Natural Law Party (United States)

Natural Law Party (United States)
Natural Law Party
Founded 1992
Dissolved 2004
Ideology Transcendental meditation politics, Center-left
International affiliation Natural Law Party

The Natural Law Party (NLP) was a United States political party affiliated with the international Natural Law Party. It was founded in 1992 and mostly dissolved in 2004. Leading members of party were associated with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, leader of Transcendental Meditation movement.

The party proposed that political problems could be solved through alignment with the Unified Field of all the laws of nature through the use of the TM-Sidhi program. Its other policies were uncontroversial.

The U.S. version of the Natural Law Party ran John Hagelin as its presidential candidate in 1992, 1996, and 2000. The party also ran congressional and local candidates. It attempted to merge with the Reform Party in 2000. The NLP in the United States and other countries parties were largely disbanded in 2004. Several state affiliates have kept their ballot positions and have allied with other small parties.



"Natural Law" referred to "the ultimate source of order and harmony displayed throughout creation."[1] Harmony with Natural Law could be accomplished by the practice of Transcendental Meditation and more advanced techniques.[1] Due to scientific studies of these techniques, it considered this to be a science-based approach.[2]

The NLP proposed that a government subsidized group of 7,000[3] advanced meditators known as Yogic Flyers would lower nationwide stress, reduce unemployment,[4] raise the gross national product,[4] improve health, reduce crime,[1] and make the country invincible to foreign attack.[5] Hagelin called it a "practical, field-tested, scientifically proven" solution.[6] TM would be taught to the military, to students, in prisons, and to ordinary citizens.[1]

Hagelin predicted that implementation of the program would result in $1 trillion in savings from reduced costs for medical care, criminal prosecutions and prisons, national defense, and other government expenses.[5] It recommended adoption of The Grace Commission reforms.[7] The party supported a flat tax.[8]

Election-related proposals included replacing the Electoral College with popular vote, automatic voter registration, public funding of campaigns, reducing the campaign season, and the elimination of political action committees.[5][9]

Civil right planks included equal rights for women and gays, replacing bans on abortion with prevention programs, and a national referendum on capital punishment.[5] It opposed the legalization of drugs.[10] In 1992, it suggested the appointment of former Secretary of State George Schultz as drug czar.[10]

It endorsed organic, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, and conservation.[11]

Slogans included: "Only a new seed will yield a new crop",[3] and "bring the light of science into politics".[9] Catchphrases included: "prevention-oriented solutions" and "conflict-free politics".[11]


Bevan Morris, president of Maharishi University of Management (then called "Maharishi International University"), was the founding chairman of the party, which was founded April 22, 1992, in Fairfield, Iowa.[12]

The party said it had no direction connection to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi or to TM. Hagelin said, "It's not a transcendental meditation party",[9] and denied any connection between the Maharishi University of Management and his campaign.[13] Tompkins said that more than half of its founders were connected to the TM movement.[7] One critic said that it was "just another front group for the TM movement".[13] By one report, almost all of the 92 candidates who ran on the NLP slate in California in 1996 were TM practitioners.[14]

The Natural Law Party had to qualify separately in each state to nominate a presidential candidate. It used 300 signature gatherers, both paid and volunteer, in California alone.[3] The party submitted 5,724 signatures in Iowa, as the party announced at a press conference attended by Mike Love, a member of The Beach Boys and a TM supporter.[15] Nevada required 9,392 signatures.[16] The NLP joined the another small party in suing the state over their early deadline, and they succeeded in getting a court to order a second chance to qualify.[16] The NLP qualified after submitting 11,000 valid signatures.[17] The party submitted the required 250,000 signatures in California too late to qualify for the ballot there.[18] By the time of the election, Hagelin was on the ballot in 31 states plus the District of Columbia.[19]

It was certified as a national party by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in September 1992, making it eligible for federal campaign funds.[20]


John Hagelin, three-time NLP candidate for U.S. President

John Hagelin, a 37-year old physics professor at Maharishi University of Management (MUM), was the NLP candidate for president of the United States in the 1992. He said that he had been uninterested in politics and a Republican by "default" prior to the campaign.[21] Mike Tompkins, also on the MUM staff, was his running mate.[3][22] They were formally chosen at the party's 400-person convention in Washington D.C. on October 5, 1992, although they had been campaigning already.[18][23] Both of them took six-month leaves of absence from the university to campaign.[13]

Hagelin proposed that all candidates should have their brain waves recorded by EEG and the resulting "mental profiles" should be publicly disclosed, so that the voters could see which candidates had the best "brain-wave stability".[4] He said that the test would "allow us to avoid the possibility of a brain-dead candidate".[24] The proposal was dropped due to a poor reception.[9]

Hagelin was excluded from the presidential debates and he asked the FEC to take over the process.[25] He did participate in the Alternative Candidates' National Debate along with the candidates or representatives of three other parties.[25] Hagelin's campaign cost several million dollars.[26]

The NLP had nine candidates for U.S. Congress in California.[24] The sole congressional candidate in Massachusetts was a movement employee.[27] Two people tried to get on the ballot for congress in Missouri, but one succeeded in getting enough petition signatures.[28] The party said it had 100 candidates running in state and local offices.[9] The NLP ran a candidate in Illinois for Senate.[29] There were reported to be between 80 and 175 candidates on the NLP slate.[23][30]

The Beach Boys raised funds for the NLP during a summer concert tour.[9] Mike Love said he was switching his support from George H. W. Bush to Hagelin.[31]

In addition to its own slate, the NLP also endorsed candidates in other races, including Republicans and New Alliance Party members.[7]


The NLP ran slates of candidates in the 1994 mid-term election. Four candidates ran in Nevada.[32] It hired professional petition gatherers to try to qualify 12 candidates for the ballot in Missouri.[33]


The party started collecting petitions in 1995 for the 1996 election. It submitted 110,000 signatures in California, about 35,000 from San Diego County alone.[34][35] It spent up to $250,000 on signature gatherers, in addition to its volunteer efforts.[36] Party officials said that 70% of the signatures came from students.[13] It submitted 55,000 signatures to qualify in Ohio, half of which were collected by volunteers.[37] It made a serious effort to get on the ballot in all 50 states.[21]

Hagelin came in third in a non-binding straw poll held in Fayette, Missouri, after visiting there twice. He received 20% of the 352 votes cast, ahead of Bob Dole and Ross Perot.[38] The party published a 172-page platform booklet, the longest of any party.[39]

Hagelin said that the party had been treated as a political curiosity in 1992, but had become a political force by 1995.[35] The party was the subject of jokes on late-night TV shows,[40] and its leaders admitted that some voters rejected the party due to the Maharishi's teachings.[35]


In 1996, the NLP called itself the "fastest-growing grassroots party with 700 candidates on the ballot in 48 states".[8] It ran 92 candidates for local, state, and federal offices in California alone.[41] There were about 50 on the ballot in Ohio.[2]

By January 1996, the party had collected $400,000 in donations, while Hagelin's campaign had received about $300,000 plus $100,000 in matching funds.[21]

Hagelin threatened to sue the organizers of the National Issues Convention, a forum on social issues held in January 1996, if he was not allowed to participate along with the Republican and Democratic candidates.[42] He continued to have trouble attracting attention from the media. At the Utah press conference announcing that the NLP had qualified for the ballot, only a single reporter attended.[11] NLP candidates, including Hagelin, said they did not expect to win but were using the campaigns to spread their message.[2]

During the 1996 election, the party ran hundreds of candidates for seats in the United States House of Representatives, against both Democratic and Republican incumbents. The successful candidates were mostly in California, where many of them received about 3% of the vote, and Ohio, where some candidates received 4% or 5% of the vote. The candidate running against Democrat James Traficant, a conservative Democrat with no Republican opposition that year, received 9%. In South Carolina, the party received 10% of the vote against Republican Floyd Spence who had no other opposition.

In California, psychiatrist Harold H. Bloomfield ran as candidate for Governor in 1998.[43]


In 2000, Hagelin created an independent coalition between the Natural Law and the Reform Party, The coalition failed when Patrick Buchanan took control of the Reform Party.[citation needed]

On March 31, 2000 the FEC certified primary season matching funds for John Hagelin, who was seeking the nomination of the Natural Law and Reform Parties. Hagelin was the second minor party presidential candidate to qualify; the first was Pat Buchanan. Ralph Nader eventually qualified as well. According to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the NLP spent $2.3 million on its presidential campaign in the 1999-2000 election cycle.[44]

In the 2000 Presidential election, Hagelin received 84,000 votes.[45]

Following Hagelin's and the Natural Law Party's failed attempt at a coalition with the Reform Party in 2000, the Natural Law Party ran its own ticket of Hagelin and Nat Goldhaber. The pair appeared on 38 ballots and received 83,702 votes or 0.1% of the total. This poor finish led Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to stop endorsing the Party and very few members renewed their membership in 2001. By 2003, the Natural Law Party had so weakened that it endorsed Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat, for President, rather than try to achieve ballot status for a candidate of its own, having lost all but 10 ballot lines.[46]

Between 2000 and 2004, the Natural Law Party sought to create an independent coalition of voters interested in election law reform. In 2002, the party endorsed Independence Party of Minnesota candidate for Minnesota Governor, Tim Penny.


The Natural Law Party did not run a candidate for president in the 2004 U.S. election and Hagelin went on to create an organization called the US Peace Government.[citation needed]

In 2004, the Natural Law Party endorsed Democratic Party presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich.[citation needed]

In 2004, The Socialist Party presidential ticket of Walt Brown and Mary Alice Herbert secured the NLP ballot lines in Delaware and Michigan.

According to the Natural Law Party official web site, the national headquarters of the Natural Law Party closed effective on April 30, 2004 and the US Peace Government is now carrying forward the programs, policies, and ideals of the Natural Law Party.[47] The party is still active in some states.[47]

On April 30, 2004, the Natural Law Party officially disbanded its national organization, although a few state parties still remained active. The South Carolina branch of the party was taken over by the Green Party. However, several candidates were on the ballot in 2004 under the Natural Law banner, including Socialist Party Presidential Candidate Walt Brown. In 2006 the Idaho Natural Law Party merged with the new United Party, with the United Party taking over the ballot line via a name change. Only the Michigan and Mississippi Natural Law parties remained as ballot-qualified parties.


The Idaho Natural Law Party remained active, and was prepared to have three candidates on the ballot for state and federal office in 2006 by entering into a coalition with the new United Party, and thus remained the only Natural Law Party still active in the United States of America. However, on June 16 the Idaho Natural Law Party changed its name to the United Party.[citation needed]


On July 30, 2008, the Michigan Natural Law Party nominated Ralph Nader for president, ensuring the appearance of the Nader/Gonzalez campaign on the Michigan ballot.[48] Nader received 33,085 votes in Michigan,[49] helping the Natural Law Party maintain ballot status in Michigan.

The Mississippi Natural Law Party nominated the Socialist Party presidential ticket of Brian Moore and Stewart Alexander, though they were ultimately barred from appearing on the Mississippi ballot due to a legal controversy surrounding the deadline hour for filing their presidential electors.[50]

The NLP in the United States was largely disbanded in 2004. However some state affiliates, such as Michigan, have kept their ballot positions and have allied with other small parties.[51]

Many party activists have shifted their attention to a new political arm of the Transcendental Meditation movement, the United States Peace Government.[citation needed]

Presidential tickets


  1. ^ a b c d Thomas, Jeff (February 6, 1996). "Natural Law Party advocates meditation as way to peace". Colorado Springs Gazette - Telegraph: p. B.2. 
  2. ^ a b c Rowland, Darrel (March 3, 1996). "NATURAL LAW PARTY MEETS FOR STRATEGY OHIO PRIMARY WILL BE ITS FIRST TEST". Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio): p. 03.E. 
  3. ^ a b c d WALLACE, AMY (July 18, 1992). "A Mantra of the People Presidency: Candidate from Natural Law Party says that mellowing out with meditation will help lower taxes, nationalize health care and balance the budget". Los Angeles Times: p. 3. 
  4. ^ a b c Copelin, Laylan (May 13, 1992). "At one with the presidency // Natural Law Party nominee suggests candidates submit EEGs Series: CAMPAIGN '92". Austin American Statesman (Austin, Tex.): p. A.1. 
  5. ^ a b c d Herubin, Danielle; Warner, Gary A. (October 9, 1992). "Serious about Natural Law New group doesn't want to be just the party of meditation". Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.): p. a.09. 
  6. ^ "hopefuls stage alternative four-way debate". San Antonio Express-News (San Antonio, Tex.): p. 04.A. October 16, 1992. 
  7. ^ a b c Thompson, David (October 8, 1992). "Natural Law Candidate Sees $1 Trillion Yearly Savings". Omaha World - Herald: p. 5. 
  8. ^ a b Mercer, Marsha (October 6, 1996). "PATH TO WIN LIES IN MIDDLE OF THE ROAD IN CLINTON-DOLE CONTEST, PEROT NOT DEEMED A FACTOR". Richmond Times - Dispatch (Richmond, Va.): p. C.1. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f Maier, Scott (September 22, 1992). "DON'T TAKE IT PERSONAL MEDITATION TECHNIQUE ADVOCATES BRING YOU NATURAL LAW PARTY". Seattle Post - Intelligencer: p. b.1. 
  10. ^ a b "Minor Candidates' Polite Debate / Small parties' presidential contenders agree almost as much as not". San Francisco Chronicle: p. A.4. October 16, 1992. 
  11. ^ a b c Maddox, Laurie Sullivan (March 1, 1996). "Natural Law Party Has Unnatural Knack For Savvy Politicking Natural Law Party Has Political Knack". p. A.1. 
  12. ^ "Iowa Group Stumps for Transcendentalist". Omaha, Neb.:. June 1, 1992. p. 14. 
  13. ^ a b c d e Gorman, Steven J. (November 24, 1995). "NATURAL LAW PARTY OFFERS ALTERNATIVE". Daily News (Los Angeles, Calif.): p. N.3. 
  14. ^ Epstein, Edward (December 29, 1995). "`NO SECRET THIS IS THE TM PARTY' / Politics and Transcendental Meditation". San Francisco Chronicle: p. A.1. 
  15. ^ "Ballot Entry Bases Effort On Meditation". Omaha World - Herald: p. 13. August 14, 1992. 
  16. ^ a b Whaley, Sean (October 3, 1992). "Members of minor parties turn in signatures for November ballot bid". Las Vegas Review - Journal: p. 3.b. 
  17. ^ "Nevada adds another splinter party to ballot". Las Vegas Review - Journal. Associated Press: p. 3.b. October 7, 1992. 
  18. ^ a b Herubin, Danielle (October 6, 1992). "Natural Law Party picks candidates". Orange County Register: p. 13. 
  19. ^ Pertman, Adam (October 31, 1992). "Fringe candidates put frustration on the ballot Choices include populists, prisoner". Boston Globe: p. 8. 
  20. ^ "Election Panel Recognizes 'Natural Law Party'". St. Louis Post - Dispatch. Associated Press (St. Louis, Mo.): p. 5.B. September 20, 1992. 
  21. ^ a b c Marcus, Ruth (January 30, 1996). "Less Stress, More Access: Natural Law Party's 50-State Focus". The Washington Post: p. A.04. 
  22. ^ O'Connell, Brian (October 8, 1992). "Alternative parties are long on faith, short in numbers". USA TODAY (McLean, Va.): p. 10.A. 
  23. ^ a b Connolly, Timothy J. (October 7, 1992). "3RD DISTRICT NOTEBOOK". Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, Mass.): p. A.2. 
  24. ^ a b Workman, Bill (July 10, 1992). "Candidates Challenged to Mental Test". San Francisco Chronicle (: p. A.2. 
  25. ^ a b Phillips, Leslie (October 16, 1992). "Alternative debate: Four on the fringe". USA TODAY: p. 05.A. 
  26. ^ Bock, Alan W. (November 15, 1992). "The `possible dream' of the Libertarians". Orange County Register: p. J.01. 
  27. ^ McHugh, Edward T. (August 29, 1992). "Natural Law Party joins race;". Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, Mass.): p. A.3. 
  28. ^ Mannies, Jo (September 5, 1992). "Blunt Calls State's Ballot 'Crowded'". St. Louis Post - Dispatch: p. 1.A. 
  29. ^ Sutin, Phil (November 3, 1992). "Voters Get Their Turn In Booths". St. Louis, Mo.: p. 1.A. 
  30. ^ Connolly, Timothy J. (October 10, 1994). "Friedgen sees TM as cure-all ; Natural Law Party joins race in 3rd". Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, Mass.): p. A.1. 
  31. ^ "Bush to lose Beach Boy vote". Las Vegas Review - Journal. Associated Press: p. 5.a. September 27, 1992. 
  32. ^ Vogel, Ed (June 25, 1994). "Two ex-Democrats on slate for minor party". Las Vegas Review - Journal: p. 5.b. 
  33. ^ Mannies, Jo (July 20, 1994). "`NATURAL LAW' CALLS OUT THE PETITION PROS". St. Louis Post - Dispatch: p. 05.B. 
  34. ^ "'4 more years! 4 more years! Omm ...' 'Meditation' party may get on the ballot". Cincinnati Post. Associated Press: p. 2.A. October 21, 1995. 
  35. ^ a b c WARREN, JENIFER (October 27, 1995). "Party Asks Voters to Put Their Faith in Meditation; Politics: Skeptics scoff at Natural Law Party's answer to nation's ills, but backers say they have more to offer". Los Angeles Times: p. 1. 
  36. ^ FREEMANTLE, TONY (November 2, 1995). "Perot party to be on Calif. ballot/108,000 petitions demand spot in '96". Houston Chronicle: p. 15. 
  37. ^ Moloney, Sharon (November 14, 1995). "Another 3rd party on ballot Group meets Ohio deadline". Cincinnati Post: p. 9.A. 
  39. ^ HEFT, RICHARD KELLY (November 13, 1995). "Lower taxes and, er, yogic flying". The Independent (London (UK)): p. 4. 
  40. ^ "Voting Force: Natural Law Party Transcends Political Lines". The Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, Utah): p. D.7. October 29, 1995. 
  41. ^ Rose, Bleys W. (December 9, 1995). "NEW PARTY CANDIDATES STRESS MEDITATING". The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, Calif.): p. B.1. 
  42. ^ RATCLIFFE, R.G. (December 14, 1995). "Third-party presidential hopeful jockeys for participation in forum". Houston Chronicle: p. 24. 
  43. ^ "MINOR-PARTY CANDIDATES". The Fresno Bee. ASSOCIATED PRESS: p. A.4. October 18, 1998. 
  44. ^
  45. ^ "Federal Elections 2000: 2000 Presidential Popular Vote Summary Table". Retrieved 2011-01-15. 
  46. ^ "2004 Petitioning for President", Ballot Access News, 1 August 2004 . Retrieved 21 September 2008.
  47. ^ a b Craig Ridgley, Safire Internet Solutions, "Natural Law Party official web site". Retrieved 2011-01-15. 
  48. ^ "Natural Law Party Puts Nader on Michigan Ballot ", Ballot Access News, 4 August 2008 . Retrieved 21 September 2008.
  49. ^
  50. ^ "Mississippi Natural Law Party Nominates Brian Moore for President", Ballot Access News, 6 September 2008 . Retrieved 21 September 2008.
  51. ^ [1] Ballot, Jan 3 2011, Michigan Natural Law Party Keeps Qualified Status for 2012

Further reading

  • Roth, Robert (1998). The Natural Law Party: A Reason to Vote. St. Martin's Press. p. 285. ISBN 9780312243166. 

External links

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