Do today's Tea Party advocates share similar values with those who advocated for the Populist movement 100 years ago?

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While there might be similarities in their calls to action, I think that there are significant policy differences between the Tea Party movement and the Populist movement of a century ago.

The Populists in the late nineteenth century believed that government was not listening to the needs of farmers.  Some of the language in the platform of the Populist party called for uniting "the farmers of America for their protection against class legislation and the encroachments of concentrated capital."  This protection came in the form of governmental action.  The Populists called for a regulation of railroads and communication.  They sought to increase governmental control in order to make government more responsive to the needs of farmers.

The Tea Party advocates do not favor more governmental control.  Their platform is motivated by the belief that there is too much governmental intrusion and regulation.  The Tea Party membership wishes to decrease the role of government.  Members of the Tea Party believe that governmental spending is far too much and needs to be curtailed.  Accordingly, Tea Party members do not support the widening of government or the nationalization of industries under the government.  It is for this reason that so many Tea Party advocates are against government- sponsored initiatives like health care.

The shared anger and outrage at the way government is being run is one common link between the Tea Party and the Populists.  They both share a dislike for how government is functioning.  However, the policy implications of each are fundamentally different.  The Populists wanted greater governmental control over privately held industries, while the Tea Party seeks to reduce the role of government.

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