decided to dump 342 chests of tea from the East India Company into the Boston Harbor disguised as Mohawk Indians.

Why did they do this?

The short answer: taxation without representation. The long answer is that they desired a constitutional Republic that limited the power of the federal government and guaranteed our Natural Rights as citizens through fair representation.

As the colonists saw it, the power to tax also meant the power to tyrannize when left unchecked. A common misconception about the Boston Tea Party is that it was in direct response to taxes. However, the colonists rebelled not because of the tax itself, but because it was imposed by Parliament without any representation from the colonies. Thomas Jefferson sums up this sentiment quite nicely, “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny…. When the government fears the people, there is liber[TEA].” 

The United States has a long history of spilling the tea; we’ve rejected authoritarianism at home and abroad, we’ve defended our God-given unalienable rights, stood up for those who can’t defend themselves, and supported equality for all. Below are a few times that we’ve crashed tea parties and changed the world.

This isn’t necessarily a tea party, but Abraham Lincoln dared to call out the inhumane realiTEA of slavery during the Civil War. He dared to assert that all humans are equal in the eyes of God. His dedication to our unalienable rights bitterly divided the country and war broke out between our brothers and sisters. Nevertheless, the Union a prevailed and all humans, regardless of race, were granted citizenship and released from the bonds of slavery.

Again, the same theme is present. A uniquely American desire to defend our rights to life, liberTEA, and the pursuit of happiness. 

During the early twentieth century, women finally had enough. They were tired of their voices being silenced and were ready to take action. So Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and a plethora of other brave women stood up and spilled the TEA. They demanded that their right to vote be recognized.

It was a long and hard fought battle, but finally in 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified and the right to vote had been granted to all citizens regardless of gender. They embodied the American spirit, the spirit that doesn’t sit idly by in the face of injustice. 

They saw tyranny. They fought it. And they won.

In 2009, the Affordable Health Care Act became law, but many people saw this as a government intrusion in the free market. This and many other regulations and restrictions passed during the Obama administration left many angry and dissatisfied with the exponential growth of the federal government. This led to the birth of the Tea Party. 

The Tea Party movement was started by a group of fiscal conservatives who called for an end to unnecessary regulation and lower taxes. Just like the Boston Tea Party, they saw Executive overreach and the growth of the federal government as an assault on their economic freedom that threatened their liberTEA.

America has a long history of people standing up to tyranny and defending their rights, starting with the Boston Tea Party and extending all the way to modern America with the Tea Party movement.

Our commitment to the idea of representational democracy and our God-given, unalienable rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” remains to this day.

So you could say that we’ve been spilling the tea since 1773.

Clay Robinson is an Economics student at Arizona State University. You can catch him tweeting, watching Parks and Recreation, or ordering an iced caramel macchiato.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.

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About Clay Robinson

Arizona State University

Clay Robinson is an Economics student at Arizona State University. You can catch him tweeting, watching Parks and Recreation, or ordering an iced caramel macchiato.

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