Ripon Society

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The Ripon Society
Ripon Society logo
FormationDecember 12, 1962; 51 years ago (1962-12-12)
TypePublic policy think tank
Legal statusNon-profit
Purpose/focusAdvocacy
Headquarters1155 15th Street, NW, Suite 550
LocationWashington, D.C.
Region servedUnited States
MembershipPrivate persons
Official languagesEnglish
PresidentJim Conzelman
Key peopleAdmins
AffiliationsThe Ripon Forum magazine
Websitewww.riponsociety.org
 
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The Ripon Society
Ripon Society logo
FormationDecember 12, 1962; 51 years ago (1962-12-12)
TypePublic policy think tank
Legal statusNon-profit
Purpose/focusAdvocacy
Headquarters1155 15th Street, NW, Suite 550
LocationWashington, D.C.
Region servedUnited States
MembershipPrivate persons
Official languagesEnglish
PresidentJim Conzelman
Key peopleAdmins
AffiliationsThe Ripon Forum magazine
Websitewww.riponsociety.org

The Ripon Society is an American centrist Republican think tank based in Washington, D.C. It produces The Ripon Forum, the U.S.'s longest running Republican thought and opinion journal.

The Ripon Society was the first major Republican organization to support passage of the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s. In the early 1970s, it called for the normalization of relations with China, and the abolition of the military draft.

History[edit]

Founding[edit]

Emil Frankel and the Bow Group[edit]

Emil Frankel was a Harvard law student in the early 1960s. He had studied in England on a Fulbright scholarship. While in England, he met members of a group called the Bow Group. The Bow Group founders had been "dissatisfied with the Conservative Party’s image as ‘the Stupid Party’." The Bow Group impressed Frankel, particularly regarding the level of detail that its members would study public policy problems and the proactive way its members became experts on policy topics.[1]

Dr. John S. Saloma III was a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Like Frankel, Saloma had studied in England on a Fulbright scholarship. Both Frankel and Saloma became editors at Advance magazine.[1]

In December 1962, Frankel and Saloma "circulated a confidential 'Proposal for an American Bow Group'".[1]Saloma and Frankel held a meeting on December 12, 1962, in Cambridge, Massachusetts at Harvard College. The meeting would become the first meeting of the group that eventually became known as the Ripon Society.[1] The name is a reference to Ripon, Wisconsin, the birthplace of the Republican Party.

One of the main goals of the Ripon Society is to promote ideas and principles that have contributed to the GOP's past success. These ideas include keeping the nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is not just smaller, but smarter and more accountable to the people.

A Call to History[edit]

The death of President John F. Kennedy inspired many of the early actions of the society.

On November 22, 1963, a group of Ripon Society members were having lunch in a dining hall at Harvard University. During lunch, they were planning a trip to campaign for Nelson Rockefeller, who was at that time the Republican governor of New York. Near the end of their lunch meeting, the members got word that President John F. Kennedy had been shot.[1]

Political historian and author Geoffrey Kabaservice writes, "Although they (the Ripon Society members) were Republicans, JFK had been their political inspiration. When the news confirmed that Kennedy had been killed, they were caught between grief for their fallen hero and fear of Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded to the presidency".[1]

The Ripon members wrote a manifesto over the weeks following President Kennedy’s death. The manifesto was called "A Call to Excellence in Leadership: An Open Letter to the New Generation of Republicans". Newspapers around the U.S. published the manifesto. The New York Herald Tribune even published the manifesto in full.[1]

The Ripon Papers[edit]

The Ripon Society wrote its first public statement in the weeks that followed President Kennedy's assassination and published the statement on January 6, 1964:[2]

“While we yet sorrow, so must we seize this moment before our thoughts slip away to be lost in the noise of ‘life as usual.’ It is in this context that we have chosen to speak. We speak as a group of young Republicans to that generation which must bear the responsibility for guiding our party and our country over the coming decades. We speak for a point of view in the Republican Party that has too long been silent.

"We believe that the future of our party lies not in extremism, but in moderation. The moderate course offers the Republican Party the best chance to build a durable majority position in American politics. This is the direction the party must take if it is to win the confidence of the “new Americans” who are not at home in the politics of another generation: the new middle classes of the suburbs of the North and West – who have left the Democratic cities but have not yet found a home in the Republican party; the young college graduates and professional men and women of our great university centers – more concerned with “opportunity” than “security”, the moderate of the new South – who represent the hope for peaceful racial adjustment and who are insulted by a racist appeal more fitting another generation. These and others like them hold the key to the future of our politics.

"We believe that the Republican Party should accept the challenge to fight for the middle ground of American politics. The party that will not acknowledge this political fact of life and courageously enter the contest for power does not merit and cannot possibly win the majority support of the American people.”[2]

Dr. John Saloma, Founding President[edit]

The Founding President of the society was Dr. John S. Saloma III. He served as President from 1963 until 1967.[3]In 1962, Dr. Saloma founded the American Bow Group, a society of university intellectuals. In 1963, the American Bow Group became the Ripon Society.[3]

Dr. Saloma attended MIT and the London School of Economics. He received his doctorate from Harvard University. In his career, Dr. Saloma:[3]He died on July 6, 1983 in San Francisco, California.[3]

Former leaders[edit]

Former heads of the Ripon Society include:

Republican of the Year Award[edit]

In July 1985, the society awarded its Republican of the Year award to then-Vice President George H.W. Bush.[12] Other Republican of the Year recipients include former Senator Bob Dole and former Senator Howard H. Baker, Jr.[13]

Programs[edit]

Lecture series[edit]

Congressman Rob Portman

The Ripon Society hosts a series of lectures known as their "Policy & Politics Dialogue Series", which in 2011 has consisted of over 40 idea-based forums. Speakers have included: Speaker of the House John Boehner, Representatives Kevin Brady and Greg Walden, Senators Rob Portman and John McCain, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

The Ripon Forum[edit]

The Ripon Forum examines current issues with essays in politics, business, and academia. The Forum is published quarterly and focuses on several topics per issue, working to frame and lead public policy debate. Recent issues include articles examining education in the 21st century, progressive tax policy, healthcare and information technology, and election reform.

Congressional Advisory Board[edit]

U.S. Senators[14]

U.S. Representatives[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Geoffrey Kabaservice, Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, From Eisenhower to the Tea Party. Oxford University Press. January 4, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2013 via Google Books
  2. ^ a b "The History of the Ripon Society", Ripon Society website, Accessed 06 June 2013
  3. ^ a b c d Lindsey Gruson, "John S. Saloma, 48; Specialist in Politics Started Ripon Group", The New York Times, 8 July 1983, Retrieved 06 June 2013
  4. ^ Lindsey Gruson, "John S. Saloma, 48; Specialist in Politics Started Ripon Group", The New York Times, 8 July 1983, Retrieved 06 June 2013)
  5. ^ Adam Clymer, "Reagan Holds to the Course that Brought Him This Far", The New York Times, 27 Sep 1981, Retrieved 06 June 2013 via Nexis)
  6. ^ Jill Abramson, "The Business of Persuasion Thrives in Nation's Capital", The New York Times, 28 Sep 1998, Retrieved 06 June 2013 via Nexis)
  7. ^ Steven Holmes, "POLITICS: THE CENTRISTS; Elbowed Aside in '92, Moderates Expect to Feel Welcome at This G.O.P. Convention", The New York Times, 5 Aug 1996, Retrieved 06 June 2013 via Nexis)
  8. ^ Robin Tomer, "THE TRANSITION: The Republicans; Looking to the Future, Party Sifts Through Past", The New York Times, 11 Nov 1992, Retrieved 06 June 2013)
  9. ^ Craig Wolff, "2 Reagan Aides go to Harlem for a Debate on Civil Rights", The New York Times, 18 Mar 1984, Retrieved 06 June 2013 via Nexis)
  10. ^ Martin Tolchin, "Rules Panel Recommends G.O.P. Study of Primaries", The New York Times, 15 July 1980, Retrieved 06 June 2013)
  11. ^ "New Ripon Society Group To Look for 'Progressives'", Washington Post, 14 Apr 1977, Retrieved 06 June 2013 via Nexis)
  12. ^ Irvin Molotsky and Warren Weaver Jr., "Briefing; Bush and the Ripon Speech", The New York Times, 26 Aug 1985, Retrieved 06 June 2013 via Nexis
  13. ^ Marjorie Hunter and Warren Weaver, "BRIEFING; Republican of the Year", The New York Times, 30 July 1985, Retrieved 06 June 2013
  14. ^ a b "Honorary Congressional Advisory Board". The Ripon Society website. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 

External links[edit]