Constitutional Amendments That The Republican-Tea Party Want To Abolish Or Alter Part II

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The next amendment that the Republican-Tea Party (RTP) wants to tamper with is the 16th Amendment.  The wording to this particular amendment is short and to the point.  Here it is as follows:

XVI Amendment

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

In a nutshell, this amendment gives Congress the power and authority to collect income taxes on income earned from individuals, businesses and corporations.  Through this amendment the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was given the authority to collect taxes and to enforce tax laws.

For some strange reason which I cannot fathom, the RTP wants to abolish this amendment.  There are even factions of the RTP that claim that the IRS is unconstitutional!  How can that be?  This amendment clearly states that income taxes can be collected and gives the authority to do so.

If  this amendment is abolished eliminating income taxes, how exactly does the RTP propose to replace the revenues?  You simply cannot eliminate revenue without having a means of replacing lost revenue.  The government still has to function.  As far as I know, no one in the RTP has answered this question.

Maybe we should take a look at how taxes were collected BEFORE 1913 when this amendment was ratified.

Prior to the 16th Amendment, there were three main types of taxes.  There were poll taxes, tariffs and excise taxes.

Let’s start with poll taxes.  A Poll Tax or Capitation Tax was a per head tax.  Each individual had to pay this tax and it was uniform nationwide.   These taxes quite often were collected at the polls on Election Day, hence the term Poll Tax.  If you couldn’t pay the tax, you couldn’t vote.  This was declared unconstitutional by the 24th Amendment in 1964.

Now let’s examine tariffs.  Tariffs are taxes on imported goods.  They serve two purposes.  The first purpose is to raise revenue and the second purpose is to protect national business interests.  That type of tariff is called a Protective Tariff.

A tariff was the first source of income for the United States.  The Tariff Act of 1789 was the name of this act.  Tariffs were also the main source of income for the US until the enactment of the 16th Amendment in 1913.  Tariffs are still used today but to a lesser degree than what they were used in the past.

Collecting a tariff is relatively simple. When a ship enters port before they unload, they must pay a tariffs on the goods being unloaded.  If they don’t pay, they can’t unload.  Very simple and efficient.

A Protective Tariff is another matter all together.  These tariffs are set up to prevent cheap overseas products from flooding the market thus damaging the national economy.  These tariffs are very political in nature and using them has always ignited intensive debate.

An Excise Tax is an indirect tax or an event tax.  Examples of this are gasoline taxes, cigarette taxes, or alcohol taxes.  Also, title transfer taxes, luxury taxes and inheritance taxes are also considered Excise Taxes.

The first Income Tax was imposed during the Civil War to help pay for the cost of the war.  This was the Revenue Act Act of 1861 followed by the Revenue Act of 1862.  This leveled the first Income tax.  These acts were repealed in 1872.

In 1894, Income Tax was re established as part of the 1894 Tariff Act.

In 1895, the Supreme Court in ‘Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Co.’ stated that the Income Tax was a direct tax and therefore impracticable and unconstitutional as currently collected.  Due to this the Federal Government stopped collecting income taxes until the ratification of the 16th Amendment in 1913.

Now, if the RTP wants to maintain the government, how do they propose to do this?  Protective tariffs cannot be utilized because they violate several trade agreements.  NAFTA and GATT come to mind here plus there are several others.

What about Poll Taxes?  They were declared unconstitutional in 1964 with the 24th Amendment.  What else does that leave?

It’s simple.  It leaves excise taxes.  They will have to significantly increase the amount of excise taxes to adequately  compensate for lost revenues and this will really damage our fragile economy.

The last tax that they could use is used virtually world wide but not in the United States.  That is the Value Added Tax (VAT).  The VAT is a consumption tax that is based on the estimated market value of a product at each level of production or distribution.

I don’t really think that the RTP would go for this because it is is similar to the flat tax proposal that gets floated around from time to time.  Recent proponents are Mike Huckabee and Steve Forbes. There are no loopholes and the rich would not be able to avail themselves to any tax breaks.  Anything you buy will have a VAT applied.  No exceptions.

Once again, think hard before you cast your vote.  If these people get into power our very way of life will be altered for a very very long time.  Our future depends on sanity not insanity.  Please think about this.  Future generations are depending on you to make the right choice.  We must go forward!




Constitutional Amendments That The Republican-Tea Party Want To Abolish Or Alter Part I

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I realize that the election is in two days and no matter what I write will make no difference, but I thought that I would compose some essays in three parts compiling what Constitutional Amendments the Republican-Tea Party wants to alter or abolish.

First I will list the particular amendment and then I will break it down section by section and we will examine what exactly they want to do.

Article XIV

1: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.   No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

2: Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State. affects 2

3: No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

4: The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

5: The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Let’s take a look at Section 1.  It reads:  All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Basically what this section is stating is that everyone born in the United States are natural born citizens of the Untied States and are are subject to the laws of the United States.  It also states that the States do not have the right to deny any citizens the rights that they are entitled to.

This is the main section of this amendment that the RTP (Republican-Tea Party) objects to.  They believe that many people come to the US to have babies, thus making the new babies citizens.  They call them “Anchor Babies.”

What they want to do is to alter this section  so that babies born of foreign nationals are not guaranteed citizenship.

Here lies the problem .  If you deny citizenship status to children whose parents are undocumented foreign nationals, what guarantees are there that citizenship status of other natural born Americans will not be removed?

Seriously think about this for a moment.  Any group could be targeted.  African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Irish-Americans, etcetera.   You get the idea.

Why stop at ethnic groups?   Religions could be the next target.  Why not strip citizenship from Muslims?  How about Mormons or Buddhists?  Take it to another group, Roman Catholics!  Yes, Catholics, we know that they’ve been persecuted before and not that long ago.

To alter or abolish this section, you are traveling down a slippery slope  that you may not be able to stop.  This could be just the beginning.

Here is Section 2.  Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Basically this section is referring to representation in Congress.  Prior to the end of the Civil War, slaves were not counted in federal census as a whole person.  They were counted as three fifths of a person for determining the number of representatives for each state.  This was a compromise between free states and slave states when the Constitution was written.

The other part deals with the right to vote which was denied to persons who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War.  This is also the section that states use to deny the right to vote to convicted felons.  As far as I know, the RTP does not object to this section.

Now for Section 3.  No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

This section simply states that no one can hold public office either in the Federal or State governments or the military who had previously served in the Confederate Government or military during the Civil War.  This provision was not enforced as there were several members of the US Army who were former  Confederate soldiers fighting in the Indian Wars after the Civil War.

This section also prohibits anyone from holding office who has given aid and comfort to the enemy in wars following the Civil War.  The RTP does not oppose this section either.

Now for Section 4.  The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

This section is a Civil War era section about the Federal Government promising to pay debts and pensions incurred during the war.  It also is declaring null and void all pensions and debts of the former Confederacy.   This has no bearing on today’s political debate.

Now for Section 5.  The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

This is merely the enforcement clause.

People need to think what they are voting for this November 2nd.  If the RTP gets their way and tries to alter or abolish this particular amendment, no one’s citizenship rights are guaranteed.  We will no longer be citizens, but subjects.  We will be subject to the will and desires of whomever happens to be in power.  Think about this before you vote.  This election will determine the course that the United States will go.  Please vote responsibly!

Why Can’t We Live In Peace???


Everybody remembers what happened on September 11, 2001. This of course was the day that the World Trade Center in New York City was attacked.

Later it was discovered that this was a terrorist operation funded by and carried out by Islamic extremists.  It was then that the anti-Islamic biases began in the United States, or at least that is the popular assumption.

Let me take you back to an earlier time.  The date was November 4, 1979.  I was a freshman at Western Michigan University and this was the date that the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran was overrun and sixty-six persons were taken hostage for 444 days.

My university had a large population of students from the Middle East; some of them were very close friends of mine and this event shocked and upset them greatly.

My best friend Mohammad from Saudi Arabia was studying to be a doctor and he was appalled by the violence of the entire situation.

After the initial shock of the events unfurling life returned to some sort of normalcy on campus with the exception of several hate crimes committed against Muslim students.

What shocked me the most was that “Christian” students didn’t seem outraged by this.  Most of them has an “oh well” attitude.  I was really concerned for the safety of my friends.  Most of them walked to class in packs for safety reasons.

I remember driving my car though campus one early winter day.  There was this woman, dressed in black from head to toe trying to walk, but she was being pelted by rocks from other students.

I stopped my car to let her in and she refused to enter.  I had to get out of the car and push her into the passenger side.

She said to me, “Don’t you hate me because I’m Iranian?” I told her that I don’t hate anyone even if I dislike your government, I cannot hate, it’s not in my character.  After that exchange we drove off to a safer location where I dropped her off.

The hatred for Muslims continued well past the Iranian Hostage Crisis right up to the present day.

Even on October 6, 1981 when President Anwar El-Sadat was murdered by his own military few Americans even shed a tear.  I was devastated.  This man in my view was the last great hope for peace in a region that has never seen peace.

Now in the 21st Century many Americans hate Muslims just for being Muslim.  They don’t bother to look at the person, only the religion.  This is so sad.

Many Americans look at a Muslim and they see a terrorist.  When I see a Muslim, I think of a very dear friend of mine who lives in Egypt.  She is studying to be a lawyer.

When I look at her face or look at those big beautiful brown eyes of hers, I see that the future has hope.  There is no way in the world that I could possibly hate this person just because she follows the Islamic faith.  After all, we all worship the same God, just in different ways.

Don’t forget, many Muslims look at the Christian Crusaders as terrorists too.  Maybe the time has come for all humanity to realize that in many ways we are all the same.  All of us are God’s children.  Why can’t we live in peace!


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1815: The first great wave of immigration begins, bringing 5 million immigrants between 1815 and 1860.

1818: Liverpool becomes the most-used port of departure for Irish and British immigrants.

1819: The first federal legislation on immigration requires notation of passenger lists.

1820: The U.S. population is about 9.6 million. About 151,000 new immigrants arrive in 1820 alone.

1825: Great Britain decrees that England is overpopulated and repeals laws prohibiting emigration. The first group of Norwegian immigrants arrive.

1846-7: Crop failures in Europe. Mortgage foreclosures send tens of thousands of the dispossessed to United States.

1846: Irish of all classes emigrate to the United States as a result of the potato famine.

1848: German political refugees emigrate following the failure of a revolution.

1862: The Homestead Act encourages naturalization by granting citizens title to 160 acres.

1875: First limitations on immigration. Residency permits required of Asians.

1880: The U.S. population is 50,155,783. More than 5.2 million immigrants enter the country between 1880 and 1890.

1882: Chinese exclusion law is established. Russian anti-Semitism prompts a sharp rise in Jewish emigration.

1890: New York is home to as many Germans as Hamburg, Germany.

1891: The Bureau of Immigration is established. Congress adds health qualifications to immigration restrictions.

1892: Ellis Island replaces Castle Garden.

1894-6: To escape Moslem massacres, Armenian Christians emigrate.

1897: Pine-frame buildings on Ellis Island are burned to the ground in a disastrous fire.

1900: The U.S. population is 75,994,575. More than 3,687,000 immigrants were admitted in the previous ten years. Ellis Island receiving station reopens with brick and ironwork structures.

1906: Bureau of Immigration is established.

1910: The Mexican Revolution sends thousands to the United States seeking employment.

1914-8: World War I halts a period of mass migration to the United States.

1921: The first quantitave immigration law sets temporary annual quotas according to nationality. Immigration drops off.

1924: The National Origins Act establishes a discriminatory quota system. The Border Patrol is established.

1940: The Alien Registration Act calls for registration and fingerprinting of all aliens. Approximately 5 million aliens register.

1946: The War Brides Act facilitates the immigration of foreign-born wives, fiances, husbands, and children of U.S. Armed Forces personnel.

1952: The Immigration and Naturalization Act brings into one comprehensive statute the multiple laws that govern immigration and naturalization to date.

1954: Ellis Island closes, marking an end to mass immigration.

Distribution of Immigrants Before 1790:

Africa: 360,000

England: 230,000

Ulster: 135,000

Germany: 103,000

Scotland: 48,500

Ireland: 8,000

Netherlands: 6,000

Wales: 4,000

France: 3,000

Jews: 2,000

Sweden: 500

1790 U.S. Ancestry Groups:

English: 1,900,000

African: 750,000

Scotch-Irish: 320,000

German: 280,000

Irish: 200,000

Scottish: 160,000

Welsh: 120,000

Dutch: 100,000

French: 80,000

Native Am. : 50,000

Spanish: 20,000

Swedish and other 20,000

Who Was Shut Out?: Immigration Quotas, 1925–1927

In response to growing public opinion against the flow of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe in the years following World War I, Congress passed first the Quota Act of 1921 then the even more restrictive Immigration Act of 1924 (the Johnson-Reed Act). Initially, the 1924 law imposed a total quota on immigration of 165,000—less than 20 percent of the pre-World War I average. It based ceilings on the number of immigrants from any particular nation on the percentage of each nationality recorded in the 1890 census—a blatant effort to limit immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe, which mostly occurred after that date. In the first decade of the 20th century, an average of 200,000 Italians had entered the United States each year. With the 1924 Act, the annual quota for Italians was set at less than 4,000.

Immigration Laws Are Racist, Here’s Proof!

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Landmarks in Immigration History

1795- Naturalization Act restricts citizenship to “free white persons” who reside in the United States for five years and renounce their allegiance to their former country.

1798- The Alien and Sedition Acts permit the President to deport any foreigner deemed to be dangerous. A revised Naturalization Act imposes a 14-year residency requirement for prospective citizens.

1802- Congress reduce the residency requirement for citizenship to five years.

1808- The importation of slaves into the United States is prohibited.

1831- Pennsylvania permits bilingual instruction in English and German in its public schools.

1840s- Irish Potato Famine; crop failures in Germany; the onset of industrialization; and failed European revolutions begin a period of mass immigration.

1848- Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, concluding the Mexican War, extends citizenship to approximately 80,000 Mexican residents of the Southwest.

1849- California Gold Rush spurs immigration from China.

1850s- Know Nothing political party unsuccessfully seeks to increase restrictions on naturalization.

1854- Chinese immigrants are prohibited from testifying against whites in California courts.

1870- Naturalization Act limits American citizenship to “white persons and persons of African descent,” barring Asians from U.S. citizenship.

1882- Chinese Exclusion Act restricts Chinese immigration.

Immigration Act of levies a tax of 50 cents per immigrant and makes several categories of immigrants ineligible to enter the United States, including “lunatics” and people likely to become public charges.

1885- Alien Contract Labor Law bars prohibited any company or individual from bringing foreigners into the United States under contract to perform labor here. The only exceptions are those who were brought to do domestic service and skilled workmen who should be needed here to help establish some new trade or industry.

1891- Congress makes polygamists, “persons suffering from a loathsome or a dangerous contagious disease,” and those convicted of “a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude” ineligible for immigration. The act establishes the Bureau of Immigration within the Treasury Department.

1892- Ellis Island opens; serves as processing center for 12 million immigrants over the next 30 years.

1901- After President William McKinley is assassinated by a Polish anarchist, Congress enacts the Anarchist Exclusion Act, which allows immigrants to be excluded on the basis of their political opinions.

1907- Expatriation Act declares that an American woman who marries a foreign national loses her citizenship.

Under the Gentleman’s Agreement with Japan, the United States agrees not to restrict Japanese immigration in exchange for Japan’s promise not to issue passports to Japanese laborers for travel to the continental United States. Japanese laborer are permitted to go to Hawaii, but are barred by executive order from migrating from Hawaii to the mainland.

1913- California’s Alien Land Law prohibits “aliens ineligible for citizenship” (Chinese and Japanese) from owning property in the state. It provides the model for Similar acts in other states.

1917- Congress enacts a literacy requirement for immigrants over President Woodrow Wilson’s veto. The law requires immigrants to be able to read 40 words in some language. The law also specifies that immigration is prohibited from Asia, except from Japan and the Philippines.

1921- Quota Act limits annual European immigration to 3 percent of the number of a nationality group in the United States in 1910.

1922- Cable Act partially repeals the Expatriation Act, but declares that an American woman who marries an Asian still loses her citizenship.

1923- In the landmark case of United States v. Bhaghat Singh Thind, the Supreme Court rules that Indians from the Asian subcontinent could not become naturalized U.S. citizens.

1924- The Johnson-Reed Act limits annual European immigration to 2 percent of the number of nationality group in the United States in 1890.

Oriental Exclusion Act prohibits most immigration from Asia, including foreign-born wives and children of U.S. citizens of Chinese ancestry.

1934- The Tydings-McDuffie Act, which provided for independence for the Philippines on July 4, 1946, strips Filipinos of their status as U.S. nationals and severely restricted Filipino immigration by establishing an annual immigration quota of 50.

1940- The Alien Registration Act requires the registration and fingerprinting of all aliens in the United States over the age of 14. The act classifies Korean immigrants as subjects of Japan.

1942- Filipinos are reclassified as U.S. citizens, making it possible for them to register for the military.

Executive Order 9066 authorizes the military to evacuate 112,000 Japanese Americans from the Pacific coast and placed them in ten internment camps.

1943- The Chinese Exclusion Act is repealed. By the end of the 1940s, all restrictions on Asians acquiring U.S. citizenship are abolished.

Congress creates the Bracero Program a guest worker program bringing temporary agricultural workers into the United States from Mexico. The program ended in 1964.

1944- In the case of United States v. Korematsu, the Supreme Court upholds the internment of Japanese Americans as constitutional.

1945- The War Brides Act allows foreign-born wives of U.S. citizens who had served in the U.S. armed forces to enter the United States.

1946- Fiancés of American soldiers were allowed to enter the United States.

The Luce-Cellar Act extends the right to become naturalized citizens to Filipinos and Asian Indians. The immigration quota is 100 people a year.

1948- The Displaced Persons Act permits Europeans displaced by the war to enter the United States outside of immigration quotas.

1950- The Internal Security Act, passed over President Harry Truman’s veto, bars admission to any foreigner who is a Communist or who might engage in activities “which would be prejudicial to the public interest, or would endanger the welfare or safety of the United States.”

1952- McCarran Walter Immigration Act, passed over President Harry Truman’s veto, affirms the national-origins quota system of 1924 and limits total annual immigration to one-sixth of one percent of the population of the continental United States in 1920. The act exempts spouses and children of U.S. citizens and people born in the Western Hemisphere from the quota.

1953- Refugee Relief Act extends refugee status to non-Europeans.

1954- Operation Wetback forces the return of undocumented workers to Mexico.

1965- Immigration and Nationality Act repeals the national origins quota system and gives priority to family reunification.

1980- Refugee Act, enacted in response to the boat people fleeing Vietnam, grants asylum to politically oppressed refugees.

1986- The Immigration Reform and Control Act gives amnesty to approximately three million undocumented residents and provides punishments for employers who hire undocumented workers.

1988- The Redress Act provides $20,000 compensation to survivors of the World War II internment of Japanese and Japanese Americans.

1990- The Immigration Act of 1990 increases the number of immigrants allowed into the United States each year to 700,000.

1995- California voters enact Proposition 187, later declared unconstitutional, which prohibits providing of public educational, welfare, and health services to undocumented aliens.

1996- The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act strengthens border enforcement and makes it more difficult to gain asylum. The law establishes income requirements for sponsors of legal immigrants.

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, Congress makes citizenship a condition of eligibility for public benefits for most immigrants.

1997- Congress restores benefits for some elderly and indigent immigrants who had previously received them.

1998- The Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act and the the Noncitizen Benefit Clarification and Other Technical Amendments Act restore additional public benefits to some immigrants.

The American Competitiveness and Work force Improvement Act increases the number of skilled temporary foreign workers U.S. employers are allowed to bring into the country.

Modern American Liberalism

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Modern American liberalism is a form of social liberalism developed from progressive ideals such as Theodore Roosevelt’s New Nationalism,Woodrow Wilson’s New Freedom, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier, and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. It combines social liberalism and social progressivism with support for a welfare state and a mixed economy. American liberal causes include voting rights for African Americans, abortion rights for women, and government entitlements such as education and health care.

Keynesian economic theory played a central role in the economic philosophy of American liberals. The argument was that national prosperity required government management of the macroeconomy, to keep unemployment low, inflation in check, and growth high John F. Kennedy defined a liberal as follows:

“ …someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a ‘Liberal’, then I’m proud to say I’m a ‘Liberal’. ”

Most American liberals support a mixed economy because they fear the extremes of wealth and poverty under unrestrained capitalism; they point to the widespread prosperity enjoyed under a mixed economy in the years since World War II. They believe that all citizens are entitled to the basic necessities of life and they champion the protection of the environment. Modern American liberalism is typically associated with the Democratic Party.

Today the word “liberalism” is used differently in different countries. One of the greatest contrasts is between the usage in the United States and usage in Continental Europe. According to Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. (writing in 1956), “Liberalism in the American usage has little in common with the word as used in the politics of any European country, save possibly Britain.” In continental Europe, liberalism usually means what is sometimes called classical liberalism, a commitment to limited government and laissez-faire economics, and more closely corresponds to the American definition of libertarianism—itself a term which in Europe is instead often applied to left-libertarianism.

In late 20th century and early 21st century political discourse in the United States, the term liberalism has come to mean support for freedom of speech, freedom of religion, reproductive rights for women, equal rights for minorities such as Blacks, women, Hispanics, gays and lesbians, multilateralism and support for international institutions, and support for individual rights over corporate interests. All but the last of these are shared by British and other European liberals. American liberals support a role for government in the relief of poverty, universal healthcare, universal education, organized labor, and protection of the environment, and support payment for these services by a progressive income tax. In continental Europe, these positions would be described as Social democracy.

Scholar of liberalism Arthur Schlesinger Jr., writing in 1956, said that liberalism in the United States includes both a “laissez-faire” form and a “government intervention” form. He holds that liberalism in the United States is aimed toward achieving “equality of opportunity for all” but it is the means of achieving this that changes depending on the circumstances. He says that the “process of redefining liberalism in terms of the social needs of the 20th century was conducted by Theodore Roosevelt and his New Nationalism, Woodrow Wilson and his New Freedom, and Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal. Out of these three reform periods there emerged the conception of a social welfare state, in which the national government had the express obligation to maintain high levels of employment in the economy, to supervise standards of life and labor, to regulate the methods of business competition, and to establish comprehensive patterns of social security.”

Some make the distinction between “American classical liberalism” and the “new liberalism.”

Rossinow (2008) traces the history of the close relations between liberals and the Left, starting in the 1880s, peaking in the 1930s, and ending in the 1940s. In the 1880s intellectual reformers typified by sociologist Lester Frank Ward transformed Victorian liberalism, retaining its commitment to civil liberties and individual rights while casting off its advocacy of laissez-faire economics. They at times supported the growing working-class labor unions, and sometimes even the socialists to their left. These liberals rallied behind Theodore Roosevelt, Robert LaFollette and Woodrow Wilson to fight big trusts (big corporations). They stressed ideals of social justice and the use of government to solve social and economic problems. Women such as Jane Addams and Florence Kelleywere among the leaders of the left-liberal tradition. There was a tension between sympathy with labor unions and the goal to apply scientific expertise by disinterested experts. When liberals became anti-Communist in the 1940s they purged leftists from the liberal movement.

Sociologist Lester Frank Ward (1841–1913) was a key intellectual and the first to effectively combine classical liberal theory with progressivism to help define what would become the modern welfare state after 1933.

Political writer Herbert Croly (1869–1930) helped to define the new liberalism through the New Republic magazine (1914–present), and numerous influential books. Croly presented the case for a planned economy, increased spending on education, and the creation of a society based on the “brotherhood of mankind.” His highly influential 1909 book The Promise of American Life proposed to raise the general standard of living by means of economic planning; Croly opposed aggressive unionization. In The Techniques of Democracy (1915) he argued against both dogmatic individualism and dogmatic socialism.

The New Deal

President Franklin D. Roosevelt came to office in 1933 amid the economic calamity of the Great Depression, offering the nation a New Deal intended to alleviate economic desperation and joblessness, provide greater opportunities, and restore prosperity. His presidency from 1933 to 1945, the longest in US history, was marked by an increased role for the federal government in addressing the nation’s economic and social problems. Work relief programs provided jobs, ambitious projects such as the Tennessee Valley Authority were created to promote economic development, and a social security system was established. The Great Depression dragged on through the early and middle 1930s, showing some signs of relief later in the decade, though full recovery didn’t come until the total mobilization of US economic, social, and military resources for the Allied cause in World War II. The New Deal programs to relieve the Depression are generally regarded as a mixed success in ending the nation’s economic problems on a macroeconomic level. Still, although fundamental economic indicators may have remained depressed, the programs of the New Deal were extremely popular, as they improved the life of the common citizen, by providing jobs for the unemployed, legal protection for labor unionists, modern utilities for rural America, living wages for the working poor, and price stability for the family farmer. Economic progress for minorities, however, was hindered by discrimination, an issue often avoided by Roosevelt’s administration.

The New Deal consisted of three types of programs designed to produce “Relief, Recovery and Reform”: Relief was the immediate effort to help the one-third of the population that was hardest hit by the depression. Roosevelt expanded Hoover’s FERA work relief program, and added the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), Public Works Administration (PWA), and starting in 1935 the Works Progress Administration (WPA). In 1935 the Social Security Act (SSA) and unemployment insurance programs were added. Separate programs were set up for relief in rural America, such as the Resettlement Administration andFarm Security Administration.

Recovery was the goal of restoring the economy to pre-Depression levels. It involved “pump priming” (greater spending of government funds in an effort to stimulate the economy, including deficit spending), dropping the gold standard, and efforts to increase farm prices and foreign trade by lowering tariffs. Many programs were funded through a Hoover program of loans and loan guarantees, overseen by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC).

Reform was based on the assumption that the depression was caused by the inherent instability of the market and that government intervention was necessary to rationalize and stabilize the economy, and to balance the interests of farmers, business and labor. Reform measures included the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), regulation of Wall Street by the Securities Exchange Act (SEA), the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) for farm programs, theFederal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance for bank deposits enacted through the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, and the 1935 National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) (also known as the Wagner Act) dealing with labor-management relations. Despite urgings by some New Dealers, there was no major anti-trust program. Roosevelt opposed socialism (in the sense of state ownership of the means of production), and only one major program, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), involved government ownership of the means of production (that is power plants and electrical grids). The conservatives feared the New Deal meant socialism; Roosevelt noted privately in 1934 that the “old line press harps increasingly on state socialism and demands the return to the good old days.”

Foreign Affairs

In international affairs, Roosevelt’s presidency until 1938 reflected the isolationism that dominated practically all of American politics at the time. After 1938 he moved toward interventionism as the world hurtled toward warAnticipating the post-war period, Roosevelt strongly supported proposals to create a United Nations organization as a means of encouraging mutual cooperation to solve problems on the international stage. His commitment to internationalist ideals was in the tradition of Woodrow Wilson, except that FDR learned from Wilson’s mistakes regarding the League of Nations; FDR included Republicans in shaping foreign policy, and insisted the U.S. have a veto at the UN.

Embedded Liberalism

The term embedded liberalism, credited to John Ruggie, refers not to a political philosophy but rather to the economic system which dominated worldwide from the end of World War II to the 1970s. This is the economic system liberals were responding to at the inception of modern liberalism.

Liberalism During the Cold War

American liberalism of the Cold War era was the immediate heir to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal and the somewhat more distant heir to the Progressives of the early 20th century. Rossinow (2008) argues that after 1945 the left-liberal alliance that operated during the New Deal years split apart for good over the issue of Communism. Anti-communist liberals, led by Walter Reuther and Hubert Humphrey expelled the far-left from labor unions and the New Deal Coalition, and committed the Democratic Party to a strong Cold War policy typified by NATO and the containment of Communism. Liberals became committed to a quantitative goal of economic growth that accepted large near-monopolies such as General Motors and ATT, while rejecting the structural transformation dreamed of by earlier left-liberals. The far left had its last hurrah in Henry A. Wallace’s 1948 third-party presidential campaign. Wallace supported further New Deal reforms and opposed the Cold War, but his campaign was taken over by the far left and Wallace retired from politics in disgust.

Most prominent and constant among the positions of Cold War liberalism were:
Support for a domestic economy built on a balance of power between labor (in the form of organized unions) and management (with a tendency to be more interested in large corporations than in small business).
A foreign policy focused on containing the Soviet Union and its allies.
The continuation and expansion of New Deal social welfare programs (in the broad sense of welfare, including programs such as Social Security).
An embrace of Keynesian economics. By way of compromise with political groupings to their right, this often became, in practice, military Keynesianism.

In some ways this resembled what in other countries was referred to as social democracy. However, unlike European social democrats, US liberals never widely endorsed nationalizationof industry but favored regulation for public benefit.

In the 1950s and 1960s, both major US political parties included liberal and conservative factions. The Democratic Party had two wings: on the one hand, Northern and Western liberals, on the other generally conservative Southern whites. Difficult to classify were the northern big city Democratic “political machines”. The urban machines had supported New Deal economic policies, but faded with the coming of prosperity and the assimilation of ethnic groups; nearly all collapsed by the 1960s in the face of racial violence in the cities

The Republican Party included the moderate to-liberal Wall Street and the moderate-to-conservative Main Street. The more liberal wing, strongest in the Northeast, was far more supportive of New Deal programs, labor unions, and an internationalist foreign policy.

In the late 1940s, liberals generally did not see Harry S. Truman as one of their own, viewing him as a Democratic Party hack. However, liberal politicians and liberal organizations such as the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) sided with Truman in opposing Communism both at home and abroad, sometimes at the expense of civil liberties. For example, ADA co-founder and archetypal Cold War liberal Hubert Humphrey unsuccessfully sponsored (in 1950) a Senate bill to establish detention centers where those declared subversive by the President could be held without trial.

Nonetheless, liberals opposed McCarthyism and were central to McCarthy’s downfall.

Combating conservatism was not high on the liberal agenda, for by 1950, the liberal ideology was so intellectually dominant that the literary critic Lionel Trilling could note that “liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition… there are no conservative or reactionary ideas in circulation.”

The Liberal Coalition

Politically, starting in the late 1940s there was a powerful labor-liberal coalition with strong grassroots support, energetic well-funded organizations, and a cadre of supporters in Congress. On labor side was the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), which merged into the AFL-CIO in 1955, the United Auto Workers (UAW), union lobbyists, and the Committee on Political Education’s (COPE), which organized turnout campaigns and publicity at elections. Walter Reuther of the UAW was the leader of liberalism in the labor movement, and his autoworkers generously funded the cause

The main liberal organizations, out of hundreds, included the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the American Jewish Congress (AJC), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the National Committee for an Effective Congress (NCEC), and the Americans for Democratic Action(ADA). Key allies in Congress included Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, Paul Douglas of Illinois, Henry Jackson of Washington, Walter Mondale of Minnesota, and Claude Pepper of Florida in the Senate Leaders in the House included Representatives Frank Thompson of New Jersey, Richard Bolling of Missouri, and other members of the Democratic Study Group. Although for years they had largely been frustrated by the Conservative Coalition, the liberal coalition suddenly came to power in 1963 and were ready with proposals that became central to the Great Society

Great Society: 1964-68

The climax of liberalism came in the mid-1960s with the success of President Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-69) in securing congressional passage of his Great Society programs, including civil rights, the end of segregation, Medicare, extension of welfare, federal aid to education at all levels, subsidies for the arts and humanities, environmental activism, and a series of programs designed to wipe out poverty. As recent historians have explained:

“Gradually, liberal intellectuals crafted a new vision for achieving economic and social justice. The liberalism of the early 1960s contained no hint of radicalism, little disposition to revive new deal era crusades against concentrated economic power, and no intention to fan class passions or redistribute wealth or restructure existing institutions. Internationally it was strongly anti-Communist. It aimed to defend the free world, to encourage economic growth at home, and to ensure that the resulting plenty was fairly distributed. Their agenda-much influenced by Keynesian economic theory-envisioned massive public expenditure that would speed economic growth, thus providing the public resources to fund larger welfare, housing, health, and educational programs.”

Johnson was rewarded with an electoral landslide in 1964 against conservative Barry Goldwater, which broke the decades-long control of Congress by the Conservative coalition. But the Republicans bounced back in 1966, and as the Democratic party splintered five ways, Republicans elected Richard Nixon in 1968. Nixon largely continued the New Deal and Great Society programs he inherited; conservative reaction would come with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Liberals and Civil Rights

Cold War liberalism emerged at a time when most African Americans, especially in the South, were politically and economically disenfranchised. Beginning with To Secure These Rights, an official report issued by the Truman White House in 1947, self-proclaimed liberals increasingly embraced the civil rights movement. In 1948, President Truman desegregated the armed forces and the Democrats inserted a strong civil rights “plank” (provision) in the Democratic party platform. Black activists, most prominently Martin Luther King, escalated the bearer agitation throughout the South, especially in Birmingham, Alabama, were brutal police tactics outraged national television audiences. The civil rights movement climaxed in the “March on Washington” in August, 1963, where King gave his dramatic “I Have a Dream” speech. The activism put civil rights at the very top of the liberal political agenda and facilitated passage of the decisive Civil Rights Act of 1964, which permanently ended segregation in the United States, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which guaranteed blacks the right to vote, with strong enforcement provisions throughout the South handled by the federal Department of Justice.

During the mid 1960s, relations between white liberals and the civil rights movement became increasingly strained; civil rights leaders accused liberal politicians of temporizing and procrastinating. Although President Kennedy sent federal troops to compel the University of Mississippi to admit African American James Meredith in 1962, and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. toned down the March on Washington (1963) at Kennedy’s behest, the failure to seat the delegates of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party at the 1964 Democratic National Convention indicated a growing rift. President Johnson could not understand why the rather impressive civil rights laws passed under his leadership had failed to immunize Northern and Western cities from rioting. At the same time, the civil rights movement itself was becoming fractured. By 1966, a Black Power movement had emerged; Black Power advocates accused white liberals of trying to control the civil rights agenda. Proponents of Black Power wanted African-Americans to follow an “ethnic model” for obtaining power[citation needed], not unlike that of Democratic political machines in large cities. This put them on a collision course with urban machine politicians. And, on its most extreme edges, the Black Power movement contained racial separatists who wanted to give up on integration altogether — a program that could not be endorsed by American liberals of any race. The mere existence of such individuals (who always got more media attention than their actual numbers might have warranted) contributed to “white backlash” against liberals and civil rights activists.

Paleoliberalism and Neoconservatives

According to Michael Lind, in the late 1960s and early 1970s many “anti-Soviet, pro-Israel liberals and social democrats, especially those around Commentary magazine as well as supporters of Senator Henry (“Scoop”) Jackson helped found the neoconservative movement. Many joined the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, and attacked liberalism vocally in the media and scholarly outlets.

Liberals and Vietnam

While the civil rights movement isolated liberals from their erstwhile allies, the Vietnam War threw a wedge into the liberal ranks, dividing pro-war “hawks” such as Senator Henry M. Jackson from “doves” such as 1972 Presidential candidate Senator George McGovern. As the war became the leading political issue of the day, agreement on domestic matters was not enough to hold the liberal consensus together.

In the 1960 presidential campaign, Kennedy was liberal in domestic policy but conservative on foreign policy, calling for a more aggressive stance against Communism than his opponent Richard Nixon.

Opposition to the war emerged from the New Left, primarily a student movement that distrusted both liberals and conservatives. By 1967, however, there was growing opposition from within liberal ranks, led in 1968 by Senators Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy. After Democratic President Lyndon Johnson announced, in March of 1968, that he would not run for reelection, Kennedy and McCarthy fought each other for the nomination, with Kennedy besting McCarthy in a series of Democratic primaries. Then assassination removed Kennedy from the race and Vice President Hubert Humphrey emerged from the disastrous 1968 Democratic National Convention with the presidential nomination of a deeply divided party. Meanwhile Alabama governorGeorge Wallace announced his third-party run, and he pulled in many working class whites in the rural South and big city North, most of whom had been staunch Democrats. Liberals, led by the labor unions, focused their attacks on Wallace, while Richard Nixon led a unified Republican Party to victory.


The chaos of 1968, a bitterly divided Democratic Party, and bad blood between the new Left and the liberals, gave Nixon the presidency. Nixon rhetorically attacked liberals, but in practice he enacted many liberal policies and represented the more liberal wing of the GOP. Nixon established of the Environmental Protection Agency by executive order, expanded the national endowments for the arts and the humanities, began affirmative action policies, opened diplomatic relations with Communist China, starting the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks to reduce ballistic missile availability, and turned the war over to South Vietnam. he withdrew all American combat troops by 1972, signed a peace treaty in 1973, and ended the draft.Regardless of his policies, liberals hated Nixon and rejoiced when the Watergate scandal forced his resignation in 1974.

While the differences between Nixon and the liberals are obvious – the liberal wing of his own party favored politicians such as Nelson Rockefeller and William Scranton, and Nixon overtly placed an emphasis on “law and order” over civil liberties, and Nixon’s Enemies List was composed largely of liberals – in some ways the continuity of many of Nixon’s policies with those of the Kennedy-Johnson years is more remarkable than the differences. Pointing at this continuity, New Left leader Noam Chomsky (himself on Nixon’s enemies list) has called Nixon, “in many respects the last liberal president.”

Although liberals turned increasingly against the Vietnam War, to the point of running the very dovish George McGovern for president in 1972, the war had, as noted above, been of largely liberal origin. Similarly, while many liberals condemned actions such as the Nixon administrations support for the 1973 Chilean coup, it was not entirely dissimilar to the Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961 or the marine landing in the Dominican Republic in 1965.

The political dominance of the liberal consensus even into the Nixon years can best be seen in policies such as the successful establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency or his failed proposal to replace the welfare system with a guaranteed annual income by way of a negative income tax. Affirmative action in its most quota-oriented form was a Nixon administration policy. Even the Nixon “War on Drugs” allocated two-thirds of its funds for treatment, a far higher ratio than was to be the case under any subsequent President, Republican or Democrat. Additionally, Nixon’s normalization of diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China and his policy of détente with the Soviet Union were probably more popular with liberals than with his conservative base.

An opposing view, offered by Cass R. Sunstein, in The Second Bill of Rights (Basic Books, 2004, ISBN 0-465-08332-3) argues that Nixon, through his Supreme Court appointments, effectively ended a decades-long expansion of economic rights along the lines of those put forward in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly.

Labor Unions

Labor union were central components of liberalism, operating through the New Deal Coalition. The unions gave strong support to the Vietnam War, thereby breaking with the blacks and with the intellectual and student wings of liberalism. From time to time dissident groups such as Progressive Alliance, the Citizen-Labor Energy Coalition, and the National Labor Committee broke from the dominant AFL-CIO, which they saw as too conservative. In 1995 the liberals managed to take control of the AFL-CIO, under the leadership of John Sweeney of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Union membership and power continued to decline, however. In 2005 the SEIU, now led by Andy Stern broke away from the AFL-CIO to form its own coalition, the Change to Win Federation, to support liberalism, including the Obama agenda, especially health care reform. Stern retired in 2010.


A new, unexpected political discourse emerged in the 1970s centered on the environment. The debates did not fall neatly into a left-right dimension, for everyone proclaimed their support for the environment. Environmentalism appealed to the well-educated middle class, but aroused fears among lumbermen, farmers, ranchers, blue collar workers, automobile companies and oil companies whose economic interests were threatened by new regulations. Conservatives therefore tended to oppose environmentalism while liberals endorsed new measures to protect the environment. Liberals supported the Wilderness Society and the Sierra Club, and were sometimes successful in blocking efforts by lumber companies and oil drillers to expand operations. Environmental legislation limited the use of DDT, reduced acid rain, and protected numerous animal and plant species. Within the environmental movement, there was a small radical element that favored direct action rather than legislation.By the 21st century debates over taking major action to reverse global warming were high on the agenda. The environmental movement in the United States has had much less influence than in Europe, where Green parties played a growing role in politics.

End of the Liberal Consensus

During the Nixon years (and through the 1970s), the liberal consensus began to come apart with the election of Ronald Reagan marking the election of the first non-Keynsian administration and the first application of supply-side economics. The alliance with white Southern Democrats had been lost in the Civil Rights era. While the steady enfranchisement of African Americans expanded the electorate to include many new voters sympathetic to liberal views, it was not quite enough to make up for the loss of some Southern Democrats. A tide of conservatism rose in response to perceived failures of liberal policies. Organized labor, long a bulwark of the liberal consensus, was past the peak of its power in the US and many unions had remained in favor of the Vietnam War even as liberal politicians increasingly turned against it.

In 1980 the leading liberal was Senator Ted Kennedy; he challenged incumbent President Jimmy Carter for the Democratic Party presidential nomination because Carter’s failures had disenchanted liberals. Kennedy was decisively defeated, and in turn Carter was defeated by Ronald Reagan.

Historian often use 1979-80 to date a philosophical realignment within the American electorate away from Democratic liberalism and toward Reagan Era conservatism. However, some liberals hold a minority view that there was no real shift and that Kennedy’s defeat was merely by historical accident caused by his poor campaign, international crises and Carter’s use of the incumbency.

Abrams (2006) argues that the eclipse of liberalism was caused by a grass-roots populist revolt, often with a Fundamentalist and anti-modern theme, abetted by corporations eager to weaken labor unions and the regulatory regime of the New Deal. The success of liberalism in the first place, he argues, came from efforts of a liberal elite that had entrenched itself in key social, political, and especially judicial positions. These elites, Abrams contends, imposed their brand of liberalism from within some of the least democratic and most insulated institutions, especially the universities, foundations, independent regulatory agencies, and the Supreme Court. With only a weak popular base, liberalism was vulnerable to a populist counterrevolution by the nation’s democratic or majoritarian forces.

Philosophy of Modern Liberalism

American liberals describe themselves as open to change and receptive to new ideas. For example, liberals typically accept scientific ideas that some conservatives reject, such as evolution and global warming.

In general liberalism is anti-socialist, when socialism means state ownership of the basic means of production and distribution, because American liberals doubt that bases for political opposition and freedom can survive when all power is vested in the state. In line with the general pragmatic, empirical basis of liberalism, American liberal philosophy embraces the idea that if substantial abundance and equality of opportunity can be achieved through a system of mixed enterprise, then there is no need for a rigid and oppressive bureaucracy. Some liberal public intellectuals have, since the 1950s, moved further toward the general position that markets, when appropriately regulated, can provide better solutions than top-down planning and central control. Paul Krugman argued that, in hitherto-state-dominated functions such as nation-scale energy distribution and telecommunications, marketizations can improve efficiency dramatically. He also defended a monetary policy — inflation targeting — as a solution to Japan’s economic slump by saying that it “most nearly approaches the usual goal of modern stabilization policy, which is to provide adequate demand in a clean, unobtrusive way that does not distort the allocation of resources.” (These distortions are of a kind that war-time and post-war Keynesian economists had accepted as an inevitable byproduct of fiscal policies that selectively reduced certain consumer taxes and directed spending toward government-managed stimulus projects—even where these economists theorized at a contentious distance from some of Keynes’s own, more hands-off, positions, which tended to emphasize stimulating of business investment.) Thomas Friedman is a liberal journalist who, like Paul Krugman, generally defends free trade as more likely to improve the lot of both rich and poor countries.

There is a fundamental split among liberals as to the role of the state. Historian H. W. Brands notes “the growth of the state is, by perhaps the most common definition, the essence of modern American liberalism.” But according to Paul Starr, “Liberal constitutions impose constraints on the power of any single public official or branch of government as well as the state as a whole.”

Conservative vs. Liberal Beliefs

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Conservative vs. Liberal Beliefs

Copyright 2005 (revised 2010)
We all want the same things in life. We want freedom; we want the chance for prosperity; we want as few people suffering as possible; we want healthy children; we want to have crime-free streets. The argument is how to achieve them…

LIBERALS – believe in government action to achieve equal opportunity and equality for all. It is the duty of the government to alleviate social ills and to protect civil liberties and individual and human rights. Believe the role of the government should be to guarantee that no one is in need.

Liberal policies generally emphasize the need for the government to solve problems.

CONSERVATIVES – believe in personal responsibility, limited government, free markets, individual liberty, traditional American values and a strong national defense. Believe the role of government should be to provide people the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals.

Conservative policies generally emphasize empowerment of the individual to solve problems.

NOTE: The terms “left” and “right” define opposite ends of the political spectrum. In the United States, liberals are referred to as the left or left-wing and conservatives are referred to as the right or right-wing. On the U.S. political map, blue represents the Democratic Party (which generally upholds liberal principles) and red represents the Republican party (which generally upholds conservative principles).




A woman has the right to decide what happens with her body. A fetus is not a human life, so it does not have separate individual rights.

The government should provide taxpayer funded abortions for women who cannot afford them.

The decision to have an abortion is a personal choice of a woman regarding her own body and the government must protect this right. Women have the right to affordable, safe and legal abortions, including partial birth abortion.


Human life begins at conception. Abortion is the murder of a human being. An unborn baby, as a living human being, has separate rights from those of the mother.

Oppose taxpayer-funded abortion. Taxpayer dollars should not be used for the government to provide abortions.

Support legislation to prohibit partial birth abortions, called the “Partial Birth Abortion* Ban”

(*Partial Birth Abortion: the killing of an unborn baby of at least 20 weeks by pulling it out of the birth canal with forceps, but leaving the head inside. An incision is made in the back of the baby’s neck and the brain tissue is suctioned out. The head is then removed from the uterus.)

Affirmative Action


Due to prevalent racism in the past, minorities were deprived of the same education and employment opportunities as whites. The government must work to make up for that.

America is still a racist society, therefore a federal affirmative action law is necessary. Due to unequal opportunity, minorities still lag behind whites in all statistical measurements of success.


Individuals should be admitted to schools and hired for jobs based on their ability. It is unfair to use race as a factor in the selection process. Reverse-discrimination is not a solution for racism.

Some individuals in society are racist, but American society as a whole is not. Preferential treatment of certain races through affirmative action is wrong.

Death Penalty


The death penalty should be abolished. It is inhumane and is ‘cruel and unusual’ punishment. Imprisonment is the appropriate punishment for murder. Every execution risks killing an innocent person.


The death penalty is a punishment that fits the crime of murder; it is neither ‘cruel’ nor ‘unusual.’ Executing a murderer is the appropriate punishment for taking an innocent life.



A market system in which government regulates the economy is best. Government must protect citizens from the greed of big business. Unlike the private sector, the government is motivated by public interest. Government regulation in all areas of the economy is needed to level the playing field.


The free market system, competitive capitalism, and private enterprise create the greatest opportunity and the highest standard of living for all. Free markets produce more economic growth, more jobs and higher standards of living than those systems burdened by excessive government regulation.

Education –

school vouchers & charter schools


Public schools are the best way to educate students. Vouchers take money away from public schools. Government should focus additional funds on existing public schools, raising teacher salaries and reducing class size.


School vouchers create competiton and therefore encourage schools to improve performance.

Vouchers will give all parents the right to choose good schools for their children, not just those who can afford private schools.

Embryonic Stem Cell Research


Support the use of embryonic stem cellsfor research.

It is necessary (and ethical) for the government to fund embryonic stem cell research, which will assist scientists in finding treatments and cures for diseases.

An embryo is not a human. The tiny blastocyst (embryos used in embryonic stem cell research) has no human features. Experimenting on embryos/embryonic stem cells is not murder.

Embryonic stem cells have the potential to cure chronic and degenerative diseases which current medicine has been unable to effectively treat.

Embryonic stem cells have been shown to be effective in treating heart damage in mice.


Support the use of adult and umbilical cord stem cells only for research.

It is morally and ethically wrong for the government to fund embryonic stem cell research.

Human life begins at conception. The extraction of stem cells from an embryo requires its destruction. In other words, it requires that a human life be killed.

Adult stem cells have already been used to treat spinal cord injuries, Leukemia, and even Parkinson’s disease. Adult stem cells are derived from umbilical cords, placentas, amniotic fluid, various tissues and organ systems like skin and the liver, and even fat obtained from liposuction.

Embryonic stem cells have not been successfully used to help cure disease.



Oil is a depleting resource. Other sources of energy must be explored. The government must produce a national plan for all energy resources and subsidize (partially pay for) alternative energy research and production.

Support increased exploration of alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power.

Support government control of gas and electric industries.


Oil, gas and coal are all good sources of energy and are abundant in the U.S. Oil drilling should be increased both on land and at sea. Increased domestic production creates lower prices and less dependence on other countries for oil.

Support increased production of nuclear energy. Wind and solar sources will never provide plentiful, affordable sources of power.

Support private ownership of gas and electric industries.

Euthanasia & Physician-assisted suicide


Euthanasia should be legalized. A person has a right to die with dignity, by his own choice. A terminally ill person should have the right to choose to end pain and suffering. It is wrong for the government to take away the means for a terminally ill person to hasten his death. It is wrong to force a person to go through so much pain and suffering.

Legalizing euthanasia would not lead to doctor-assisted suicides of non-critical patients.

Permitting euthanasia would reduce health care costs, which would then make funds available for those who could truly benefit from medical care.


Neither euthanasia nor physician-assisted suicide should be legalized. It is immoral and unethical to deliberately end the life of a terminally ill person (euthanasia), or enable another person to end their own life (assisted suicide). The goal should be compassionate care and easing the suffering of terminally ill people.

Legalizing euthanasia could lead to doctor-assisted suicides of non-critical patients.

If euthanasia were legalized, insurance companies could pressure doctors to withhold life-saving treatment for dying patients.

Many religions prohibit suicide and euthanasia. These practices devalue human life.

Global Warming/Climate Change


Global warming is caused by an increased production of carbon dioxide through the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas). The U.S. is a major contributor to global warming because it produces 25% of the world’s carbon dioxide.

Proposed laws to reduce carbon emissions in the U.S. are urgently needed and should be enacted immediately to save the planet.

Many reputable scientists support this theory.


Change in global temperature is natural over long periods of time. Science has not shown that humans can affect permanent change to the earth’s temperature.

Proposed laws to reduce carbon emissions will do nothing to help the environment and will cause significant price increases for all.

Many reputable scientists support this theory.

Gun Control


The Second Amendment does not give citizens the right to keep and bear arms, but only allows for the state to keep a militia (National Guard). Individuals do not need guns for protection; it is the role of local and federal government to protect the people through law enforcement agencies and the military.

Additional gun control laws are necessary to stop gun violence and limit the ability of criminals to obtain guns.

More guns mean more violence.


The Second Amendment gives citizens the right to keep and bear arms. Individuals have the right to defend themselves.

There are too many gun control laws–additional laws will not lower gun crime rates. What is needed is enforcement of current laws.

Gun control laws do not prevent criminals from obtaining guns.

More guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens mean less crime.

Health Care


Support free or low-cost government controlled health care.

There are millions of Americans who can’t afford health care and are deprived of this basic right. Every American has a right to affordable health care. The governement should provide equal health care benefits for all, regardless of their ability to pay.


Support competitive, free market health care system.

All Americans have access to health care. The debate is about who should pay for it. Free and low-cost government-run programs (socialized medicine) result in higher costs and everyone receiving the same poor-quality health care. Health care should remain privatized.

The problem of uninsured individuals should be addressed and solved within the free market healthcare system–the government should not control healthcare.

Homeland Security

NOTE – there are many facets to Homeland Security. This entry focuses on airport security.


Airport security – Passenger profiling is wrong, period. Selection of passengers for extra security screening should be random. Using other criteria (such as ethnicity) is discriminatory and offensive to Arabs and Muslims, who are generally innocent and law-abiding.

Terrorists don’t fit a profile. “…Arabs, Muslims and South Asians are no more likely than whites to be terrorists.”(American Civil Liberties Union ACLU)

Asked on 60 Minutes if a 70-year-old white woman from Vero Beach should receive the same level of scrutiny as a Muslim from Jersey City, President Obama’s Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said, “Basically, I would hope so.”


Airport security – Choosing passengers randomly for extra security searches is not effective. Rather, profiling and intelligence data should be used to single out passengers for extra screening. Those who do not meet the criteria for suspicion should not be subjected to intense screening.

The terrorists currently posing a threat to the U.S. are primarily Islamic/Muslim men between the ages of 18 and 38. Our resources should be focused on this group. Profiling is good logical police work.

“If people are offended (by profiling), that’s unfortunate, but I don’t think we can afford to take the risk that terrorism brings to us. They’ve wasted masses of resources on far too many people doing things that really don’t have a big payoff in terms of security.” – Northwestern University Aviation Expert A. Gellman.



Support legal immigration. Support blanket amnesty for those who enter the U.S. illegally (undocumented immigrants). Also believe that undocumented immigrants have a right to: — all educational and health benefits that citizens receive (financial aid, welfare, social security and medicaid), regardless of legal status. — the same rights as American citizens

It is unfair to arrest millions of undocumented immigrants.


Support legal immigration only. Oppose amnesty for those who enter the U.S. illegally (illegal immigrants). Those who break the law by entering the U.S. illegally do not have the same rights as those who obey the law and enter legally.

The borders should be secured before addressing the problem of the illegal immigrants currently in the country. The Federal Government should secure the borders and enforce current immigration law.

Private Property


Government has the right to use eminent domain (seizure of private property by the government–with compensation to the owner) to accomplish a public end.


Respect ownership and private property rights. Eminent domain (seizure of private property by the government–with compensation to the owner) in most cases is wrong. Eminent domain should not be used for private development.

Religion and Government


Support the separation of church and state. The Bill of Rights implies a separation of church and state. Religious expression has no place in government. The two should be completely separate. Government should not support religious expression in any way.

All reference to God in public and government spaces should be removed (eg., the Ten Commandments should not be displayed in Federal buildings).

Religious expression has no place in government.


The phrase “separation of church and state” is not in the Constitution. The First Amendment to the Constitution states”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” This prevents the government from establishing a national church/denomination. However, it does not prohibit God from being acknowledged in schools and government buildings.

Symbols of Christian heritage should not be removed from public and government spaces (eg., the Ten Commandments should continue to be displayed in Federal buildings).

Government should not interfere with religion and religious freedom.

Same-sex Marriage


Marriage is the union of people who love each other. It should be legal for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, to ensure equal rights for all. Support same-sex marriage.

Opposed to the creation of a constitutional amendment establishing marriage as the union of one man and one woman. All individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation, have the right to marry.

Prohibiting same-sex citizens from marrying denies them their civil rights. [Opinions vary on whether this issue is equal to civil rights for African Americans.]


Marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Oppose same-sex marriage.

Support Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), passed in 1996, which affirms the right of states not to recognize same-sex marriages licensed in other states.

Requiring citizens to sanction same-sex relationships violates moral and religious beliefs of millions of Christians, Jews, Muslims and others, who believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

Social Security


The Social Security system should be protected at all costs. Reduction in future benefits is not a reasonable option. [Opinions vary on the extent of the current system’s financial stability.]

Social Security provides a safety net for the nation’s poor and needy. Changing the system would cause a reduction in benefits and many people would suffer as a result.


The Social Security system is in serious financial trouble. Major changes to the current system are urgently needed. In its current state, the Social Security system is not financially sustainable. It will collapse if nothing is done to address the problems. Many will suffer as a result.

Social Security must be made more efficient through privitization and/or allowing individuals to manage their own savings.



Higher taxes (primarily for the wealthy) and a larger government are necessary to address inequity/injustice in society (government should help the poor and needy using tax dollars from the rich).

Support a large government to provide for the needs of the people and create equality. Taxes enable the government to create jobs and provide welfare programs for those in need.

Government programs are a caring way to provide for the poor and needy in society.


Lower taxes and a smaller government with limited power will improve the standard of living for all.

Support lower taxes and a smaller government. Lower taxes create more incentive for people to work, save, invest, and engage in entrepreneurial endeavors. Money is best spent by those who earn it, not the government.

Government programs encourage people to become dependent and lazy, rather than encouraging work and independence.

United Nations (UN)


The UN promotes peace and human rights. The United States has a moral and a legal obligation to support the United Nations (UN). The U.S. should not act as a sovereign nation, but as one member of a world community. The U.S. should submit its national interests to the greater good of the global community (as defined by the UN).

The U.S. should defer to the UN in military/peacekeeping matters.

The United Nations Charter gives the United Nations Security Council the power and responsibility to take collective action to maintain international peace and security. U.S. troops should submit to UN command.


The UN has repeatedly failed in its essential mission to promote world peace and human rights. The wars, genocide and human rights abuses taking place in many Human Rights Council member states (and the UN’s failure to stop them) prove this point.

History shows that the United States, not the UN, is the global force for spreading freedom, prosperity, tolerance and peace. The U.S. should never subvert its national interests to those of the UN.

The U.S. should never place troops under UN control. U.S. military should always wear the U.S. military uniform, not that of UN peacekeepers.

[Opinions vary on whether the U.S. should withdraw from the UN.]

War on Terror/Terrorism


Global warming, not terrorism, poses the greatest threat to the U.S., according to Democrats in Congress.

Terrorism is a result of arrogant U.S. foreign policy.

Good diplomacy is the best way to deal with terrorism. Relying on military force to defeat terrorism creates hatred that leads to more terrorism.

Captured terrorists should be handled by law enforcement and tried in civilian courts.


Terrorism poses one of the greatest threats to the U.S.

The world toward which the militant Islamists strive cannot peacefully co-exist with the Western world. In the last decade, militant Islamists have repeatedly attacked Americans and American interests here and abroad. Terrorists must be stopped and destroyed.

The use of intelligence-gathering and military force are the best ways to defeat terrorism around the world.

Captured terrorists should be treated as enemy combatants and tried in military courts.



Support welfare, including long-term welfare.

Welfare is a safety net which provides for the needs of the poor. Welfare is necessary to bring fairness to American economic life. It is a device for protecting the poor.


Oppose long-term welfare.

Opportunities should be provided to make it possible for those in need to become self-reliant. It is far more compassionate and effective to encourage people to become self-reliant, rather than allowing them to remain dependent on the government for provisions.

Copyright 2005, (revised 2010)

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