|The Ripon Society|
|Formation||December 12, 1962|
|Type||Public policy think tank|
|Headquarters||1155 15th Street, NW, Suite 550|
|Region served||United States|
|Affiliations||The Ripon Forum magazine|
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.
Emil Frankel and the Bow Group
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.
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.
In December 1962, Frankel and Saloma "circulated a confidential 'Proposal for an American Bow Group'".
"They observed that the same conditions that led to the Bow Group’s formation in Britain now bedeviled the Republican Party in the United States. The GOP offered few opportunities for young professional people in the 20-35 age range, who were turned off by ‘the popular image of the Republican Party as a party of obstruction and negativism.’ They worried that the party might not survive if ideological conservatives succeeded in forcing a break with its progressive tradition, and they saw an opportunity for a research group to support moderate Republicans and to form a bridge between the academic community and the GOP." -- Excerpt from Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, From Eisenhower to the Tea Party by Geoffrey Kabaservice.
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. 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
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.
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".
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.
The Ripon Papers
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.
Former heads of the Ripon Society include:
- Dr. John S. Saloma III (Founding President of the Ripon Society)
- Jim Leach, U.S. Congressman from Iowa
- Bill Frenzel, U.S. Congressman
- Michael Dubke
- Peter Smith, U.S. Congressman from Vermont
- Frederick R. Kellogg
- Josiah Lee Auspitz
- Glenn S. Gerstell
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.
On February 8, 2013, the Ripon Society held its 2013 Legislative and Communications Directors Symposium on Leadership at Mount Vernon. Haley Barbour (the former governor of Mississippi), Carly Fiorina (the former Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett-Packard; and former U.S. Senate candidate in 2010.), and staff members from House Republican leadership offices spoke at the symposium.
The Ripon Forum
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.
- 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
- Lindsey Gruson, "John S. Saloma, 48; Specialist in Politics Started Ripon Group", The New York Times, 8 July 1983, Retrieved 06 June 2013)
- 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)
- Jill Abramson, "The Business of Persuasion Thrives in Nation's Capital", The New York Times, 28 Sep 1998, Retrieved 06 June 2013 via Nexis)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- Martin Tolchin, "Rules Panel Recommends G.O.P. Study of Primaries", The New York Times, 15 July 1980, Retrieved 06 June 2013)
- "New Ripon Society Group To Look for 'Progressives'", Washington Post, 14 Apr 1977, Retrieved 06 June 2013 via Nexis)
- Lou Zickar, "'Leadership is always about tough choices.' Carly Fiorina Talks about the Future of the Republican Party and the Reforms the GOP Should Embrace in Speech to Ripon Society Symposium", Press release, Ripon Society, 20 Feb 2013, Accessed 1 Mar 2013
- Liz Sidoti, "Year of the political woman redux?", 'Associated Press, printed by NBC News, 9 Jun 2010, Accessed 1 Mar 2013