The Tea Party Patriots are members of a political party affiliated with the Tea Party movement in the United States, a political ideology generally aligned with conservatism. Beginning in early 2009, the Tea Party Patriots worked on a local and national level to create grassroots movements involving protests and political activism in an effort to bring attention to its core values. Many of the members of the organization are traditionally associated with right-wing politics, but certain parts of the group claim to be centrist in their standings.
According to the Tea Party Patriots, the mission of the group is to organize citizens in the US to become more politically active. The main policy focus is situated with the overall Tea Party movement's emphasis on fiscal responsibility, promoting free market capitalism and limiting the role of government in the lives of Americans. Much of the public statements made by individuals belonging to the Tea Party Patriots are focused on gun rights, claims of over-taxation, and overall anti-government rhetoric, particularly against the Democratic Party.
Protests and political gatherings are one of the primary focuses of the Tea Party Patriots. In addition to standard rallies undertaken like most political groups, there have been many high profile acts orchestrated by the organization. On 12 September 2009, the party was a co-sponsor of a protest on the Freedom Plaza in the US capitol known as the 9/12 March on Washington. It was also prevalent in mobilizing members to attend town hall meetings for Senators and Congresspersons in 2009 in protest of health care reform in the US.
According to the organization itself, there are over 1000 local chapters located around the country. While many of these are grassroots movements, critics point to funding and organizational elements created by national foundations. In particular, the Tea Party Patriots are associated to some level with the conservative nonprofit Freedomworks®, led by former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey. In 2009, evidence gathered from Rolling Stone® magazine identified memos from the nonprofit given to those orchestrating anti-health care rallies, despite denials by the party.
The origin of the name for the Tea Party movement stems from the American Revolution. In 1773, colonists in Boston, Massachusetts, protested against British taxation on tea by boarding ships in the harbor and throwing the tea overboard. It was one of the iconic events that predated the start of full-scale conflict, prompting generations of protesters to allude to the concept of rebellion. Since the Tea Party Patriots are strongly against additional taxation in the US, the group chose to reference the act of resistance.