Sitting in a lawn chair Saturday inside the pavilion at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park, Margaret Benson of Lady's Island and more than 400 of her fellow citizens were exercising what Benson called "their basic American right."
"The Bill of Rights gives us the right to do exactly what we're doing today," Benson said. "That document says we can peacefully assemble and petition our government and that's exactly what we need right now. Something needs to change."
The crowd gathered at the park as part of a rally organized by the Beaufort Tea Party Committee, the same group that orchestrated a July 4 rally that drew more than 500 people.
Though there were a number of local elected officials in attendance, the event was about giving ordinary citizens the chance to express themselves, said Jim Pennell, chairman of the Beaufort Tea Party Committee.
"Some of the folks who attended the last rally said the politicians got too much time to talk so this is just for the public to be able to say what's on their mind about a mixture of different issues," Pennell said.
Prospective speakers were asked to sign up and were given two minutes each to talk about an issue of their choice. The topics included abortion, health care reform, illegal immigration and government spending.
More than 550miles north of Beaufort, State Sen. Tom Davis attended a similar rally in Washington, D.C.
Davis and 130 Hilton Head Island resident chartered a bus to the nation's capital to take part in the event, which included a rally in front of the White House.
Davis said he'd be leaving his official title at home and was instead participating as "an American citizen petitioning the federal government for a redress of grievances.
"American's tradition should always be one of expanding individual liberty, but in the past 200 days, we have seen our federal government veer dramatically from the principles ... upon which it was founded," Davis said. "We now have government expanding into all aspects of our lives, encouraging citizens to become dependent on the state to take care of basic needs."
Rallyies like those Saturday will go a long way toward keeping government and the nation's elected officials in check, said attorney Alysoun Eversole, the Beaufort event's keynote speaker.
"I firmly believe that we must keep a vigilant watch over our elected officials to keep from being deprived of our freedoms by usurpation," Eversole said to a round applause from the crowd inside the pavilion.