Difference Between Tea Party and John Birch Society

In the history of American politics, both the Tea Party and John Birch Society have contributed in some way or the other. Both these parties share common ideologies, points of view and functions. But they cannot be confused with each other as there are many differences in their outlook and construction of society.

Tea Party vs John Birch Society

The main difference between the Tea Party and John Birch Society is that the Tea Party is mostly concerned with the economy, whereas the John Birch Society works both on society and the economy. The latter came into being during the war strongly opposing communism, and the Tea Party was formed to fight against the then government’s overspending on budget, free-market, and immigration policies.

Tea Party and John Birch Society

The Tea Party is a political group that was formed taking many small organizations into account that shared some common interests and goals. From the beginning of its formation, it was anti-government, overtly criticised its taxation policies. It wants to give the limited state powers and focus more on individual freedom. 

The John Birch Society, on the other hand, proclaims itself as a right-wing political party that was formed in 1958. It was mainly advocating against the principles of communism, any form of authoritarianism. It also glorifies familial values, Christian ethics as well as constitutional rights.

Comparison Table Between Tea Party and John Birch Society

Parameters of ComparisonTea PartyJohn Birch Society
Founding YearThe Tea Party was formed in 2009.The John Birch Society was established in 1958.
Source of NameThe name of the party has been derived from ‘Boston Tea Party.’The John Birch Society got its name from the founder.
LeaderThis party does not have a national leader.The John Birch Society has a national leader and follows a hierarchy.
ConcernsIt mainly concerns itself with the economic responsibilities of the government.This party works both on the societal and fiscal responsibility of the government.
Scale of workThe Tea Party works on local levels.Since it is a national party, it functions on a broader level.

What is Tea Party? 

The Tea Party is a group of small organisations clubbed together that share common interests. It started its journey in 2009 when the election for the President of the United States was going on. This is an organisation that puts its focus more on the economy than social issues.  

The word ‘Tea Party’ came into use when Rick Santelli lashed out at Barack Obama on his ‘mortgage relief plan’. The reference of the term is ‘Boston Tea Party ‘, and as declared by the supporters, the term ‘Tea’ stands for ‘taxed enough already. In the beginning, it followed an anti-government tone, criticised it for its free-market policy. 

Unlike other political parties, the Tea Party does not have a national leader and mainly works at the local level. At present, the Tea Party has three main agendas- focusing on the financial status of the government, free-market policy and limited authority of the government. 

This is not a central organisation and does not wish to function as a full-fledged political party. On the other hand, the lack of hierarchy is rather seen as a symbol of strength than weakness. However, over time it has lost its goal, and different controversies and conflicts have contributed to its fall.

What is John Birch Society?

The John Birch Society was formed in 1958 in Indiana as a political party that supports right-wing politics. The founder of this political organisation was a businessman named Robert W. Welch Jr. It overtly opposes ideologies of communism, authoritarianism, conservatism and socialism.  

The party believed in the idea of personal freedom, constitutional rights and advocated for it. However, it does not endorse the complete autonomy of pure democracy as it sees it as ‘mob rule. On the other hand, it opposes any anarchical form of rule that means the absence of government. So, it demands a government that would assure personal freedom, constitutional rights, limited governance. 

They are fully against the idea of ‘one world government’ and the government’s control over the property. They believe in private ownership of properties, fundamentals of capitalism where people can get benefit from the surplus of capital. They emphasise the family as the founding unit of society rather than the concept of ‘state’. 

For them, God is the origin of rights, and they strongly oppose any atheistic belief. Ideas of individualism, morality are firmly supported by this political party. This is a party that has a national presence but also work at local levels. 

Main Differences Between Tea Party and John Birch Society

  1. The Tea Party works mainly on local levels, whereas the John Birch Society functions on the national level. 
  2. In 2009, the Tea Party came into existence. But the John Birch Society was formed in 1958. 
  3. The Tea Party does not have a national leader. The John Birch Society has a President, and his name is Martin Ohlson. 
  4. The Tea Party’s leanings are more towards the economy of the country, whereas the John Birch Society is concerned with the country’s both social and economic aspects. 
  5. The Tea Party’s name has been derived from ‘Boston Tea Party. The John Birch Society has been named after its founder. 

Conclusion

The Tea Party and John Birch Society are political parties where some similar ideologies can be seen in both of them. Both are strongly against ideas of authoritarianism, communism and supports curtailed power of government, constitutional rights. However, there are differences.

The Tea Party is a collection of many small organisations that mainly work on local levels. But the John Birch Society is a big organisation that follows the formal structure or hierarchy and works majorly on a national level. Thus, it is clear that both these parties are not the same and have some dissimilarities that need to be explored in order to have a clear view of them.

References

  1. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics/article/who-wants-to-have-a-tea-party-the-who-what-and-why-of-the-tea-party-movement/49B1773A21C29819E071B702D619A7E7
  2. https://search.proquest.com/openview/d2b6732ddc7b2a09cd42118893183832/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=1816616

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