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Little Guides to Big Ideas is an SFL educational series introducing important libertarian thinkers. Each post is written to give liberty-minded students a starting point to learn from the great movers and shakers who have contributed to the ideas of liberty. The entire Little Guide to Big Ideas series can be found here.

As a young city girl, I loved reading Little House on the Prairie and imagining what my life would be like if I had lived during the expansion of the American West. When I discovered Laura Ingalls Wilder’s daughter, Rose, I was delighted. Here was the last of the pioneer girls, living at the start of the industrial age, creating her own path through the coming modern world. But it wasn’t until recently that I re-discovered Rose, not as the strong willed girl who created her own language, but as one of the founders of the modern liberty movement.

The daughter of Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder, Rose was born on December 5, 1886 in the South Dakota prairie. After facing drought, diphtheria, stroke, the death of a second child, and losing their house to fire, her family took the long road by covered wagon to the Ozarks. There, with the little money they had saved, they bought a small farm, naming it Rocky Ridge. Rose attended school in Mansfield, Missouri and excelled so much that she soon outgrew the small school and educated herself at home. She moved to Crowley, Louisiana with her Aunt Eliza to finish her education at the Crowley high school, where she graduated top of her class. Always a free spirit, she left home and became a telegrapher in Kansas City. Soon after, she moved to California, where she met her husband, Claire Gillette Lane. It was an unsuccessful marriage, lasting only nine years and resulting in what is thought to have been a miscarriage. During that time, however, Rose began her writing career as a reporter for the San Francisco Bulletin in 1915. Her first novel, Diverging Roads, was published in 1919. She also wrote several biographies and her short story “Innocence” won the O. Henry prize in 1922.

After World War I, Rose worked for the Red Cross Bulletin. She travelled extensively in the Balkans, and, after her time with the Red Cross, travelled in Europe and the Middle East including the Soviet Union. When she returned, she became an extensive freelance writer. She also helped her mother Laura edit and publish her Little House on the Prairie series. In 1936, she wrote an article, which was later reprinted as “Give Me Liberty,” condemning her youthful sympathies with the communist party. This article displayed the independent spirit that Rose had always believed in: “I hold the truth to be self-evident, that all men are endowed by the Creator with inalienable liberty, with individual self-control and responsibility for thoughts, speech and acts, in every situation.”

Rose became very concerned with government infringement of individual liberty. Her most important and influential work on Libertarian thought was her 1943 book The Discovery of Freedom. It explores the history of individual freedom and the struggle human kind has had against authority and oppression. Limited to 1,000 copies, it had immense influence on the likes of Robert LeFevre, who founded the “Freedom School,” which was mostly based on the ideas presented in Rose’s book.

Writing was not the only thing Rose did. She was also an activist, campaigning against such things as zoning and social security. Always an avid traveler, her last job was at the age of 78 when she travelled to Vietnam as a writer for Women’s Day. When she died in 1968, Rose left a writing legacy and had sowed the seeds of the modern liberty movement. She understood the individuality and freedom that is the basis of libertarian thought today and had the courage to stand up for what she believed in. Her influence is still felt.

Interested in interning for liberty this summer? Tomorrow’s webinar will discuss the top internship programs for liberty–the Koch Summer Fellowship, the IHS Journalism Internship, and the Koch Internship Program. This is your chance to get advice from the internship program directors. Each panelist will give a short presentation on the program with Q&A from the audience members to follow. Come prepared with your questions and get ahead in your applications!

Wednesday, January 11 at 8pm EST

Topic: “Internships for Liberty”

Register Here | Facebook Event Here

Heather Lakemacher joined the Institute for Humane Studies in March 2011. She currently serves as the Policy Programs Director. In this role, she directs the Koch Summer Fellow Program and other IHS programs for students and recent graduates who are interested in careers in public policy.

John Elliott is the Institute for Humane Studies’s Journalism Programs director. Over the course of his journalistic career, John has worked in nearly all aspects of television, print, and radio news as U.S. correspondent for German and Dutch media. Most recently he has been working for the State Department, taking foreign journalists on tours of the country.

Maggie Johnson – Originally from the central valley of northern California, Maggie moved to DC after earning her bachelor’s degree in communications and political science from Wheaton College. As a graduate of both the Koch Internship Program and Koch Associate Program, Maggie thoroughly enjoys her job of marketing and recruiting for the Institute’s professional education programs.

The 2012 International Students For Liberty Conference is quickly approaching! Last year’s conference had over 500 attendees. This year the conference will be hosted at the fabulous Grand Hyatt Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C. and will be the biggest student libertarian conference yet!

Would your organization like to host an exhibitor table at this year’s International Conference, or place an advertisement in the program booklet? Check out the ISFLC page for more information on the event, and to find details on pricing and options.

The deadline for purchasing exhibition tables and program advertisements is this Friday, January 13. Don’t miss this amazing outreach opportunity at the world’s largest gathering of pro-liberty students!

Yesterday we announced a new opportunity that students might be interested in hosting during National School Choice Week: Free campus screenings of Waiting for “Superman”Through this program campus groups will receive the DVD for free with all licensing fees covered as well as up to $100 to host their event.

Now we have even more free movie screenings to let you know about! National School Choice Week is offering free DVDs of several important documentaries including The Cartelwhich focuses on the worsening state of public education in New Jersey.

NSCW is also offering an event handbook and pre-made fliers to assist you in making your event successful. Consider partnering with the education department at your school to host an event during National School Choice Week (or at least inviting them to your event). National School Choice Week will take place from January 22 – 28 so plan your event soon!

If you’re hosting a screening we want to hear about it! Send information, pictures and media on your event to kjemison@studentsforliberty.org and we may feature you on the SFL site! Additionally, we have a limited selection of books and policy analyses discussing educational freedom and policy, so if you’re interested in receiving those materials, please include that in your email.

Students For Liberty Executive Board member Pericles Niarchos has spent the past week traveling across New Hampshire in support of Dr. Ron Paul. In between street outreach, attending pro-liberty rallies, and trying to get even the tiniest bit of sleep, Pericles had the opportunity to speak with MTV News.

Speaking out about the challenges young people face today and why they’re turning to libertarianism, Pericles remarks, “A lot of young people today feel like they’re growing up in a world where they’re no longer free to determine their own future. They’re living in a set amount of circumstances that are being defined by older generations who don’t really understand what we’re going through. What our perspective is on the world is, what we want and what our values are … in my whole lifetime I don’t think the U.S. has been at peace for more than four years.”

Preach it, Pericles! Click here to read the full story and watch the video.