David Bergland

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David T. Bergland
Bergland, David.jpg
Libertarian National Committee
Predecessor: Steve Dasbach
Successor: Jim Lark
Libertarian National Committee
Predecessor: Ed Crane
Successor: Alicia Clark
Personal Details
Birth: 4 June 1935
Mapleton, Iowa, USA
Death: 3 June 2019
Education: University of Southern California
Occupation: Law professor
Party: Libertarian Party
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David Bergland (June 4, 1935 - June 3, 2019) was the Libertarian Party's 1984 candidate for president, and author of the book Libertarianism in One Lesson. He passed away the day before his 84th birthday and is survived by spouse Sharon Ayres. He held a juris doctorate from the University of Southern California, and was an adjunct professor of law at Western State University's Colleges of Law in Fullerton and later Irvine, California from 1970-1993. Bergland also served as chair of the American Liberty Foundation. In 2018, he was inducted into the Hall of Liberty.

Libertarian Background

Bergland became a libertarian by reading the works of Ayn Rand and joined the Libertarian Party in 1973, just over a year after its founding, at the organizing meeting for the Libertarian Party of Orange County (California) and was elected its first treasurer.

In 1974, Bergland ran for Attorney General of California as a Libertarian write-in candidate. In 1976, he was the LP's candidate for vice-president, the running mate of Roger MacBride. In 1978, in his run for State Senate, he was the first candidate to appear on the ballot as a Libertarian in California. In 1980, he ran for a position in the U.S. Senate, and in 1982 received the LPC's Sons of Liberty Award for effectiveness in communicating libertarian principles to the voters in that campaign.

In his 1984 presidential campaign, with Jim Lewis as his running mate, he was on the ballot in 36 states and received 228,710 votes.

He was co-chairman of Harry Browne's presidential campaign in 1996.

He served as LP National Chair from 1977 to 1981, and then again from 1998 to 2000. He also served as National Vice-Chair from 1988 to 1989, and in other positions on the LNC during other terms for a total of twelve years of service. For his devoted service to the cause of liberty, in 1988, he was awarded the Thomas Jefferson Award for lifetime achievement by the national Party and was inducted into the National Hall of Liberty.

Bergland noted two insights gleaned from his years in liberty activism:[1]

  1. There are certain questions that all libertarian will be asked, and we need to prepare and practice compelling answers for each of them;
  1. It is vital that libertarian candidates and activists become effective and persuasive communicators of libertarian ideas.

Bergland assisted Marshall Fritz in developing the first Liberty Communicator Course for the Advocates for Self-Government. He also was one of the first to advocate the use of the Myers-Briggs Personality Test in order to become an effective communicator to different types of people.

Articles and Op-Eds

Election results

1984 United States Presidential election
Party Name/Running Mate Electoral Votes Percent Votes
Republican Ronald Reagan / George H. W. Bush 525 58.77% 54,455,472
Democratic Walter Mondale / Geraldine Ferraro 13 40.56% 37,577,352
Libertarian David Bergland / Jim Lewis 0 0.25% 228,706
Independent Lyndon LaRouche / Billy Davis 0 0.09% 78,809
US Citizens Sonia Johnson / Richard Walton 0 0.08% 72,161
Populist Bob Richards / Maureen Salaman 0 0.07% 66,324
New Alliance Dennis Serrette / Nancy Ross 0 0.05% 46,853
Communist Gus Hall / Angela Davis 0 0.04% 36,386
Socialist Workers Melvin Mason / Matilde Zimmerman 0 0.03% 24,699
Various All Others 0 0.07% 67,066

Presidential Election Year Fundraising


1984 Total
January 37,177
February 19,335
March 17,666
April 60,518
May 43,651
June 19,742
July 57,836
August 50,822
September 61,447
Oct 1 - Oct 17 84,457
Oct 18 - Nov 26 49,884
Nov 27 - Dec 31 8,284
1984 Total 510,819


  • 1974 - Attorney General of California (write-in)
  • 1976 - Vice-President of the United States
  • 1978 - California State Sebate
  • 1980 - U.S. Senate from California
  • 1984 - President of the United States


Many Libertarians wrote tributes to Bergland after his death. Nicholas J Sarwark, the chair of the national Libertarian National Committee at the time of his death, recounted the following:

In 2017, I had the chance to meet David Bergland in person and chat. We shared a laugh about a favorite quote attributed to him, running for office and attending a fundraiser. Someone told him, “I want you to know that in my heart, I’m a Libertarian.” He reportedly replied, “That’s great. Let me know when it gets down to your balls.”

Let us take his combination of wisdom, wit, and yes, balls as an example as we work toward the vision of a world set free in our lifetime that he will not be here to enjoy. Godspeed David Bergland, may your memory be eternal.”


Preceded by:
Tonie Nathan
Libertarian Party Vice-Presidential candidate
Succeeded by:
David Koch
Preceded by:
Ed Clark
Libertarian Party Presidential candidate
Succeeded by:
Ron Paul
Preceded by:
Ed Crane
Libertarian Party National Chair
Succeeded by:
Alicia Clark
Preceded by:
Steve Dasbach
Libertarian Party National Chair
Succeeded by:
Jim Lark
Preceded by:
Lynn Kinsky
Libertarian Party California Senatorial Nominee
Succeeded by:
Joseph Fuhrig