How is the "Tea Party Movement" like or unlike past American social movements?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In addition to what I said in my answer to your previous question, there are a few similarities and differences between the Tea Party and previous social movements.

The main similarity is that the Tea Party arose based on its members' opinions on one particular issue, the issue of government spending.  This is very typical of a social movement.  They tend to coalesce around single issues like civil rights, abortion, or gay rights rather than around a range of issues like a political party does.

The major difference, though, is that the Tea Party has not been heavily engaged in any of the traditional "outsider" actions that social movements have engaged in.  They do not do sit-ins like the Civil Rights Movement or Operation Rescue.  They do not have a major focus on lawsuits the way that rights movements like the Civil Rights Movement and the movement for gay rights have had.  Instead, they are focused mainly on trying to get candidates that they approve of elected.

There are major similarities and differences between the Tea Party and previous social movements, which is why it is hard to know whether to classify the Tea Party as a social movement.

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