Letters to the Editor

The original ‘Tea Party’ movement?

Who would have thought that the origins of the “Republican” Party came from a mid-1800s group of Tea Partiers? The issue which brought disparate groups of people together was the “Kansas-Nebraska Act” which entitled settlers to decide if their state would be free or slave.

Following the publication of the “Appeal of Independent Democrats” in major newspapers, spontaneous demonstrations occurred. On June 6, 1854 on the outskirts of Jackson, Mich., about 10,000 people turned out for a mass meeting “Under the Oaks.”

Horace Greeley, newspaper magnate, wrote “We should not care much whether those thus united (against slavery) were designated ‘Whig,’ ‘Free Democrat’ or something else; though we think some simple name like Republican would more fitly designate those who had united to restore the Union to its true mission of champion and promulgator of Liberty rather than propagandist of slavery.” (or anything else.) Within several years the American Party or “Know Nothings” joined the Republicans.

So, out of a diverse group of agitated citizens, the Republican Party was born. Currently, some, maybe many, Independents would prefer not to be associated with the “Republican” Party, but might not feel the same way if they knew of the Republican Party’s inception. Independents currently use this moniker in my opinion, to let others know that they cannot be “swayed” to any opinion; however, to be truly “independent” would mean that someone is neutral on everything. I’ve yet to meet one person who falls into that category.

The old adage of “if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything” comes to mind. But, perhaps if they knew that the original Republican Party was made up of people who believed in being the “champion and promulgator of Liberty and anti- slavery” as Greeley wrote, maybe it would be easier for them to back Republicans in elections instead of starting third party candidates or simply remaining uninvolved for fear of being labeled a “Republican.”

Just remember, Republicans rose from an earlier mid-century group of “tea partiers.”

Catherine Paxton


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