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Roger MacBride

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Title: Roger MacBride  
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Subject: Libertarian Party (United States), Libertarian National Convention, United States presidential election, 1976, United States presidential election in Alaska, 1976, John Hospers
Collection: 1929 Births, 1995 Deaths, 20Th-Century American Businesspeople, American Children's Writers, American Legal Writers, American Male Writers, American Political Writers, American Television Producers, Deaths from Heart Failure, Faithless Electors, Harvard Law School Alumni, Harvard University Alumni, Libertarian Party (United States) Presidential Nominees, Members of the Vermont House of Representatives, New York Lawyers, People from New Rochelle, New York, Princeton University Alumni, United States Presidential Candidates, 1976, Vermont Lawyers, Vermont Republicans, Virginia Lawyers, Virginia Libertarians, Virginia Republicans, Writers from New York, Writers from Vermont, Writers from Virginia
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Roger MacBride

Roger MacBride
Personal details
Born Roger Lea MacBride
(1929-08-06)August 6, 1929
New Rochelle, New York
Died March 5, 1995(1995-03-05) (aged 65)
Miami Beach, Florida
Political party Republican Party
Libertarian Party
Profession Attorney, writer, television producer

Roger Lea MacBride (August 6, 1929 – March 5, 1995) was an American lawyer, political figure, writer and television producer. He was the presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party in the 1976 election. MacBride became the first presidential elector in U.S. history to cast a vote for a woman when, in the presidential election of 1972, he voted for the Libertarian Party candidates John Hospers for president and Theodora "Tonie" Nathan for vice president.[1][2]

He was co-creator and co-producer of the television series Little House on the Prairie.


  • Background 1
  • Law career 2
  • Writing and television producing career 3
  • Political career 4
    • Vermont politics 4.1
    • 1972 electoral vote 4.2
    • 1976 presidential campaign 4.3
    • Republican Liberty Caucus 4.4
  • Death 5
  • Partial bibliography 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


MacBride was born in New Rochelle, New York in 1929.[3] He called himself "the adopted grandson" of a family friend, writer and political theorist Rose Wilder Lane,[4] whom he met for the first time when he was 14 years of age.[5][6] Lane — the daughter of writer Laura Ingalls Wilder, who was noted for writing the Little House series of books – designated MacBride as a "political disciple", as well as her executor and sole heir.[3]

MacBride was a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School.[3]

Law career

MacBride worked for the Wall Street-based law firm White & Case for several years before opening a small practice in Vermont.[3] By the mid-1970s, MacBride had relocated to Virginia and was no longer practicing law full-time.[2]

Writing and television producing career

MacBride inherited Lane's estate including rights to the substantial Ingalls-Wilder literary estate, including the "Little House on the Prairie" franchise.[3] He is the author of record of three additional "Little House" books, and began the "Rocky Ridge Years" series of children's novels, describing Lane's Ozark childhood.[3][4] He published two books on constitutional lawThe American Electoral College and Treaties versus the Constitution,[7] as well as a Libertarian Party manifestoA New Dawn for America: The Libertarian Challenge.[3]

In the 1970s, MacBride co-created the television series Little House on the Prairie and served as a co-producer for the show.[2][4]

Political career

Vermont politics

MacBride was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives in 1962 and served one term.[8] Running as a Goldwater Republican,[9] he made an unsuccessful bid for the Republican Party nomination for Governor of Vermont in 1964.[7][8][10]

1972 electoral vote

MacBride was the treasurer of the Republican Party of Virginia in 1972 and one of the party's electors when Richard Nixon won the popular vote for his second term as President of the United States.[11] MacBride, however, as a "faithless elector", voted for the nominees of the Libertarian Party – presidential candidate John Hospers and vice-presidential candidate Tonie Nathan. In so doing, MacBride made Nathan the first woman in U.S. history to receive an electoral vote.[7][11] Political pundit David Boaz later commented in Liberty magazine that MacBride was "faithless to Nixon and Agnew, anyway, but faithful to the constitutional principles Rose Wilder Lane had instilled in him."[12]

1976 presidential campaign

After casting his historical electoral vote in 1972,[7] MacBride instantly gained favor within the fledgling Libertarian Party, which had only begun the previous year.[13] As the Libertarian presidential nominee in 1976,[2] he achieved ballot access in 32 states;[3] he and his running mate, David Bergland,[14] received 172,553 (0.21%) popular votes by official count, and no electoral votes. His best performance was in Alaska, where he received 6,785 votes, or nearly 5.5%.[7][15]

Republican Liberty Caucus

MacBride rejoined the Republican Party in the 1980s and helped establish the Republican Liberty Caucus, a group promoting libertarian principles within the Republican Party.[4][16] He chaired this group from 1992 until his death in 1995.[17]


MacBride died of heart failure on March 5, 1995.[3] A controversy ensued upon his death when the local library in Mansfield, Missouri, contended that Wilder's original will gave her daughter ownership of the literary estate for her lifetime only, and that all rights were to revert to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Library after her death.[18] The ensuing court case was settled in an undisclosed manner, but MacBride's heirs retained the rights.[19]

In an obituary for MacBride, David Boaz wrote, "In some ways he was the last living link to the best of the Old Right, the rugged-individualist, anti-New Deal, anti-interventionist spirit of Rep. Howard Buffett, Albert Jay Nock, H. L. Mencken, Isabel Paterson, and Lane."[12]

Partial bibliography

  • Series on the early life of Rose Wilder
    • Little House on Rocky Ridge (1993)
    • Little Farm in the Ozarks (1994)
    • In the Land of the Big Red Apple (1995)
    • On the Other Side of the Hill (1995)
    • Little Town in the Ozarks (1996)
    • New Dawn on Rocky Ridge (1997)
    • On the Banks of the Bayou (1998)
    • Bachelor Girl (1999)
  • A New Dawn for America: the Libertarian Challenge


  1. ^ "Virginian switches his electoral vote".  
  2. ^ a b c d St. John, Jeffrey (September 30, 1975). "MacBride Plans Campaign".  
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Saxon, Wolfgang (March 8, 1995) "Roger MacBride, 65, Libertarian And 'Little House' Heir, Is Dead", The New York Times. Retrieved June 15, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d Thies, Clifford F. (October 1997). "Cast a Giant Ballot :Roger MacBride Made the Libertarian Party the Most Important Third Party in America".  
  5. ^ Holtz, William (1995). The Ghost in the Little House: A Life of Rose Wilder Lane.  
  6. ^   ISBN 9781586485726
  7. ^ a b c d e  
  8. ^ a b Lawyer Politicians in Virginia: Roger Lea MacBride (1929–1995), The Political Graveyard. Retrieved July , 2012.
  9. ^  
  10. ^ (1964) Primary Election Results, Office of the Vermont Secretary of State. State Archives. Retrieved July , 2012.
  11. ^ a b Adams, Mason; Sluss, Michael (June 13, 2011). "Remembering Virginia’s "faithless" elector of 1972".  
  12. ^ a b Boaz, David "Roger Lea MacBride, 1929–1995", Liberty, March 1995, p. 13.
  13. ^ Doherty, Brian (2008). Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement. PublicAffairs. pp. 393-395.
  14. ^ "Libertarian candidate to visit".  
  15. ^ "1976 Presidential General Election Results", Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved July 25, 2012.
  16. ^ , Retrieved July 26, 2012.Republican Liberty Caucus: Background and Early HistoryThe Republican Liberty Caucus Library,
  17. ^ , Retrieved July 26, 2012.History of our MovementThe Republican Liberty Caucus,
  18. ^ Langton, James (November 29, 1999) "Library claims rights to `Little House' books", Chicago Sun-Times via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  19. ^ Margolis, Rick (June 1, 2001) "Settlement on 'Little House' Books", School Library Journal. Retrieved July 26, 2012.

External links

  • Riggenbach, Jeff (April 14, 2010). "The Libertarian Legacy of Rose Wilder Lane". Mises Daily (  
  • Roger Lea MacBride at Library of Congress Authorities, with 20 catalog records (previous page of browse report, under 'MacBride, Roger Lea, 1929–' without '1995')
Party political offices
Preceded by
John Hospers
Libertarian Party Presidential candidate
1976 (lost)
Succeeded by
Ed Clark
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