Free State Project Early Mover: FSP Founder Jason Sorens

A brief history: Origins of the Free State Project

Jason Sorens, Ph.D got the idea for the Free State Project while working on his dissertation as a political science graduate student at Yale University. He was looking at how movements for independence and autonomy around the world form and what causes them to succeed, and penned an essay proposing that 20,000 libertarians move to a low-population state in order to increase personal liberties and work toward the creation of a truly free society.

The U.S. has become more centralized since The New Deal, but might that be changing? We might start following the global trend toward greater decentralization, and if that’s the case, maybe we as libertarians can have a big influence on the political process by focusing on a single state.” —FSP founder Jason Sorens

Sorens posted his Free State Project essay online, and around 200 people emailed him expressing interest. By 2003, they’d recruited the first 5,000 FSP signers, who then voted for their preferred destination state for the project; New Hampshire was the state that defeated the other 49, in no small part because of its already strong pro-liberty mentality.

Check out the video 101 Reasons Liberty Lives in New Hampshire to learn more about the many great quality-of-life advantages NH has to offer! It doesn’t hurt that NH has “Live Free or Die” as a state motto!

About Free State Project founder Jason Sorens

Jason Sorens, Ph.D moved to Lebanon, NH from Buffalo, NY in August 2013 with his wife and daughter. He received his B.A. in economics and philosophy, with honors, from Washington and Lee University, and earned his Ph.D in political science from Yale University. He currently teaches at Dartmouth College in the Government Department, and runs a student program there called the Political Economy Project, where he engages students on big ideas in philosophy, politics, and economics. He is also an affiliated scholar at the Mercatus Center of George Mason University.

My work here in New Hampshire involves education; I want to get the ideas of liberty in the hands and minds of as many people as possible.” —FSP founder Jason Sorens

Sorens is also the founder and president of Ethics and Economics Education of New England, an effort to boost ethical and economic literacy in the region through programs for high schoolers, state legislators, opinion leaders, and the general public.

Sorens has researched and published many academic papers on government and economics, and is the author of Secessionism: Identity, Interest, and Strategy. He was president of the Free State Project from 2001 to 2003, and served on the board until 2009. He now serves as the vice president of the FSP, rejoining again after a five-year hiatus.