Happy 81st Birthday to the Libertarian Legend Ron Paul!

Ron Paul Has Done More for Libertarians Than Most Anyone Else

by Josh Guckert

On August 20, 1935, Ronald Ernest Paul was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Few could have predicted at that time the impact Ron Paul would have on American politics some fifty-plus years after.

After graduating from Gettysburg College with a B.S. in Biology in 1957, Paul graduated from Duke Medical School in 1961. Afterwards, he served as a flight surgeon for the Air Force and later the National Guard. He and his wife Carol then relocated to Texas, where he began a private practice in obstetrics and gynecology.

Paul ran his first election for the House in 1974, losing to the incumbent Robert Casey. However, he won a 1976 special election after Casey was appointed to direct the Federal Maritime Commission. He lost his seat a few months later in the regular election, but was again elected in 1978 and reelected twice.

He unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 1984 and briefly retired from politics. In 1988, he ran for the Presidency as a Libertarian and received 0.47% of the popular vote. Paul won election to the House again in 1996. He won reelection seven times before retiring for good in 2013.

However, Paul’s longest lasting impact likely came in his second and third Presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012. In the first contest, he went from a little-known candidate to someone demanding national attention and winning the hearts and minds of many voters. In 2008, he came in fourth, earning over one million popular votes.

When he ran in 2012, he bested his previous campaign. He earned 177 delegates and over two million popular votes. During both his campaigns, Paul excited a new generation of voters and differed significantly from the other voices in the Republican Party. He spoke of the need for a non-interventionist foreign policy and the problems surrounding the monetary policy of the Federal Reserve.

His legacy lives on through elected representatives like Thomas Massie, Justin Amash, and his son, Rand Paul. He remains active, often speaking out on his “Liberty Report” and promoting his Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Needless to say, most modern libertarians owe their first exposure to liberty to Ron Paul. In his unorthodox style, he was able to present a different perspective. Though he is no longer “in the arena” in American politics, his legacy continues.

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