Libertarian Party (United States)

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The Libertarian Party was formed in Colorado Springs in the home of David Nolan on December 11, 1971.[6] The formation was prompted in part by the Vietnam War, conscription, and the end of the Gold Standard.[7] The first Libertarian National Convention was held in June, 1972. In 1978, Dick Randolph of Alaska became the first elected Libertarian state legislator. In 1994, over 40 Libertarians were elected or appointed which was a record for the party at that time. The year 1995 saw a soaring membership and voter registration for the party. In 1996, the Libertarian Party became the first third party to earn ballot status in all 50 states two presidential elections in a row. By the end of 2009, 146 Libertarians are holding elected offices.[6]

Platform

The preamble outlines the party's goal: "As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others." Its Statement of Principles begins: "We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual." The platform emphasizes individual liberty in personal and economic affairs, avoidance of "foreign entanglements" and military and economic intervention in other nations' affairs and free trade and migration. It calls for Constitutional limitations on government as well as the elimination of most state functions. It includes a "Self-determination" section which quotes from the Declaration of Independence and reads: "Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of individual liberty, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to agree to such new governance as to them shall seem most likely to protect their liberty." It also includes an "Omissions" section which reads: "Our silence about any other particular government law, regulation, ordinance, directive, edict, control, regulatory agency, activity, or machination should not be construed to imply approval."[4]

Current structure and composition

The Libertarian National Committee (LNC) is responsible for promoting Libertarian campaign activities. While the LNC is responsible for overseeing the process of writing the Libertarian Platform, the LNC is more focused on campaign and organizational strategy than public policy. In presidential elections, it supervises the Libertarian National Convention. The 17-member Libertarian National Committee[8] (currently chaired by Mark Hinkle) is responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations of the Libertarian Party and its headquarters, in representative style.

The Libertarian National Congressional Committee (LNCC) was created by the LNC for the purpose of raising funds to elect Libertarians to the United States Congress. It is modeled after the Democratic and Republican equivalents, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee. Wayne Allyn Root is chair of the LNCC.[9]

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