Chances are, you've heard the term 'Tea Party Patriots' floating around in the news. But, who are they and what do they actually stand for?
The Tea Party Patriots are members of a non-partisan, grassroots organization comprised of individuals who believe in three core values: fiscal responsibility, free markets and a constitutionally-limited government.
The Tea Party movement began in early 2009 as a populist protest movement, largely in opposition to the federal government's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 more commonly referred to as the stimulus package.
The movement, which centers on fiscal conservatism, is characterized by well-organized and high-profile protests held across the United States. In fact, the organization has largely capitalized on the ubiquitous nature of the Internet and social networking as a way to mobilize fellow Patriots and organize protests.
Since the movement caught hold in early 2009, Tea Party Patriots have staged protests against excessive taxation, the 2008 bailout of the U.S. financial system (officially known as the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008), the subsequent controversy surrounding bonuses paid to Wall Street executives, and most recently, the current administration's attempts at healthcare reform.
And, like any good tea, this movement is steeped in history. In fact, the term "Tea Party" is a throwback to the Boston Tea Party of 1773, which was a protest by colonists in Boston, Mass. (which was, at the time, a British colony), against taxation without representation in the British Parliament.
That protest started after officials in Boston refused to return three shiploads of taxed tea back to Britain. On Dec. 16, 1773, a group of defiant colonists boarded the ships and threw the tea overboard into the Boston Harbor. The Boston Tea Party has since remained an iconic moment in American history.