Libertarianism Was Born In Westminster And Other Historical Party Facts

Listen Now
Photo: Libertarian Party founder David Nolan_feature
Libertarian party founder David Nolan.

The Libertarian party's origins can be traced back to a living room in Westminster. In 1971, David Nolan and his friends gathered to share their frustration about then-President Richard Nixon. The party was later officially formed Dec. 11, 1971 in Colorado Springs.

In 1977, the condensed version of the party's platform was described in this fashion by Nolan:

1. We favor the abolition of damn near everything.

2. We call for drastic reductions in everything else.

3. And we refuse to pay for what's left!

The Libertarian party has grown to have somewhere around half a million registered voters nationwide. There's a new project to document its history, led by Caryn Ann Harlos, Libertarian Party of Colorado communications director and Region 1 representative on the Libertarian National Committee. Harlos has been cataloging and digitizing party documents, photos and artifacts at

Here's a look at some of the things Harlos has unearthed:

A poster for the party's first presidential ticket with John Hospers as president and Theodora "Tonie" Nathan as vice president. Nathan the first woman in U.S. history to get an electoral vote in the electoral college.

Photo: Libertarian presidential ticket poster

Harlos found issues of the Libertarian Party News, or the LP News, and early newsletters that she says "give a snapshot of what was going on at the time."

Photo: LP Newsletter

There's also this abridged history of the party.

Photo: Libertarian party history