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Americans for Democratic Action

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Americans For Democratic Action (ADA)
Founded 1947, by Eleanor Roosevelt, Arthur Schesinger Jr., Reihold Niebuhr, John Kenneth Galbraith, and Walter Reuther
Headquarters Washington D.C. , United States

Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) is a group that was created to preserve the ideals of the New Deal, continue to uphold American values, and fight the spread of communism. Americans for Democratic Action has influenced many major American movements such as the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, women’s rights, and the Iraqi war. It is among the best known American liberal interest groups. ADA has grown significantly since it was founded in 1947. It now operates in major cities throughout the United States as well as capitals. ADA contributes greatly to congressional candidates during elections and provides support to campaigns.

Its reporting on voting records consistent with ADA's programs is widely used.[1] Analysis for this reporting has a considerable social science basis, including in ideology[2] and in economics.[3]

Americans for Democratic Action is run by elected officers. The officers include a President, Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, Counsel, and multiple Vice Presidents. Americans for Democratic Action is run by elected officers. The officers include a President, Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, Counsel, and multiple Vice Presidents. The current ADA Officers are President: Richard Parker, Chair: Allen Kukovich, Treasurer: Jim B. Clarke, and Secretary: Maria Wilkinson.

Current objectives and activities

Americans For Democratic Action is perceived by the public as very liberal. In 2007 the ADA accused Fox News of being politically biased in favor of the Republican party.

Since the election of Barack Obama the ADA has regained support from the White House. ADA has addressed issues such as health care reform, immigration, tax reform, workers' rights, education, poverty, fair trade, and environmental policies. [4]

Health care

The ADA supports single-payer one-class health care system, not linked to employment.

Affirmative action

They have also showed strong support for affirmative action.

Workers' rights

They support the Employee Free Choice Act, which is argued to reduce management-imposed barriers to unionizing workplaces. The legislation is controversial, as it replaces formal elections, with a secret ballot, with dues check-off cards signed by employees. When the union has sufficient signed cards, it presents them and is certified; there is no specific election against which management can campaign.


ADA has played a key role in American democracy with its involvement in elections, social reforms, and key issues.[3] ADA was founded in 1947 in Washington D.C. by Eleanor Roosevelt, Arthur Schesinger Jr., Reihold Niebuhr, John Kenneth Galbraith, and Walter Reuther, all of whom were key members of the Democratic Party.[4]


The ADA began with its support of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1940s. It also played a big role at the 1948 Democratic National Convention in making the decision to nominate Harry S. Truman for president.


It guided the movement in its early stages by gathering national democratic support in the 1950s.


Their focus, in this decade, was persistent poverty in the United States. ADA supported initiatives including the Economic Opportunity Act (1964), Job Corps, Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), and the Community Action Program (CAP).

In 1964, the American Conservative Union formed as a "counterweight" to the ADA. [5]


Pro-environment policies were their priority in this period.


Their website describes priorities of the decade as fighting the social policies of Ronald Reagan.


In the 1990s they took a pro-union position for trade and worker’s rights.


Their current priorities involve health care reform, immigration, tax reform, employee free choice act, education, poverty, fair trade, and environmental policies. They state, "However its key focus is fixing the problems caused by the George W. Bush Administration and past Republican administrations. These problems include restoring progressive taxation, marriage equality, and unemployment health care."[4]

They helped Barack Obama win the senate seat in 2004, and helped pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.[4]


  1. Project Vote Smart - Americans for Democratic Action Rating, 24 September 2009/ref> }}
  2. Carson, Richard T., and Joe A. Oppenheimer (1984), "Method of Estimating the Personal Ideology of Political Representatives.", American Political Science Review 78.1: 1-16
  3. 3.0 3.1 Peltzman, Sam (1985), "An Economic Interpretation of the History of Congressional Voting in the Twentieth Century", The American Economic Review 75.4: 656-75
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 ADA Homepace, Americans for Democratic Action. Retrieved on 25 September 2009
  5. The American Conservative Union: a History, American Conservative Union