The Tea Party movement is an American fiscally conservative political movement within the Republican Party. Members of the movement have called for lower taxes, and for a reduction of the national debt of the United States and federal budget deficit through decreased government spending. The movement supports small-government principles and opposes government-sponsored universal healthcare. The Tea Party movement has been described as a popular constitutional movement composed of a mixture of libertarian, right-wing populist, and conservative activism. It has sponsored multiple protests and supported various political candidates since 2009. According to the American Enterprise Institute, various polls in 2013 estimate that slightly over 10 percent of Americans identified as part of the movement.
Supporters of the movement subsequently have had a major impact on the internal politics of the Republican Party. Although the Tea Party is not a party in the classic sense of the word, some research suggests that members of the Tea Party Caucus vote like a significantly farther right third party in Congress.
The movement’s name refers to the Boston Tea Party of December 16, 1773, a watershed event in the launch of the American Revolution. The 1773 event demonstrated against taxation by the British government without political representation for the American colonists, and references to the Boston Tea Party and even costumes from the 1770s era are commonly heard and seen in the Tea Party movement.