Includes platform, bylaws, current party officers, candidates, elected officials, election results, other resources, links to U.S. affiliate parties, campus organizations and other libertarian parties worldwide
"The Libertarian Party is America's third largest political party, founded in 1971. Our vision is for a world in which all individuals can freely exercise the natural right of sole dominion over their own lives, liberty and property by building a political party that elects Libertarians to public office, and moving public policy in a libertarian direction."
Libertarian Party | political party, United States | Britannica.com
"It supports the rights of individuals to exercise virtual sole authority over their lives and sets itself against the traditional services and regulatory and coercive powers of federal, state, and local governments. The Libertarian Party was established in Westminster, Colorado, in 1971 and fielded its first candidate for the presidency in the next year's elections. In 1980 it achieved its height of success when it was on the ballot in all 50 states, and its presidential candidate, Edward E. Clark, a California lawyer, received 921,199 votes"
Online NewsHour: Libertarian Party History
, 5 Jul 2000
History from 1971 through 1999; special coverage for year 2000 elections
"1972: First national convention held in June in Denver, Colorado. John Hospers, a philosophy professor at the University of Southern California, is nominated as presidential candidate. LP vice presidential candidate Tonie Nathan becomes the first woman in U.S. history to receive an electoral vote. ... 1999: Fourteen Libertarians are elected to office in local spring elections, and more than 200 Libertarian candidates are on the ballot in state and local elections in November."
Libertarian Party: Campaign 2000: Presidential Campaign: Browne/Olivier
"The 2000 election campaign was an exciting time for the Libertarian Party. Harry Browne and Art Olivier were nominated as our presidential and vice-presidential candidates during the July 4th weekend, at our national convention in Anaheim, CA. The Browne-Olivier ticket received 382,892 popular votes, and the LP made the ballot in all 50 states (plus DC) for the third consecutive election."
Libertarian Party: History: Presidential & Vice-Presidential Candidates: 1972: Hospers/Nathan
"Presidential Candidate: John Hospers; Vice Presidential Candidate: Theodora (Tonie) Nathan; On the ballot: 2 states; Votes: 3,907"
Libertarian Party: History: Presidential & Vice-Presidential Candidates: 1980: Clark/Koch
"Presidential Candidate: Ed Clark; Vice Presidential Candidate: David Koch; On the ballot: 50 states plus D.C.; Votes: 921,199; Campaign Book: A New Beginning"
Libertarian Party: History: Presidential & Vice-Presidential Candidates: 1984: Bergland/Lewis
"Presidential Candidate: David Bergland; Vice Presidential Candidate: Jim Lewis; On the ballot: 39 states plus D.C.; Votes: 228,705"
Libertarian Party: History: Presidential & Vice-Presidential Candidates: 1988: Paul/Marrou
"Presidential Candidate: Ron Paul; Vice Presidential Candidate: Andre Marrou; On the ballot: 46 states plus D.C.; Votes: 432,297"
Libertarian Party: History: Presidential & Vice-Presidential Candidates: 1996: Browne/Jorgensen
"Presidential Candidate: Harry Browne; Vice Presidential Candidate: Jo Jorgensen; On the ballot: 50 states plus D.C.; Votes: 485,120"
Former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel joins Libertarian Party ranks: Believes Democrats are out of touch with American citizens
, 25 Mar 2008
Libertarian Party press release, including comments from Gravel, Bob Barr and the LP Executive Director
"'My libertarian views, as well as my strong stance against war, the military industrial complex and American imperialism, seem not to be tolerated by Democratic Party elites who are out of touch with the average American; elites that reject the empowerment of American citizens I offered to the Democratic Party at the beginning of this presidential campaign with the National Initiative for Democracy.'"
In Praise of the Libertarian Party
, by Harry Browne
, 4 Jun 2004
Discusses the obstacles (campaign finance limits, debate rules, etc.) faced by the Libertarian Party as well as the benefits of the LP presidential campaign
"[The Libertarian Party candidate] can promote name recognition for the word 'Libertarian,' so that millions of Americans realize that there are people trying to get the government out of our lives. This should be the major purpose of any Libertarian political campaign. By labeling specific proposals as 'Libertarian,' the candidate is telling hundreds of thousands of people that there's a party, a movement, a particular group of people offering to free you from the tired big-government proposals they hear from the Democrats and Republicans."
Keeping Libertarians Inside the Tent: Alienation avoidance
, by Randy E. Barnett
, National Review Online
, 22 Nov 2002
Responds to New York Times
16 Nov 2002 op-ed by John Miller complaining that Libertarians are "Democratic Party operatives" by offering suggestions that would make the Republican candidates more appealing to libertarian voters
"What would it take to attract more libertarian votes to the Republicans without alienating other members of the Republican coalition or moderate swing voters? ... a few suggestions ... Oppose intrusions into privacy ... Oppose intrusions upon the Bill of Rights ... Nominate more libertarian-conservative judges ... Care about federalism in the Congress ... Care more about the free market ... Back off Prohibition ..."
On Political Activism
, by Samuel Edward Konkin III
, May 1977
Letter to the editor, criticising John Hospers' view that running for political office as part of the Libertarian Party is "the quickest way of getting libertarian ideas known to millions"
"The paragraph is in your centerfold, and happens to be authored by Dr. John Hospers: 'One fact can hardly be controversial ... it is almost entirely because libertarians have formed a political party whose members ran for office and had their ideas publicized in newspapers, magazines, radio, and television.' The 'fact' is indeed not 'controversial;' it is abject nonsense. I have yet to see any significant label retention from those exposed to Libertarian Party commercials during campaigns; most Americans automatically blank out minor parties."
Party makes bid for Silicon Valley support
, Libertarian Party News
, Jan 1999
Describes the visit by LP leaders and other libertarians to a Cato Institute conference in Silicon Valley
"Libertarian Party leaders traveled to Silicon Valley in November to try to build bridges with the computer industry -- and explain to cyber-CEO's why they should "invest" in a start-up third party. LP National Director Steve Dasbach, Political Director Ron Crickenberger, and National Committee Alternate Dan Fylstra all attended 'Washington, DC vs. Silicon Valley: The Annual Cato Institute/Forbes ASAP Conference on Technology & Society,' which was held in San Jose, California, November 19-21. "
, by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
, 12 Jul 2005
Criticises the "Iraq Exit Strategy: America's Path Forward" proposal, made by the Libertarian National Committee on 29 June 2005, and suggests the name "Regime Libertarianism" for those who make proposals such as these
"... the party that claims to represent Jeffersonian liberalism and a radical alternative to right and left has proposed a realpolitik 'plan' for Iraq ... There is some good material in the plan, of course. It is critical of the invasion and the lies. But ... it completely contradicts the LP platform, which is very good because it takes principled stands against all warmongering, militarism, foreign troop placements, foreign aid, and outrageous spending in the name of defense."
The Case For a Libertarian Political Party
, by David F. Nolan
, The Individualist
, Aug 1971
A few months before the founding of the Libertarian Party, Nolan presents his rationale for establishing a new political party, after discussing four other libertarian activist strategies and admitting that "political approaches are inherently coercive"
"First, third-party candidates CAN win - especially in local or nonpartisan elections. Even at the national-government level, it happens occasionally. Third-party candidates have been elected to Congress more than one hundred times in this century, and there are two 'third-party' Senators ([James L.] Buckley and [Harry F.] Byrd[, Jr.]) in office at this very moment. And second, 'winning' (in the sense of electing someone to office) is not the only reason for having a political party - especially in the short term sense."
The life of the Party: An introduction, part one
, by Thomas L. Knapp
, Rational Review
, 23 Jan 2003
Describes three possible routes for the LP to have its policy prescriptions implemented and proposes a series of articles, by the author and others, outlining their visions for the party's success
"It's the stuff of folklore: in December of 1971, a few people got together in David F. Nolan's Denver apartment and founded a new political party. ... More than three decades into its existence, the LP has yet to define itself ... Randites, Rothbardians, anarchists, minarchists, single issue enthusiasts and advocates of various syntheses compete for the attention of Libertarians and for control of the Party's apparatus, such as it is."
The LP's multiple personality disorder: The Life of the Party, part two
, by Thomas L. Knapp
, 30 Jan 2003
Describes three political party strategies (electoral, ideological and revolutionary) and suggests that, in view of its size, the LP should decide on only one of these approaches
"An electoral party strategy is centered around winning elections ... An ideological party strategy is centered around rigorous adherence to principle and refusal to sacrifice goals for electoral gain. ... The LP's current platform is consistent with that of an ideological party. ... An electoral party would eschew ['educational' and 'spoiler'] campaigns for the most part, concentrating instead on winnable elections, most of which, for the nonce, are to local and lower-level office."
Begrudging Another Battle of Ballot-Boxing
, by Kenneth R. Gregg, 23 Nov 2006
Explains how those seeking power through politics are led to compromise, even if they are members of a group espousing principles over expediency, and urges others not to ballot-box but instead vote in the marketplace and the social realm
"What if The Chosen One is ... a member of the Libertarian Party? ... the Libertarian Party can only go so far and no more in promoting libertarianism. Libertarians are human, and political institutions direct thoughts and energies toward specific goals; not only because it is political power which is sought, but because it is the prospect of obtaining power which directs the energies of the LP."
Cast a Giant Ballot: Roger MacBride Made the Libertarian Party the Most Important Third Party in America
, by Clifford F. Thies
, The Freeman
, Oct 1997
Memorial and biographical essay, discussing MacBride's influence on the early Libertarian Party as well as his involvement in the Little House
"In 1971, the Libertarian Party was organized because of the argument that neither of the major parties was committed to liberty, and the naïve idea that a few people—none of whom commanded any significant resources—could do something about it. ... These candidates [John Hospers and Tonie Nathan] were placed on the ballots of only two of the nation's 50 states. Including write-ins from other states, the ticket got 8,000 popular votes out of 77 million cast, not even as many as were received by the Prohibition Party's ticket."
David Nolan: An Appreciation
, by Thomas L. Knapp
, 25 Nov 2010
A memorial tribute to Nolan, his chart and his involvement with the libertarian movement
"Also in 1971, [Nolan] left the Republican Party and publicly called for formation of a Libertarian Party, which he helped organize later that year. Its first presidential ticket — John Hospers and Tonie Nathan — garnered the support of a 'faithless' Nixon elector in 1972, making Nathan the first woman to receive an electoral vote ..."
Jeff Riggenbach on Samuel Edward Konkin III
, by Jeff Riggenbach
, Freedom Network News
Lengthy biographical and memorial essay
"[Konkin] became involved with the nascent Libertarian Party. As a delegate from New York City in 1973 and 1974, to the Cleveland and Dallas conventions respectively, Sam organized the original 'radical caucus' within the party. Like its successor 'radical caucus,' founded in the late '70s by Murray Rothbard, Bill Evers, Eric Garris, and Justin Raimondo, it was designed to keep the party properly adherent to libertarian principle."
Related Topics: Samuel Edward Konkin III
, Roy A. Childs, Jr.
, Williamson M. Evers
, Robert A. Heinlein
, International Society for Individual Liberty
, Laissez Faire Books
, Robert LeFevre
, Ludwig von Mises
, Dana Rohrabacher
, Murray N. Rothbard
Joan Kennedy Taylor
, by Jeff Riggenbach
, 14 Jan 2011
Biographical essay, including a review of Taylor's book Reclaiming the Mainstream: Individualist Feminism Rediscovered
; transcript of "The Libertarian Tradition" podcasts of 28 Dec 2010 and 12 Jan 2011
"To no one's surprise, she was elected by her fellow Massachusetts party members to become the only woman on the 20-member Platform Committee at the 1977 national Libertarian Party convention in San Francisco. Two years later, in 1979, a few months after she arrived in San Francisco ... she served as chair of the Platform Committee at the National Libertarian Party Presidential Nominating Convention in Los Angeles, the convention that nominated the ticket of Ed Clark and David Koch to represent the party in the 1980 presidential election ..."
Libertarians of Will, Intellect, and Action
, by Murray N. Rothbard
Keynote address to the Libertarian Party Convention
"We are the institution that garners the publicity, that brings to enormous numbers of people their first knowledge of libertarianism and of the libertarian movement, that educates and ingathers the broad public and attracts and nurtures present and future libertarian activists and cadres. And, on top of all this, we are the only libertarian organization that can use the established institutions of the ballot box ..."
Neither Bullets nor Ballots
[PDF], by Wendy McElroy
, The Voluntaryist
, Oct 1982
First editorial, describing the two major goals of The Voluntaryist
"As Voluntaryists we reject the Libertarian Party on the same level and for the same reason we reject any other political party. The rejection ... is based on the conviction that to oppose the State one must oppose the specific instances of the State or else one's opposition is toward a vague, floating abstraction ... Political offices are the State. By becoming politicians libertarians legitimize and perpetuate the office. They legitimize and perpetuate the State."
Power Profile: Ed Crane
, by Patty Reinert, Examiner.com
, 30 Jan 2008
Biographical profile of Ed Crane, including his views on the 2008 U.S. presidential candidates
"Crane left it all to become chairman of the Libertarian Party with the goal of making it a national force. He remembered walking into the hall at the first Libertarian Party convention in a Denver hotel in 1972 and being stunned by the collection of misfits who shared his ideals. ... 'There were all kinds of crazies there — gold bugs, Ayn Rand fanatics, anarchists — but they were good people interested in liberty.'"
Robert Anton Wilson
, by Jeff Riggenbach
, 15 Aug 2011
Biographical essay, including a lengthy digression on the thought of Ralph Borsodi, founder of the publisher of a magazine co-edited by Wilson in the early 1960's; transcript of "The Libertarian Tradition" podcast of 4 Aug 2011
"He also showed up now and then at libertarian gatherings of various sizes and types. I still remember how startled I was one day in 1981, when I was chairing a panel on civil liberties at the national Libertarian Party convention in Denver. ... So when, at last, I stood to make a few introductory remarks and looked out at the crowd that had gathered, I almost jumped out of my skin when I realized that the man sitting in the middle of the front row, virtually under my nose, was none other than Robert Anton Wilson, then in his late 40s and at the height of his fame."
The Libertarian Legacy of Rose Wilder Lane
, by Jeff Riggenbach
, 14 Apr 2010
Biographical essay on both Rose Wilder Lane and Roger MacBride, transcript of "The Libertarian Tradition" podcast of 30 Mar 2010 titled "Roger MacBride and Rose Wilder Lane: A Libertarian Legacy"
"... Roger MacBride, had voted for John Hospers for president and Tonie Nathan for vice president — thus casting the first electoral vote ever cast for a woman and the first electoral vote ever won by the Libertarian Party. ... It was also Roger MacBride who put the fledgling Libertarian Party on the political map in 1972 and represented it as its presidential nominee in the 1976 campaign against Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. In later years, MacBride abandoned the LP and went back to the Republican Party, within which he founded a libertarian organization, the Republican Liberty Caucus. "
Total Victory: How Sweet It Is!
[PDF], by Murray N. Rothbard
, The Libertarian Forum
Lengthy account and commentary on the 1983 Libertarian Party presidential convention
"Actually, while all support to the LP is to be welcomed, it will not harm the Party in the long run to be no longer dependent on the Koch family; it will not harm us to make it on our own in the real world. There was getting to be a danger of the Libertarian Party's becoming a perpetual welfare client of the Koch family. It will in the long-run be better for the LP to go out and develop more broadbased sources of funding, and hence more feisty independence."
Related Topics: Earl C. Ravenal
, David P. Bergland
, Gene Burns
, Roy A. Childs, Jr.
, Brian Joseph Fuhrig
, Robert A. Heinlein
, David H. Koch
, Roger Lea MacBride
, Theodora Nathan
, David F. Nolan
, Ron Paul
, Robert W. Poole, Jr.
, Justin Raimondo
, Mary J. Ruwart
Iraq Exit Strategy: America's Path Forward
[PDF], 29 Jun 2005
Proposal by the Libertarian National Committee for the U.S. to remove its troops from Iraq and a direct-aid program to allow Iraq to reconstruct its infrastructure (note: the occupation lasted another six years)
"Regardless of an individual's stance on the initial invasion of Iraq, it is now clear that there is no end in sight to the sustained violence in the region. ... On March 19, 2003, the U.S. invasion of Iraq began with a massive bombing campaign and a large ground invasion. The active campaign lasted forty-four days, with an end to major combat operations announced by President Bush on May 1, 2003 ... American and coalition troops have remained in Iraq for over two years since Bush's declaration of victory."
Scott Horton Interviews Bob Barr
, by Scott Horton, 26 Mar 2008
"Former Congressman Bob Barr discusses the possibility of running for President on the Libertarian Party ticket, the necessity of a new political realignment of right and left to end the war in Iraq and protect the Bill of Rights, the importance of ending the current regime of torture and murder and the destruction of the rule of law which used to forbid such things and the authority of the Congress to decide on matters of war and peace."