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The event was one of the first in a series that led to the United States Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution that gave birth to American independence.

This iconic 1846 lithograph by Nathaniel Currier was entitled "The Destruction of Tea at Boston Harbor"; the phrase "Boston Tea Party" had not yet become standard. Koch of Koch Industries founded Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), a conservative political group whose self-described mission was "to fight for less government, lower taxes, and less regulation." Congressman Ron Paul was appointed as the first chairman of the organization.

The Tea Party has generally sought to avoid placing too much emphasis on traditional conservative social issues.

National Tea Party organizations, such as the Tea Party Patriots and Freedom Works, have expressed concern that engaging in social issues would be divisive.

Members of the movement have called for a reduction of the national debt of the United States and federal budget deficit by reducing government spending, and for lower taxes.

To this end, Tea Party groups have protested the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), stimulus programs such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, commonly referred to as the Stimulus or The Recovery Act), cap and trade environmental regulations, health care reform such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, also known simply as the Affordable Care Act or "Obamacare") and perceived attacks by the federal government on their 1st, 2nd, 4th and 10th Amendment rights.

Armey had co-written with Newt Gingrich the previous Contract with America released by the Republican Party during the 1994 midterm elections.

One thousand agenda ideas that had been submitted were narrowed down to twenty-one non-social issues.

Contrary to Currier's depiction, few of the men dumping the tea were actually disguised as Native Americans. The CSE lobbied for policies favorable to corporations, particularly tobacco companies.

In 2002, a Tea Party website was designed and published by the CSE at web address and stated "our US Tea Party is a national event, hosted continuously online and open to all Americans who feel our taxes are too high and the tax code is too complicated." In 2004, Citizens for a Sound Economy split into Freedom Works, for 501c4 advocacy activity, and the Americans for Prosperity Foundation.

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