As we get even closer to a debt ceiling crisis of unknown, but certainly highly detrimental consequences, caused by the Koch brothers astro-turf populist Tea Party, it is time for a history lesson, because like everything else about this movement, their beliefs are the reverse of reality and the truth. The original Tea Party in Boston on December 16, 1773 was partially about what the rites of citizenship were, if you were an Englishman, participation in government (levying taxes) was part of this. But it also had a decidedly anti-corporatist elements as well, while todays Tea Party is helping to assert the rights of corporations over American citizens, probably unwittingly because of their refusal to question what they are spoon fed by hucksters like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and other voices from the Right Wing talk radio echo chamber.
In May of 1773 the English Parliament passed the Tea Acts. These didn't raise the tax on tea it reduced them making the East India Company tea 9 pence cheaper than the Dutch tea John Hancock and others were smuggling into Boston. It also gave the East India Company the power to designate consignees who would be granted a monopoly of the tea trade in a city like Boston.
The Tea Act threatened John Hancock's profits pure and simple. It also posed a threat to legitimate businesses much the same way Wal-Mart today moves in and destroys local small businesses with cheaper prices because of its huge size and massive volume of business. The colonists were rightly afraid that if a monopoly could be granted for one thing, tea, other goods could be handled the same way.
The American colonies were prevented from manufacturing so produced almost nothing, because colonies were looked at as places to sell goods and expand profits under Merchantilism, the prevailing economics of our colonial period. Freedom for many colonists also included the desire to make their own goods and not be dependent upon Britain.
The Boston Tea Party then, was about two things, neither one being destruction of government which seems to be only raison d'etre of today's Tea Party. It was also not about taxes per se either, it was about the rights of Englishmen and the colonists just belief if they were to be taxed they had a right to a say in that decision if they were going to be considered Englishmen by the mother country, mostly when it seemed to suit the crown. The other aspect was decidedly anti-corporatist and anti-monopolistic. This was first and foremost an attack on the first multi-national corporation and its power over citizens with control of their economic lives.
The modern day Tea Party fighting for less government regulation is busy dismantling the very protections the Tea Party of 1773 would have demanded to protect themselves from a corporate monopoly. The modern Tea Party also wants to take away and restrict the rights of some Americans, restoring taxation without representation to some, because we had an election and the Tea Party Republicans lost, to those they don't agree with politically. The Tea Party of 1773 wanted an expansion of who had rights to include themselves, a desire that that would eventually lead by 1775, to the realization that we can govern ourselves.
To put this article succinctly, the modern Tea Party is so ignorant of reality and the actual history they claim they revere so much, that if this band of buffoons had lived in 1773, what they are doing with Koch money behind them would have been to assist the East India Company in perverting self government and small business by helping to create a monopoly for the first multi-national corporation. They also seem to be bent on returning millions of Americans to taxation without representation, because they disagree with the beliefs politically of over half the population. What a pathetic and stupid band of modern revolutionaries.