Remains to be seen: the Tea Party Movement and the continuation of modern US conservatism

Heidtmann, Matt (2012) Remains to be seen: the Tea Party Movement and the continuation of modern US conservatism. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Conceived as a grassroots movement which opposed the federal government’s intervention with the economy and its increased spending on social progress, the Tea Party, socially and politically conservative in nature and populist in alignment, grew into a formidable force in American politics in the wake of the Great Recession of 2007/08. Its members and supporters represent a considerable part of the American society, although its composition and its ideology are diverse and controversial. The movement’s concerns over federal control are informed by longstanding debates in US history over the size and scope of government, the implications of which are reflected in their rhetoric. The Tea Party is essentially a continuation of modern American conservatism as it occurred in the second half of the twentieth century. Its ideological ancestors were streams and movements born out of anxieties over economic, cultural and demographic change particularly in the 1950s and 1960s. The Tea Party’s immediate success, albeit somewhat chequered, was underestimated by some, but its overall impact, culminating in the midterm elections of 2010, was at least tangible, and in fact reinvigorated American conservatism. This study poses the question, as to what extent the Tea Party Movement is a continuation of US conservatism of the second half of the twentieth century, and what its implications are. Through the use of a wide body of primary and secondary sources, this project sheds light on the Tea Party movement itself, and analyses some of the historical issues that surround its inception. Similar movements and sentiments of the past are examined, and it is argued that the Tea Party represents a de facto re-emergence of American conservatism. The project concludes with a piece of original research, namely a study of the 2010 midterm
    elections, aimed at measuring the Tea Party’s immediate impact on American politics.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Languages and Area Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2012 05:30
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:03

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