The United States Green Party

On July 17, 1971, a group of individuals formed the Committee to Form a Libertarian Party. They believed strongly that in order to fix America’s political issues a group must look closely at the very principles that make the United States an exceptional country.

Yet it wasn’t until Dec. 11, 1971, that the actual Libertarian Party was born. Consisting of John Hospers, Edward Crane, Manuel Klausner, Murray Rothbard, R.A. Childs, Tonie Nathan and Jim Dean, this group of disillusioned Democrats, Republicans and political newcomers were determined to create a better alternative.

First National Convention of the Libertarian Party

Denver saw the First National Convention of the Libertarian Party in 1972. Philosophy professor John Hospers from the University of Southern California was nominated as the presidential candidate. Tonie Nathan, the candidate for vice president, was the first woman to get an electoral vote in United States history.

By the time of the first convention, the Libertarian Party had expanded from the seven original members to more than 80 members.

Libertarian Party: Important Dates and Highlights

Here are some highlights from the history of the Libertarian Party:

  • 1976: MacBride is the presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party.
  • 1978: Dick Randolph joins the Alaska House of Representatives. He is the first Libertarian elected to state office.
  • 1980: The Libertarian Party gains more than 1 percent of the popular vote in the presidential contest. This is significant, as the party gained ballot access in 50 states (as well as in Washington, D.C., and Guam). The last time a third party accomplished this was in 1916 (with the Socialist Party).
  • 1981: Richard Siano is elected to office in Kingwood Township (New Jersey) as Committeeman. He won out over a Republican and a Democrat.
  • 1983: The party sees internal turmoil, and leaders Crane and Koch leave. In turn, some supporters also leave the political party.
  • 1984: David Bergland, presidential nominee, gains access to the ballot in 36 states.
  • 1987: Doug Anderson is elected to the Denver Election Commission. He is the first Libertarian elected to office in a major city.
  • 1988: Ron Paul (once a Republican) wins Libertarian nomination for president. He currently serves on the House of Representatives.
  • 1992: The Libertarian Party makes the ballot in 50 states with Marrou and Lord.
  • 1994: Howard Stern (radio personality) announces his candidacy for governor of New York, under the Libertarian ticket. He later withdraws.
  • 2000: The party again makes the ballot in a 50 states (including Washington, D.C., and Guam).

The Libertarian Party in 2004 and 2005

The year 2004 was important in terms of the public perception of the Libertarian Party. Interestingly, the party’s race for presidential nomination was extremely close between the three candidates:

  • Aaron Russo (Hollywood producer)
  • Gary Nolan (radio host)
  • Michael Badnarik (gun rights activist).

Each candidate came within just 2 percent of one another on the initial two ballots at Atlanta’s National Convention. It was Badnarik who finally won status as the party’s presidential nominee.

During his campaign, Badnarik received strong support in 48 states. It was during this campaign that significant media attention helped to spread the Libertarian message and ideology.

The year 2005 was a time of Libertarian action. In June, the party announced its Iraq Exit Strategy, a plan to safely withdraw American troops from Iraq. At the same time, the party spoke about promoting strength and leadership among the Iraqi people so that they could rule their own territory.

Many changes have occurred within the Libertarian Party since 1971, and it is likely that the party will experience more changes in the future. The Libertarian Party is proud of its legacy and advises that the best is yet to come.