WASHINGTON - On August 15, 1971, President Richard Nixon gave a speech announcing what would be known as his "New Economic Policy." The speech led directly to the formation of the Libertarian Party.
In the speech, Nixon announced two measures that were of particular concern to libertarians. First, a government-imposed freeze on wages and prices. Second, an end to the convertibility of dollars to gold.
Nixon said, "I am today ordering a freeze on all prices and wages throughout the United States for a period of 90 days."
Libertarians saw both of these actions as betrayals of the principles on which the United States was founded.
This speech has often been cited as the critical moment that ignited the formation of the Libertarian Party.
In his history of the libertarian movement, Radicals for Capitalism, Brian Doherty writes that the late David F. Nolan "was working for an ad agency in Denver and happened to have a handful of libertarian-minded friends over that day when Nixon hit the airwaves with his wage and price controls announcement. They all agreed: It was time for a third party...a Libertarian Party."