Making Democracy Work

Principles

Guiding Our Organization

The League Principles are `concepts of government' to which the League subscribes. These concepts are a direct descendant of the Platform, which served the League from 1942 to 1956 as the national repository for "principles supported and positions taken by the League as a whole in fields of government to which it has given sustained attention." The Platform has disappeared from the League vocabulary but the principles survived as "The Principles." Since that time, the Principles have served two functions according to the LWVUS Bylaws: (1) authorization for adoption of national, state, and local program; and, (2) as a basis for taking action at the national, state and local levels.

  • The League of Women Voters believes in representative government and in the individual liberties established in the Constitution of the United States.

  • The League of Women Voters believes that democratic Government depends upon the informed and active participation of its citizens and requires that governmental bodies protect the citizen's right to know by giving adequate notice of proposed actions, holding open meetings and making public records accessible.

  • The League of Women Voters believes that every citizen should be protected in the right to vote; that every person should have access to free public education which provides equal opportunity for all; and that no person or group should suffer legal, economic, or administrative discrimination.

  • The League of Women Voters believes that efficient and economical government requires competent personnel, the clear assignment of responsibility, adequate financing and coordination among the different agencies and levels of government.

  • The League of Women Voters believes that responsible government should be responsive to the will of the people; that government should maintain an equitable and flexible system of taxation, promote the conservation and development of natural resources in the public interest, share in the solution of economic and social problems which affect the general welfare, promote a sound economy and adopt domestic policies which facilitate the solution of international problems.

  • The League of Women Voters believes that cooperation with other nations is essential in the search for solutions to world problems, and that the development of international organization and international law is imperative in the promotion of world peace.

The national board suggests that any action on the Principles be taken in conjunction with present League positions to which they apply and on which member agreement and understanding are known to exist. The Principles are rather broad when standing alone, so it is necessary to exercise a certain degree of caution when considering using them as a basis for action. Furthermore, since 1974 most of the Principles have been an integral part of the national program, most notably in the criteria for evaluating government action that appear at the end of the formal listing of public policy positions in Impact on Issues.