Timeline of libertarianism in the United States

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This is a timeline of libertarianism in the United States.

Big picture

Time period Development summary More details

Full timeline

Year Month and date Event type Details
1946 Milton Friedman accepts an offer to teach at the University of Chicago.
1946 March 7 The Foundation for Economic Education, a libertarian think tank, is founded.
1947 The Mont Pelerin Society is formed. "The society advocates freedom of expression, free market economic policies, the political values of an open society." Some of its founders are prominent libertarians.
1949 October 1 George Mason University (GMU) is established. The GMU economics department would become known for its concentration of free-market-oriented thinkers.[1]
1950 October 2 The first issue of The Freeman, a libertarian magazine, is published.
1950s The term "Chicago school of economics" is coined during this period.
1950s–1960s Ayn Rand's group of close confidants, known as the Collective, meets during this period.
1957 Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged is published. The book "contains Rand's most extensive statement of Objectivism in any of her works of fiction".
1960 Liberty Fund, a libertarian non-profit foundation, is established.
1961 Thomas Szasz's The Myth of Mental Illness is published. The book "criticizes psychiatry and argues against the concept of mental illness".
1961 The Institute for Humane Studies, a libertarian non-profit organization, is founded.
1962 Milton Friedman's book Capitalism and Freedom is published. "Friedman argues for economic freedom as a precondition for political freedom. He defines 'liberal' in European Enlightenment terms, contrasting with an American usage that he believes has been corrupted since the Great Depression. His views are especially popular among American conservatives and libertarians."
1966 The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, a libertarian science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, is published. The book popularizes the "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch" adage.
1966 Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand (with additional essays by others) is published.
1968 May The first issue of Reason, a libertarian monthly magazine, is published.
1970 The Market for Liberty, an anarcho-capitalist book by Linda and Morris Tannehill, is published.
1971 December 11 The United States Libertarian Party (LP) officially forms.
1972 Libertarian Review, a libertarian magazine, is established. It would be published until 1981.
1973 David D. Friedman's The Machinery of Freedom is published.
1973 Murray Rothbard's For a New Liberty is published. The book argues for anarcho-capitalism.
1973 September 11 The 1973 Chilean coup d'état takes place. The coup leads to rule of Augusto Pinochet, whose military government implements free-market-oriented policies under the influence of the Chicago Boys.
1974 Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia is published. The book argues in favor of a minimal state.
1974 Fall The Reason Papers is founded.[2] Reason Papers' describes itself as "a forum for inquiry and debate across a wide spectrum of views rather than the instrument of any one ideology, party, or camp" and "is not edited for conformity with any particular philosophical or ideological perspective, is neither aligned with nor endorses any other institution or organization, and receives no funding from any outside source". However, it is hosted by the Mises Institute.[3]
1974 December The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, is founded as the Charles Koch Foundation.
1976 The Center for Libertarian Studies, a "libertarian and anarcho-capitalist oriented educational organization", is founded by Murray Rothbard.
1977 Spring The Journal of Libertarian Studies is established.
1977 November 21 The first issue of Inquiry, a libertarian magazine, is published.
1978 The Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank, is founded.
1978 Ron Paul newsletters begin to be published.
1979 The Prometheus Award, an award for libertarian science fiction, is first established.
1979 October 16 J. Neil Schulman's dystopian novel Alongside Night is published. It contains the first portrayal of counter-economics in a book.
1980 The Mercatus Center, a "non-profit free-market-oriented research, education, and outreach think tank", is established at George Mason University.
1980 October Samuel Edward Konkin III's New Libertarian Manifesto is published. It is the first explanation of Konkin's agorism.
1982 Murray Rothbard's The Ethics of Liberty is published.
1982 The Ludwig von Mises Institute is founded. "Through its publications, the Institute promotes anarcho-capitalist political theory and a form of heterodox economics known as praxeology".
1984 March 9 The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a non-profit libertarian think tank, is founded.
1984 November Charles Murray's book Losing Ground is published. The book is "about the effectiveness of welfare state policies in the United States between 1950 and 1980". The book, while less explicitly libertarian than some of his later work, tries to show that "by most available measures, the late 1960s wave of income transfer programs […] did not improve the lives of the poor, and in most cases made them worse off".[4]
1985 The Ayn Rand Institute is founded to promote Objectivism.
1985 The Independence Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Denver, Colorado, is founded.
1986 The Independent Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Oakland, California, is founded.
1990 Bruce L. Benson's The Enterprise of Law is published.
1991 The Institute for Justice (IJ), a "non-profit libertarian public interest law firm", is founded. IJ is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia.
1998 April 2 Randy Barnett's The Structure of Liberty is published. The book "offers a libertarian theory of law and politics".
1999 The Library of Economics and Liberty (Econlib) is launched.[5]
2001 September 1 The Free State Project is formed.
2003 January EconLog launches with Arnold Kling as the sole blogger.[6]
2008 July 24 Students for Liberty, a libertarian non-profit organization, is founded.
2009 January 22 Libertarian Papers, a "peer-reviewed journal of libertarian scholarship", is established. Its self-described purpose is "to advance scholarly research in disciplines of particular interest to the libertarian community, broadly conceived".[7]
2013 January Philosopher Michael Huemer's book The Problem of Political Authority is published. The book first argues for philosophical anarchism starting from "widely shared moral premises", then argues for the viability of anarcho-capitalism.[8]
2015 The Niskanen Center, a "think tank that advocates for environmentalism, immigration reform, civil liberties, and a national defense policy based on libertarian principles", is founded. It is based in Washington, D.C.
2016 February 3 The Free State Project announces that 20,000 people had signed its statement of intent to move, triggering the move (within five years) to New Hampshire.

Meta information on the timeline

How the timeline was built

The initial version of the timeline was written by Issa Rice.

Funding information for this timeline is available.

What the timeline is still missing

Timeline update strategy

See also

External links


  1. Boettke, Peter; Tabarrok, Alexander (March 28, 2006). "The real secret of George Mason University.". Slate Magazine. Retrieved August 1, 2017. 
  2. "Archives". Reason Papers. Retrieved August 2, 2017. 
  3. "A Journal of Interdisciplinary Normative Studies". Reason Papers. Retrieved August 2, 2017. 
  4. Brian Doherty (2007). Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement. PublicAffairs. 
  5. Based on the copyright notice. The earliest Wayback Machine snapshot is from 2000.
  6. "About Econlib". Library of Economics and Liberty. Retrieved August 1, 2017. 
  7. "Aims and Scope". Libertarian Papers. Retrieved August 2, 2017. 
  8. Bryan Caplan (January 17, 2013). "The Problem of Political Authority by Michael Huemer". EconLog. Library of Economics and Liberty. Retrieved August 1, 2017.