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Book Review: The Tea Party by Elizabeth Price Foley

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The Tea Party: Three Principles is a scholarly, legal take on the three motivations that drive the the tea party movement. It occupies the half-way house between some of the Tea Party books that talk about the Constitution in generalities and the turgid tomes of the CATO and Heritage Institutes. At 256 pages this is not a weighty tome by any means.

Professor Foley has managed to make it erudite but not too weedy. There is enough meat on the bones to make it both interesting and intellectually gratifying while never being too hard a read.

The aim of the book, which it does rather well, is to explain the constitutional rational for the core concepts that drive the Tea Party movement. While three things cited are slightly different to the “core values” of say the Tea Party Patriots, they do sum up the feelings of the majority of the movement.

The concepts covered here are limited government, US sovereignty and constitutional originalism. The last one is possibly the most contentious and probably the one which needs the most explanation (which is amply provided). Many Tea Partiers probably have no idea they are “constitutional originalists”.

If you are looking for an anthropological history of the Tea Party movement this is not it. However if you are a Tea Partier or interested in the movement, this legal explanation of the ideas that drive the movement should be most welcome.

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