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Lesson Idea: The Tea Party Movement



Throughout history,citizens of this country have united to advance their shared ideas in order to effect change.
Students will identify the Tea Party as an evolving movement. Students will distinguish the difference between the Tea Party and the Republican and Democratic political parties.


  • Caucus
  • Manifesto
  • Activist
  • Grassroots
  • Straw Poll


Ask students to share what they know about the Democratic and the Republican political parties. Elicit information regarding what students may know or have heard about the Tea Party to activate thinking.
1. Define and discuss the five words found in question # 1 on the handout. These words will appear in video clips contained in the lesson.
2. In the following video, Professor Schneider describes the cycle of change between conservatives and liberals in our country’s history. View the clip below. Have students answer the questions in #2 on the handout and discuss their responses.
VIDEO LINKProfessor and author Gregory Schneider speaks about conservative movements throughout the 20th century and how the Tea Party may be part of this cycle.
3. The following videos contain several Tea Party activists’ perspectives. View the clips and have students answer the questions found in # 3 on the handout. Discuss their responses.
VIDEO LINK: Tea Party Express Chair Amy Kremer talks about her reasons for joining the Tea Party and how she used social media to connect with other political activists.
VIDEO LINK: Richmond Tea Party President Jamie Radtke discusses her involvement with the Tea Party, its relationship with elected officials, and the coordination of various Tea Party groups. She mentions the first Tea Party presidential straw poll that was conducted at The Virginia Tea Party Convention.
Former Majority Leader and author of Give Us Liberty:  A Tea Party Manifesto, Dick Armey discusses the principles and leadership of Tea Party activists.
VIDEO LINK: First Tea Party Nation Convention: Keynote Speaker Sarah Palin briefly describes the Tea Party.
4. The following videos represent varying Republican perspectives of the Tea Party. View the clips and have students answer question #4 on the handout. Discuss their responses.
VIDEO LINK: Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN) discusses the origin of the Tea Party caucus in Congress, its members, and its mission at the Americans for Prosperity conference in Washington, DC.
VIDEO LINK: Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) comments on the Tea Party.
VIDEO LINK: Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) talks about the grassroots movement of the Tea Party.
VIDEO LINK: Chief Deputy Minority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) gives his description of the Tea Party.
5. The following videos represent several Democratic views of the Tea Party. View the clips and have students answer question #5 on the handout. Discuss their responses.
VIDEO LINK: Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) remarks on upcoming elections.
VIDEO LINK: Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ) speaking about the Republican Party and the Tea Party.
6. The following videos reflect the media’s reporting on the Tea Party. View the clips and have students answer question #6 on the handout. Discuss their responses.
VIDEO LINK: Author and Pollster Scott Rasmussen discusses the Tea Party movement and its relevance to historical movements.
VIDEO LINK: Wall Street Journal Reporter Neil King comments on the Tea Party.
VIDEO LINK: Author and National Correspondent of the New York Times, Kate Zernike discusses the Tea Party movement.
VIDEO LINK: Professor and author Gregory Schneider comments on viable third parties in the United States.
7. Access the link below to read an article in Politico that describes Tea Party activists’ reactions to the formation of an official caucus in Congress. Have students answer question #7 on the handout and discuss their responses.
Tea Party vs. Tea Party Caucus article written by Kenneth Vogel.


Consider the information you gathered in this lesson regarding the Tea Party: its members, its supporters, its opponents, its objectives. In a well developed essay, answer the following questions. How would you describe the Tea Party? Do you believe that ordinary citizens can affect change in the policies of our government? Do you think the Tea Party will be viable after the upcoming elections? Explain your answers.
Extension Activities:

Students can conduct further research on the Tea Party, its members, and its agenda by searching C-SPAN’s video library