Who Will Lead the TEA Party?

What kinds of people can we expect to step up as actual candidates from the new grassroots movement, the TEA Party? The original Boston Tea Party ignited the first American Revolution, and a comparison with how the leaders of that crusade emerged[i] might prove instructive.

For our purposes, the captains of the founding of the United States can be divided into two groups:

1) Those Founders who served in some public capacity before the beginning of the American Revolution.

2) Those Founders who became politically active after the Revolutionary War. 

(Keep in mind that the American Revolution was kicked off by the various Committees of Correspondence [COC] that first appeared in 1772. More than a decade lapsed from the time the Declaration of Independence was issued in 1776 until the adoption of the Constitution in 1787.)

Let's begin with the senior leaders of the Revolution (#1 above). Many of these leaders were, in effect, local elected officials who grew weary of being ignored by the central government (the British Parliament).

When Virginia patriots, including Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, and the little-known Dabney Carr met at the Raleigh tavern in Williamsburg on 3 March 1775, the idea for a "committee of correspondence" was hatched. (As we indicated above, similar committees had been previously used for mutual concerns.) Like today's Tea Partiers, these men were united in opposition to Parliament's usurpations of their liberties.

It is an interesting coincidence that the first statement Carr made in Virginia's House of Burgesses to propose the COC was

Whereas, the minds of his Majesty's faithful subjects in this colony have been much disturbed, by various rumours and reports of proceedings tending to deprive them of their ancient, legal, and constitutional rights [ii].

Carr was referring to the English Constitution of 1688 and more abstractly to English common law. From this statement we can safely draw a parallel: Today's Tea Partiers cherish their constitutional rights as passionately as their famous forerunners did.

The Virginians, whose success caught the attention of the royally appointed governor Lord Dunmore, were all barred from the House of Burgesses. Dunmore called for new elections, and all but four of the expelled Burgesses were reelected. Thus most of the men we call (the senior) Founders today were not agitated citizens protesting their government, but the most accomplished statesmen of their day. They were the equivalent of our finest state legislators, mayors, city councilmen, etc.

These senior Founding Fathers were tired of being ignored, harassed, and even abused by the central government in faraway England. The Declaration of Independence was, in effect, a list of grievances from the members of the local governments (in the Colonies) to the central government (in England) saying, "Enough!"[iii].

The election of Scott Brown (a state senator) to the U.S. Senate (the central government) parallels this discontent of the senior Founding Fathers. TEA Party members from across the country supported Brown's campaign.

What too many Americans do not understand is that the Constitution gives far greater powers to the states than it does to the federal government. Both Houses of Congress are severely limited in their enumerated powers by Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution and by the 9th and 10th Amendments. The fact that in the last 95 years, the Congress has ignored those restrictions is a huge part of what is fueling the flames of the present TEA Party revolution.

Whether or not Scott Brown is aware of this fact (or if he will just become another RINO) has yet to be seen. History is not on the side of Brown -- as a member of Congress that routinely ignores all limitations on its power -- becoming a staunch defender of the 10th Amendment.

This means that one of the jobs of the TEA Party will be to act as a kind of "term limits" organization. The TEA Party should not hesitate to support candidates against incumbents who have run on the platform of limited federal government and then have turned their backs on their commitments. There is already a vast pool of potential challengers, who currently hold office at the local and state levels, who would be perfect for the job. (Co-author Mike Church has interviewed a number of such challengers on his radio program. See here, here, and here.)

Now we move on to group #2 above. Some of the important Founding Fathers were either too young to be involved in the early COCs and/or were young soldiers involved in the Revolutionary War. Alexander Hamilton, James Monroe, and John Marshall fit this description.

The point about group #2 is that there are natural leaders in the current TEA Party that will continue to emerge over time. Some of them may come from the military, since our soldiers know better than most the meaning of the words in the oath that they take when they enlist into the armed services:

I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same ... [Emphasis added.]

To "bear true faith and allegiance" to the Constitution -- that is what the TEA Party is all about.

This new crop of candidates must not back down from challenging incumbents in either political party. Elected officials who have ignored their own oath to the Constitution must be replaced.

This would include primary challenges to elected officials in the GOP who have strayed off the constitutional course. And the Republican Party, if it is to remain a viable political party, must welcome -- rather than discourage -- such challenges.

As Newsmax.com reported Dick Armey's speech to CPAC:

"Let's not leave them [the GOP] to their own devices," said Dick Armey, former House majority leader and now chairman of FreedomWorks, a prime mover of the tea party phenomenon. Republicans "must come to us and show us they're worthy of our loyalty. We don't owe them."

What is owed by every freedom-loving American is true faith and allegiance to the Constitution -- and the republicanism that drove our Founding Fathers. Let the new American Revolution begin.

Mike Church is a talk show host for Sirius/XM and is the writer/director of the docudrama "The Spirit of 76." Larrey Anderson is a writer, philosopher, and submissions editor for American Thinker. He is the author of The Order of the Beloved, and the memoir Underground.

[i] Few (perhaps none) of the prominent leaders of the American Revolution took part in the actual "tea party" in Boston harbor in December of 1773. In this article, we are comparing where the leadership came from for the first American Revolution (and the subsequent creation of the Constitution) to where the leadership might come from in this new American Revolution that is called the TEA Party.

[ii] Dabney Carr was Thomas Jefferson's brother-in-law. Carr died from an unknown illness a few months after making this statement.

[iii] Here are a few of the grievances from the Declaration of Independence:
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

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