PASSINGS: John Hospers
1st Libertarian presidential candidate
John Hospers, 93, a USC philosophy professor who became the Libertarian Party’s first presidential nominee and received one electoral vote in the 1972 election won by Richard Nixon in a landslide, died Sunday in Los Angeles, the Libertarian Party announced. The cause was not disclosed.
The newly formed Libertarian Party nominated Hospers and running mate Tonie Nathan at its first convention, held in Colorado in 1972. Running on a party platform seeking the least amount of government controls possible and affirming the rights of individuals, the Hospers-Nathan ticket received only only a few thousand popular votes nationally. But a rogue Republican elector from Virginia supplied one Electoral College vote. In the final tally, Nixon got 520 ballots, followed by the Democratic nominee, Sen. George McGovern of South Dakota, with 17, and Hospers with one.
Hospers returned to his position as chairman of the philosophy department at USC, taking emeritus status in 1988 when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 70.
Of Dutch descent, Hospers was born June 9, 1918, in Pella, Iowa. He received a bachelor’s degree from Central College of Iowa in 1939, a master’s in literature from the University of Iowa in 1942 and a doctorate in philosophy from Columbia University in 1946.
He taught at Columbia, the University of Minnesota, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York and Cal State Los Angeles before arriving at USC in 1968.
Among Hospers’ books were “Libertarianism: A Political Philosophy for Tomorrow” (1971).
Los Angeles Times staff reports
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