Tag: libertarian president

Libertarians Can Make the Most Progress in Local Government

Josh Hughes | United States

The Libertarian Party has proven that on the federal level, it is largely inept and incapable of winning elections. In fact, it has not had much success at the state level, either. The 2016 and 2018 elections were a huge opportunity for the party growth, but both were a flop. The national party is a mess without a clear leader or strong candidates. Many state parties are suffering from the same dilemma. Rather than wasting time and resources on national elections, the libertarian party needs to think local. Libertarians can not only have a better chance of success in local elections but also can do the most good for libertarianism. 

The Impact of Libertarians in Local Government

It is true that many local level seats are largely nonpartisan. “What difference does it make if a Republican, Democrat, or Libertarian is in charge of zoning regulations?” one may ask. The Libertarian party desperately needs elected officials in local government, before they can dream about a Libertarian in the Oval Office. 

City Council and Mayors Office

When it comes to the partisan seats, Libertarians can be very instrumental. The mayor and city councilmen control a lot of what happens in terms of city taxes and spending. Libertarians on a city councilor in a mayors office can lower local sales tax. They can also promote small business operation within their jurisdiction. They can decide what major projects the city will invest in. In some rare instances, cities can even decide whether to prosecute certain crimes. An example of such would be Baltimore recently deciding to not prosecute marijuana possession cases. Cities also have the power to decide what the minimum wage will be in the city. Combatting the left-wing cries for raising minimum wages, city by the city could be instrumental to the liberty movement. There are many things that local governments do that impact the everyday lives of citizens. 

State Legislature

Of course, growing their presence in state Assemblies and Senate could prevent either party from passing big spending bills. They could even form coalitions with liberty leaning members of either party to pass libertarian legislation. Peoples’ lives are much more directly impacted by local and state governments then they are the federal government. 

Looking To The Future

The Libertarian Party is not going to win any big elections in the near future. The next few years should be a period of rebuilding for the party, where they can develop a unified platform and leadership. It will also be a good time for them garner more support from the average American, who is currently facing a very polarized and divided nation. If the Libertarian Party wants to experience success in the coming years, it is important that they become more involved in local level politics, as well as work to gain the respect and trust of the average voter. You can’t win the presidency overnight, but you can certainly grow the movement in local governments, state legislatures, up to the House, up to the Governor’s office, the Senate, and then maybe one day, the White House. 


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The Libertarian Party: A History From Hospers to Johnson

John Keller | United States

The Libertarian Party

John Hospers (1918-2011) was the first Libertarian presidential candidate. He defined Liberty best in 1971, during his campaign for President in 1972, that “Liberty is the absence of coercion by other human beings.” The Libertarian Party began forming on July 17, 1971, with a meeting of David Nolan, John Hospers, Ron Paul, Tonie Nathan, Edward Crane, and others. The new political party was officially announced January 31, 1972. The first platform of the party focused on ensuring a gold-backed currency and a return to the classical liberal thoughts held by many of the Founding Fathers of America. The Libertarian Party’s goal was, and is, to shrink government and return rights and liberty to the citizens of the United States of America.

“The only proper role of government, according to libertarians, is that of the protector of the citizen against aggression by other individuals. The government, of course, should never initiate aggression; its proper role is as the embodiment of the retaliatory use of force against anyone who initiates its use.” – Dr. John Hospers

A Brief Introduction to the Philosophy

The philosophy of libertarianism is rooted in texts from the Age of Enlightenment (1685-1815), such as the theories of John Locke (1632-1704), in his The Second Treatise of Civil Government, written in 1689 as well as the philosophies and writings of Thomas Paine (1737-1809), who wrote Common Sense in 1776.

In addition, the Libertarian Party has been influenced by many modern-day philosophers as well. The most notable of these philosophers is Ludwig von Mises (1891-1973) who wrote Human Action in 1949. His philosophies dominate the Libertarian Party’s economic platform, and his work was so influential the Mises Caucus formed within the party. After his death, the Mises Institute was founded in Auburn, Alabama in 1982 with the mission, “To advance the Misesian tradition of thought through the defense of the market economy, private property, sound money, and peaceful international relations, while opposing government intervention as economically and socially destructive.”

History of the Libertarian Movement (1972-2000)

The Libertarian Party has historically been the strongest third party in the 20th century. In 1972, John Hospers received 3,674 votes. In 1996, the presidential ticket of Harry Browne and Jo Jorgensen received 485,759 votes.

As the presidential election began to get started in 1976 there were serious doubts in the minds of conservative voters on the integrity of the Republican Party following the Watergate Scandal in 1972. The Libertarian Party become a place to vent frustration with government, and with their message for smaller government and personal accountability attracted many new voters.

The 1976 presidential ticket consisted of former state representative of Vermont Roger MacBride for president and California lawyer David Bergland for vice president. His campaign focused on issues, such as ending the Federal Reserve and returning to a gold-backed currency, as well as non-interventionist foreign policy. Democratic nominee “Jimmy” Carter spoke of being an outsider “untainted” by the politics of Washington D.C. while Republican nominee Gerald Ford focused on his ability as the chief executive, relying on his incumbent status to help carry the election in his favor.

By the end of the campaign, Roger MacBride and David Bergland had won over 172,557 votes, almost 170,000 more votes than the first ticket just four years prior and having ballot access to thirty-two states.

In 1980 the Libertarian Party hoped to capitalize on the moment of the previous year and nominated Ed Clark, who had received almost 378,000 votes in his campaign for Governor of California in 1978, for the presidency. David Koch, a successful businessman and vice-president of Koch Industries. The election began heavily contested.

President Carter faced immense backlash for his foreign policy in the Middle East and many Americans had deemed it improper for an actor to be president. The Libertarian Party and the Libertarian presidential ticket was seen as a viable third option. Although Reagan won in an electoral landslide, the Libertarian ticket received almost one million (921,128) votes.

The Reagan Administration proved to be very popular, and in the 1984 election, it showed. Former vice presidential candidate, now presidential candidate, David Bergland was only able to generate a quarter million votes.

One of the most iconic, although not the most successful, presidential runs of the Libertarian Party took place in 1988. Former congressman Ron Paul of Texas received the nomination and Andre Marrou, a former member of the Alaska House of Representatives, was nominated as the vice presidential candidate. The campaign Ron Paul ran was described by one reporter as a “Kamikaze Campaign” for being so dedicated to the issues while he stood, according to the journalist, “as much chance as I” at becoming president. Ron Paul focused on non-interventionist foreign policy, ending the Federal Reserve, getting the government out of education, and focusing on returning the American dollar to the gold standard. On top of these key issues, former Congressman Ron Paul made a pillar of his campaign the War on Drugs.

Although unsuccessful, the Ron Paul for President Campaign raised the campaign standard and redefined the Libertarian Party, highlighting the power and ability of a grassroots campaign as he raised over $2 million in donations.

In 1992 Ron Paul’s former running mate, Andre Marrou, took the nomination and continued the message of Ron Paul, but faced limited success as Americans flocked to Ross Perot, an independent from Texas who attracted over 19,000,000 votes.

Following the success of Ross Perot, the Libertarian Party knew that large success against the two-party duopoly was possible. Harry Browne received the 1996 presidential nomination. As a veteran, he pressed Bob Dole for claiming “My generation won [World War Two]” and his strong ties to the past and not to the future. When election time came he had attracted nearly half a million votes – losing votes to the popular Ross Perot who gained over 8,000,000 votes for the Reform Party.

In 2000, Harry Browne again took the nomination and ran a similar campaign to the campaign run in 1996. He won nearly the same number of votes but served a larger role.

In the controversy over the election in Florida, where Ralph Nader arguably detracted enough support from Al Gore to allow George W. Bush to win the state, the story in the state of Washington is often forgotten.

Harry Brown’s campaign attracted enough votes, alongside Pat Buchanan’s campaign for president, to swing the state away from George W. Bush and in Al Gore’s favor, ensuring the presidential nominee for the Democratic Party, Al Gore, took the state, winning him an additional 11 electoral votes.

As the century turned and George W. Bush took the White House, the Libertarian Party began to go through a reformation process.

New Age Libertarianism (2004-2012)

In the twenty-first century, the Libertarian Party began to reform its priorities in its platform. The reformation became highlighted in the 2004 Libertarian National Convention as it became the most contested presidential primary in the thirty-two-year history of the Libertarian Party.

The three leading candidates were Aaron Russo, Gary Nolan, and Michael Badnarik. Aaron Russo was leading in pre-convention polls for the nomination. He was running his campaign on criticizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and ending the War on Drugs.

Gary Nolan, polling second, focused his campaign on Anti-Bush doctrine. He planned to focus campaigning on his home state Ohio with the goal of swinging the state away from Bush and winning the state for the Libertarian Party. His platform consisted of repealing the USA PATRIOT Act, ending the war in the Middle East and bringing home the troops, while rallying against the income tax.

Going into the convention Michael Badnarik was predicted the least likely of the three major candidates to win the nomination. His campaign was built on the principles of laissez-faire economics.

With Aaron Russo in the lead, it seemed clear that the Libertarian Party was beginning to switch away from the Ron Paul Era of economic focus and begin focusing on social issues, with economic policy on the back burner; however, a surprise came at the 2004 Libertarian National Convention.

On the first ballot, the vote counts for the nomination were all within twelve votes of each other; with Russo gaining 258, Badnarik 256, and Nolan 246. On the second nomination ballet, Nolan was eliminated and surprisingly endorsed Badnarik. In the final vote for the nomination, Badnarik took the nomination 417 votes to 348 for Russo, with six delegates voting “None of the Above”.

Although the focus on economics continued in this election cycle, a focus on social issues was beginning to grow within the party. Badnarik began his run immediately, trying to build off the momentum of the convention, but he struggled at first getting the Libertarian Party on board, especially those who had supported Aaron Russo who felt “cheated” at the convention.

By election day, the highest poll for the Libertarian ticket was at 5%, a poll conducted in New Mexico. On election day Badnarik, who held high hopes, pulled in about 400,000 votes, only about 0.32%. Following the results, he pursued, with support from Green Party candidate David Cobb, a recount in the state of Ohio, which President George W. Bush had won by about 100,000 votes. If the recount had been “successful” then Ohio would have swung to be a blue state, and Senator John Kerry (D-MA) would have been president.

In 2008 the election became key as there was a rejection of the Bush intervention policies. Former congressman Bob Barr was nominated by the Libertarian Party to run for president. He held high hopes going into the general election as many conservatives were growing tired of the pro-war leanings of the Republican Party, and the dedicated hawk candidate John McCain (R-AZ). However, Barack Obama (D-IL) came out as a strong anti-war candidate and supported social liberty and Barr began losing support. He tried to shift focus towards an economic policy where he believed he held the edge over the other candidates, but the American people were more focused on issues regarding foreign policy, and Barr was only able to gain a half million votes come election day. As the election cycle wore down the Libertarian Party began to strategize for 2012.

Libertarianism in the Modern Age (2012-Present)

In 2012 the upcoming nomination for president at the Libertarian National Convention was projected to be a toss-up between former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and Libertarian Party Vice Chair R. Lee Wrights. Going into the convention, Gary Johnson was being seen as an unlikely choice. He was a former two-term Republican governor in the state of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003. He had joined the Libertarian Party December 2011, just six months before the national convention after he failed to gain any traction in the Republican New Hampshire primary. On the other hand, R. Lee Wrights had been a member of the Libertarian Party since 2000 and had served for two years, prior to the 2012 Libertarian National Convention, as Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party (2004-2006).

Just as in 2004, the convention turned out to be an upset. Gary Johnson, on his platform of fiscal responsibility and social equality, won a surprising landslide victory at the convention, receiving 419 delegates (70.4%). Jim Gray, a California judge, received the nomination for vice president. The pro-immigration and anti-intervention ticket won considerable support as anti-war Republicans who could not support Mitt Romney voted Libertarian. Gary Johnson, on election day, made Libertarian Party history by receiving 1,275,971 votes.

Gary Johnson continued to fight for the Libertarian message and in 2016 sought to be renominated for the Libertarian presidential ticket. He was renominated in a landslide, gaining more than 30% more delegates than the runner-up Austin Petersen. Bill Weld, a former Republican governor of Massachusetts, was selected as the vice presidential nominee.

The 2016 election proved to be pivotal. Gary Johnson and Bill Weld began speaking throughout America on the message of peace and prosperity, speaking to the people about pro-immigration policy, low taxes, balanced budgets, and more. In short, the campaign rested on the idea that the government should stay out of your wallet and out of your bedroom. Bill Weld ran a strong campaign under Gary Johnson, and together they received 4,489,235 votes for the message of peace and prosperity.

Leading to the 2020 Libertarian National Convention much is unknown, but it is clear that even if there is not another Bill Weld or Gary Johnson, the idea and message of Libertarianism will spread. As the message spreads and more and more people are informed of the principles of peace and prosperity, it is clear that the breakout year for the Libertarian Party is coming soon as momentum grows.


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On Jair Bolsonaro: A Libertarian Perspective

By Daniel Szewc | Poland

Jair Bolsonaro, the new president of the Brazilian Federation is, above all else, controversial. What is it that this man truly supports? More importantly, is it compatible with the Western vision of liberty and libertarianism?

A divisive figure, Bolsonaro managed to garner 55% of the vote by capturing two things: A stark reaction to the corrupt socialist government before him, and sympathy support from his being stabbed during a rally.

Trump of the Tropics?

Many people equate Bolsonaro to the American President, calling him “the Trump of the tropics”. At first glance, this is plausible: first and foremost, he used populist rhetoric to gain traction. Secondly, he played on the fact that he wanted to get rid of corruption, calling himself a non-corruptible person. This, of course, is just like Trump, who said that he would “Drain the swamp”.

Moreover, the political and the media mainstream gave both mainly negative attention. In the case of Bolsonaro, they often attributed him with racist views. For example, a news station edited an interview with him to make it seem like he said that his son wouldn’t marry a black woman because of his good upbringing. Bolsonaro actually said that his son wouldn’t marry a man for that reason. Of course, that also is a highly incendiary comment and this is not a defense of his often brash statements. Instead, it merely points out that the media often mischaracterizes both figures. The last similarity is the appeal to better times. In fact, this was a strong tool, for times now in Brazil are dire.

In contrast to Trump, Jair Bolsonaro’s pro-gun standpoint does not come from conservatism or legal values, but instead from libertarian ethics of freedom. Moreover, his idea to radically liberalize gun laws was his own idea, not one to please crowds. He wants to do it as a means to reduce gun violence by arming the weak. To do this, Bolsonaro would remove the Statute of Disarmament, a 2003 law that heavily limited civilian firearm use. Often seen shooting guns himself, the new president is likely to fulfill this promise.

Bolsonaro and Liberty: Mixed Signals

Before his campaign, Bolsonaro posted a video in which he claimed that democracy was a failure. Thus, his authoritarian position will make it unlikely that he cedes power to interest groups. However, Bolsonaro often spoke with sympathy towards the military dictatorship from decades ago. In fact, he only had one objection to it: they didn’t kill enough communists. A reactionary en masse, he claims that “Pinochet did what had to be done”.

Despite this, he has also said, “As long as you don’t rape, kidnap, you don’t commit armed robbery, you won’t go to jail- that’s all, damn it!” In saying so, he appears to be, in some ways, an advocate for a very small state with few laws. Famously, he has sentiments that oppose state programs that show very young children the nature of homosexuality. In a non-elegant fashion, he states that people can be gay wherever they want, as long as they do not indoctrinate the youth.

Contrary to his libertarian view on laws is his support of torture for violent criminals. Bolsonaro believes that they do not have the same rights as nonviolent individuals.

Above all, Bolsonaro believes in the right to private property. He emphasizes such heavily in many speeches, including his inaugural address. In fact, he proposes enormous tax cuts and curbing spending. The exception, in his case, is military spending. A captain parachutist, Bolsonaro has long been a supporter of a large military, which runs contrary to libertarian values. Despite this, he generally wants to end state industrial complexes and enterprises. A supporter of a relatively free market, he wants to increase private enterprise and deconstruct bureaucracy.

An Unknown Foreign Policy

When it comes to foreign relations, we only know a few vague ideas. Bolsonaro wants to end strong relations with the leftist states in the region, including Venezuela and Cuba. In exchange, he hopes to pursue strong ties with countries that can trade more with Brazil. Social media can actually give a good clue as to where Brasilia may be looking to for foreign relations. The day of the election, Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, congratulated the new leader. Just one day later, Bolsonaro met with the ambassador to Israel. The president-elect, even during his campaign, said that Palestine is not a country and should not have an embassy.

Matteo Salvini, the right-wing vice prime minister of Italy, was also happy to congratulate Bolsonaro. However, it is unclear whether this was for strategic or ideological reasons. The strong rivalry of America and Israel against China and its client states is getting stronger globally. It is very possible that Brazil could play a key role in tipping the scales one way or another. This is especially true if Bolsonaro compromises the political system and commits a coup, which he has hinted at. In such a case, no internal political powers could force him to re-establish the current system. Thus, befriending the authoritarian leader could be very beneficial to smaller nations like Italy.

Brazil is most capable of effectively ousting Venezuela’s Maduro through the means of military intervention. America could, but it would severely hurt their relations with China. All of this, thus, lies at the feet of Bolsonaro. He has the potential to take the country towards or away from liberty, and only time will tell which route he prefers.


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True Libertarian Presidents III: Grover Cleveland

By Dane Larsen | United States

“It is better to be defeated standing for a high principle than to run by committing subterfuge.” -Grover Cleveland

On March 4th, 1885, a new President was inaugurated. One fresh face of a politician, who had only 3 years of experience in politics prior to being elected to Commander in Chief. Being the Mayor of Buffalo for 11 months, then the 28th Governor of New York for just over two years, Grover Cleveland brought many new ideals that alligned with the late-19th century American public.

Whether known for his rough around the edges attitude, or serving two terms as President, just 4 years, many people forget that much of the shrinking of government in wake of the 20th century should be credited to Grover Cleveland. After his first term, he was beat by Benjamin Harrison, a GOP candidate who was in office for 4 years, and messed up almost everything Cleveland did from 1885-89. From raising taxes on every tax bracket, to enforcing protectionist tariffs, or furthering the US’ involvement in Imperialism, Harrison was anything but Libertarian. So, in an effort to bring prosperity back the White House and D.C., Cleveland ran again in 1892, and won the election to be President for another 4 years, until he stepped out  of  power.

Economic Freedom

If anything, Cleveland is known for his “no nonsense” laissez-faire economics, combined with scaling down the size of government in all aspects, but in domestic finance policies primarily. He was known and recorded to have vetoed hundreds of crazy spending proposals, including omnibus budgets, enormous pension expansions, and needless capital boosts on the military’s power. Following through on his campaign promises, he also brought the national debt down, when it was still on the rebound from the Civil War.

Cleveland was a notable fighter against tariffs. In an address to Congress of 38 states at the time, he stated “it is indefensible extortion and a culpable betrayal of American fairness and justice”, to enact such taxes on goods that in all, hurt the American economy. He studied economics independently, as he only foresaw an Elementary education, yet he was up at the top of the class when he  was admitted to the New York Bar  in 1859. During a time where the idea of tariffs were gaining traction from the misinformed, and uninformed, Cleveland stuck to his word, vetoing double digits of tariff bills in office.

Lastly, the 22nd and 24th President of the USA was a firm believer in the gold standard, rather than a government-backed central bank which manipulates money at the general public’s expense. Shortly after he was inaugurated for the second time, there was a brief Depression that ensued over the United States, prompted by the failure of a railroad being built. Over one million Americans lost their jobs, and just under 400 banks closed. Cleveland overturned a Compromise bill that forced the use of silver in the monetary policy, passed by Benjamin Harrison before him. This gave the US a more sound economic position both domestically and in the world economy.

Non-Interventionism

Cleveland was also a strong opponent of the Imperialism movement of the late 19th century. While he fought against intervention into the Congo specifically, he also believed in the sovereign rights of states around the US. He believed that land shouldn’t be governed from far away, much like the Founding Fathers, and he proved this when he refused to annex Hawaii and other Caribbean colonies.

During his Presidency, Cleveland did use force to try to get his way in Latin America. Despite his lacks views of foreign policy and isolationism, he did have strong opinions on countries trying to intervene in the colonial puppets of Central and South America. When Great Britain tried to set up their Imperialist powers in countries like Jamaica, Honduras, Barbados, etc., Cleveland insisted that he spread military power to the regions to resist this imperialism. He did so with Congress approval, but he overstepped his boundaries, some say, to impose his own views on other governmental powers.

While the last act of aggression can be passed off because of its good intentions, the Scott Act of 1888 is inexcusable. During the heart of Chinese Exclusion of the United States,  the Scott Act “prohibited Chinese laborers abroad or who planned future travels from returning”. Much of what we see in the Protectionist movement in modern day America, both the Republican and Democratic parties in the late 1800’s were for limited immigration and semi-closed borders. According to the Department of Homeland Security, this denied access to between 20-30,000 potential workers.

Individual Autonomy

Cleveland’s views on rugged individualism and unalienable freedoms were more of the same, aligning with many of the libertarian-type people in power. Whether it was supporting state’s rights, the Bill of Rights, and autonomy from the state, Cleveland is much like Ulysses S. Grant, Warren G. Harding and other Libertarian Presidents of members of Congress who pushed liberty. Differently than his predecessors, however, Cleveland appointed his government employees by experience and knowledge of the job itself. By committing to a meritocracy, the POTUS set up a necessary precedent for the government to avoid nepotism, or anything of the sort.

Cleveland hits a speed bump here, where he gave in to the times he was born into. The Dawe’s Act is where Grover Cleveland signed into law, a bill which turned over a lot  of the remaining American Indian land, back to the government. It divided up the tribal land between the population of Native Americans, and the rest would be surplus, open for the white man. This broke apart the tribal structure and culture. Another fault in his Presidency was during the Pullman Strike, where Cleveland broke apart a Union of railroad workers with governmental force. He used the military and police departments to threaten with strength against this strike. Because this was a cause of concern for the general public, Cleveland intervened.

He had a short list of flaws, but some may not be looked over without batting an eye. Grover Cleveland did, however, align himself with a lot of modern libertarian beliefs, and did more good than harm in office.

 


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True Libertarian Presidents II: Warren G. Harding

By Dane Larsen | United States

“Warren Gamaliel Harding sweeps country in a GOP landslide” (San Francisco Chronicle, November 1920). After the 1920 Presidential election, the country had high hopes for a man who promised peace, progress and prosperity. Harding won the EC with votes 404-127, and stuck to his vowed code of ethics, by keeping the government out of the economy, bringing peace to the world after WWI, and protecting citizen’s personal liberties. An enormous portion of the United States voted him in so that they could see the results in categories like such.

Economic Freedom

Being preceded by Woodrow Wilson, a man notorious for his blasphemous economic positions, Harding was set up with a massive Depression from 1920-21. It’s not a big surprise that this was one of the depressions that hit us hard, but we never hear about it in the context of some of the worst in our nation’s history. This is because the former POTUS in question had about some of the finest economic stances, that he rarely went back on. Coupled with a post-World War economy, and the creation of the Federal Reserve, Harding was arranged to fail, as the economy as we knew it, was structured on faulty foundation. One future President, and Secretary of Commerce at the time Herbert Hoover, loosely defined himself as a laissez-faire advocate, and pushed for Keynesian tactics in the wake of a 17% GNP fall off, and a raise of unemployment by 8%. Harding ignored this.

Instead, Harding changed everything he could in his power, while keeping the checks and balances in D.C. that our forefathers envisioned, and not stepping over any boundaries. The Federal Income Tax started with a cap at 7% in 1913 but at the end of WWI skyrocketed to 77%. Secretary Mellon of Harding’s cabinet proposed tax cuts that would get the economy going again, with more money in the pockets of Americans in all tax brackets you could imagine. This cut in these taxes eventually led to a rapid growth in the US citizen wealth and all. In the passing years, GNP steadily rose 4.7% annually, and unemployment fell to 6.7% in 1921, then 3.2% in the following year. Furthermore, Harding cut spending of government entities by nearly 50%, and along with his almost 40% tax reduction, him and his administration cut back the national debt, with no bail-outs, government catalyst programs, etc.

Although he did enact a small tariff known as the Fordney-McCumber protectionist laws, he only had good intentions. Only one small crack in an air-tight economist of a President, the man “always decried high taxes, government waste, and excessive governmental interference in the private sector of the economy,” as Robert Murray wrote in “The Harding Era”. He was an honest man, who just wanted to see prominence in the economy of his home country, with the people he legitimately cared about.

Non-Interventionism

Foreign policy is the regard where Hardings reputation begins to become tarnished. He was a product of his time, and it’s hard to envision anybody in power at that particular time not wanting to grab at immediate power when there were so many vulnerable assets up for grabs. The occupations of many satellite colonies in the age of Imperialism was something every power of the Western world partook in. Harding wanted to do as much as he could in power to put these activities to rest, but it’s a shame that he never developed his words into actions. During his Presidency, the affairs regarding control over territories in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Nicaragua were still in tact. This cruel behavior was sinister, yes, but in the context of the 1920’s, not uncommon in the slightest. At least then, there was very little conflict or civil disruptions in the territories from 1920-22, besides the D.R. citizens fighting soldiers positioned on sight, which stopped after Harding retracted troops to ease tension.

He was, however, an advocate of world diplomacy, at least when it came to the world superpowers. The Washington Naval Conference was put on by President Harding from November of ’21, to February of ’22, pre United Nations, here Harding brought together a lot of the powerful countries of the World, in another of the conferences of the League of Nations. Along with pushing for disarmament around the globe, being the first world consultation of arms control, it also enacted three main treaties, among others, that stood out as being a type of foreshadowing of things that the world would see in the near future. After a long time coming, China eventually launched an “open-door” foreign trade policy that would stimulate the World’s economy, only following the Nine-Power Treaty introduced and signed by none other than Warren G. Harding. Furthermore, many attribute the breakdown of Imperialism itself to Harding, who knocked over one of the first dominoes with the Four-Power Treaty, which made sure that the members of the star members of the League of Nations wouldn’t exceed their status quo of stationed troops in Oceania during colonization. This was meant as a plea to give the citizens of their homeland some breathing room.

Individual Autonomy

Through thick and thin, Americans could cont on Harding pushing for personal freedom in the oval office, on behalf of his supporters, but for the good of everyone in the country. At one time, it was him valuing freedom of speech, when he pardoned Eugene Debs, wrongly imprisoned under the Democratic President Woodrow Wilson for speaking out against the USA’s participation in WWI, whether he agreed with it or not. He thought that through free speech and advocacy of the American people, the federal government could take some notes on how to run the country that gave them their power in the first place. He seems like an honest and good-hearted politician? No wonder it sounds so foreign to us in the 21st century.

Furthermore, in a time of turmoil, post-Emancipation Proclamation and pre-Civil Right Movement, Harding was one who always pushed for legal and God-given rights to all, no matter their skin color, or potential criminal background. On one hand, he endorsed equal political rights for all, especially African Americans. He got rid of double standards when citizens in the South applied to vote. In a campaign speech in Birmingham, a notable Democratic, segregated city, Harding once said “Whether you like it or not… Unless our democracy is a lie, you must stand for that equality”, pertaining to the equal voting rights he proposed.

Furthermore, on the other hand, Harding pushed for legislation on all fronts in favor of rehabilitation over punishment as well. In a more extreme case, the POTUS signed into law an anti-lynching and/or mob violence bill, only to be hated by a Senate filibuster. Although he didn’t push for the death penalty or anything of the sort, he wanted maximum punishment for the type of people who would do these things to other humans. In some cases, lynching was a branch of the punishment, and Harding didn’t approve of such an act in his United States.

A Prosperity Story, from Rubbish to Riches

Harding’s success story aligns itself right up with the story of the USA during his tenure as President. Harding lifted himself up through the ranks of the governmental positions. Born in Ohio himself, he was elected as a State Senator, elected Ohio’s Governor four years later, and the to the US Senate in 1914. He was thought of as a gamble in the RNC and when elected in the primaries, but his fresh ideas served as a springboard for America’s success in the Roaring Twenties.

Known as one of the most prosperous time periods in the United States’ history, economically, socially, spiritually, and in every other category, Harding overlooked and set the states up for a great boom. From WWI and a body count too many to fathom at that time in the War, the USA was coming from nothing. Under Harding, the country was built on a great infrastructure, thanks to his core libertarian beliefs.

“Our most dangerous tendency is to expect too much of government, and at the same time do for it too little.” –Warren Gamaliel Harding


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