Tea parties: Small, but mighty?
So argues Dr. Burt Folsom:
What’s interesting here is that the original tea party was also the work of a minority, but within a few years that minority had skyrocketed in numbers and in power. When the Boston colonists tossed over 300 chests of tea into the Atlantic Ocean, they were protesting the Stamp Act, which brought the Americans taxation without representation. After the tea party, when the British blocked off Boston harbor and demanded restitution, most experts-even most Americans-thought the tax protest had been in vain. But three years later, the principle of taxation without representation had been written into the Declaration of Independence, and soldiers from all thirteen colonies were joining Washington to challenge the British. Fifteen years after that, we had a new nation, a new Constitution, and a new president in George Washington. A small start in Boston harbor helped a tax revolt grow to a dramatic finish.
In 1978, we saw something like the tea party emerge again. Californians were angry at their high property taxes and they led a ballot-box revolt through “Proposition 13,” which slashed the taxes inflicted on California homeowners. The California revolt started small but soon energized the whole nation. President Reagan picked up the torch of tax cuts in his 1980 campaign for the presidency; he sponsored the liberating income tax cuts (from 70 to 28 percent on top rates) that launched the economic expansion of the last twenty-five years.
I hope you were able to make it to a tea party near you. Over 350,000 Americans did – which, by the way, if you’re Brian Greenspun, equals “a few thousand people who showed up across America.”
The good news is you’ll get another chance to party on July 4.
Until then, I hope this video of the Las Vegas Tea Party can keep you inspired.
(Update: Fixed video)