Roger Lea MacBride was an author and the 1976 U.S. Libertarian Party presidential nominee. Roger MacBride was involved in classical liberal scholarship and activism virtually his entire life. As a child, he became close to Rose Wilder Lane, the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and he absorbed her libertarian philosophy. He graduated from Harvard Law School, practiced law in Vermont, served in the legislature, ran for governor, and published two books on constitutional law, The American Electoral College and Treaties versus the Constitution. After Lane’s death, he inherited the rights to the Wilder books and turned Little House on the Prairie into a popular TV series. In 1972, living in Virginia, he was selected as a Republican elector. He refused to vote for Richard Nixon and cast his vote instead for the brand‐​new Libertarian Party ticket of philosopher John Hospers and journalist Tonie Nathan, who thus became the first woman in American history to receive an electoral vote. The Libertarian Party then chose MacBride to be its presidential nominee in 1976; his modest wealth helped the party to afford a professional campaign for the first time. He came in fourth, receiving about 173,000 votes. His campaign book A New Dawn for America presented libertarian principles and policies in a readable, commonsense manner. Later he returned to the Republican Party, chaired the Republican Liberty Caucus, and wrote several young‐​adult historical novels about Lane’s childhood on a Missouri farm, including Little House on Rocky Ridge. MacBride put the Libertarian Party on the map with his electoral vote in 1972 and his vigorous and well‐​received campaign in 1976.

Further Readings

Doherty, Brian. Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern Libertarian Movement. New York: Public Affairs, 2007.

Kelley, John L. Bringing the Market Back In: The Political Revitalization of Market Liberalism. New York: New York University Press, 1997. 191–192.

MacBride, Roger L. The American Electoral College. London: Caxton, 1952.

———. A New Dawn for America. Ottawa, IL: Green Hill, 1976.

David Boaz
Originally published