The Sharon Statement: A Timeless Declaration of Conservative Principles

The Sharon Statement was adopted on September 11, 1960 by a group of 100 young conservatives who convened at the home of William F. Buckley in Sharon, Connecticut with the purpose of creating Young Americans for Freedom. In 2015 The New York Timesrecognized the Sharon Statement as a “seminal document” of the Conservative Movement and it is widely regarded by historians and thought leaders as one of the most important declarations in the history of American conservatism. Its message is timeless and has been championed by countless conservative leaders since its adoption, including President Ronald Reagan who served as YAF’s Honorary National Chairman. The Sharon Statement continues to function as the foundational document for every YAF chapter across the country.

The Sharon Statement

In this time of moral and political crises, it is the responsibility of the youth of America to affirm certain eternal truths.

We, as young conservatives, believe:

That foremost among the transcendent values is the individual’s use of his God-given free will, whence derives his right to be free from the restrictions of arbitrary force;

That liberty is indivisible, and that political freedom cannot long exist without economic freedom;

That the purpose of government is to protect those freedoms through the preservation of internal order, the provision of national defense, and the administration of justice;

That when government ventures beyond these rightful functions, it accumulates power, which tends to diminish order and liberty;

That the Constitution of the United States is the best arrangement yet devised for empowering government to fulfill its proper role, while restraining it from the concentration and abuse of power;

That the genius of the Constitution—the division of powers—is


ht/ illustr8r

13 Comments on The Sharon Statement: A Timeless Declaration of Conservative Principles

  1. Why are today’s conservatives so belligerently opposed to the imposition of constitutional limits on govt, and in particular executive branch, power? Where and when were the YAF’s principles proclaimed when the USA PATRIOT act was passed, for example?

    The “principles” declared in 1960 turned out not to be principles, because they have been compromised away. If it is compromisable then it isn’t a principle.

  2. I’d post something about this, but I’m afraid the NSA will forward my comments to the IRS, who will seize my bank account under asset-forfeiture laws and audit me to death, and to the TSA who will add me to the no-rights list – all without due process of law.

  3. TO Uncle Al

    Spoken like a true libertarian.

    You’re referring to absolutes, but humans just aren’t that way. Just about every law or principle has some exceptions of some sort or another under ceartain circumstance.

    That’s why anarchism and libertarianism fall flat much of the time when confronted with the gray zones/complexities of reality.

  4. “Expecting everyone to “reason” like a moral philosopher is based upon the assumption that everyone can. This of course is a rehash of the radical equality principle of all men and fails to recognise that some men are limited in reaching this level of cognition. (Note, it’s one of the ways mainstream Christianity inadvertently laid the groundwork for Liberalism.) So anyone pushing this agenda is, in a way, furthering the intellectual supposition that all men are cognitively equal.

    But suppose you do accept the fact that there is an inherent intellectual inequality amongst men, how then do you regulate public morality in such an environment, especially when asking men to act in a strongly counter-intuitive way? The only way to do so is by having a strong external apparatus, i.e. Church or State threatening to punish wayward behaviour. i.e. Big Brother. Furthermore, with the collapse of “cultural constraints” the void for regulating behviour needs to be assumed by the state, thus, radical liberalism necessitates a powerful state regulatory apparatus to provide a check against the intuitive tendencies of the masses.”

    Maggies Farm


  5. @Czar – Spoken like a true authoritarian. You evidently are sure your standards of behavior are better than mine and want to force me to act as you want. Go to Hell.

  6. Uncle Al, I agree with you as far as LAWS go: arbitrary application of LAW is tyranny.

    YOU were talking about PRINCIPLES, and I take that as a more philosophical theory/practice matter.

  7. Thanks for reprinting this, Fur. I’ll take the Sharon Statement and Buckley’s “white privilege” any day over the chaos and destruction that people like Barack Obama, Eric Holder, and Valerie Jarrett want to unleash upon the nation.

  8. @Czar – BFH titled his article “…Statement of Principles” and my comment was about the conflict between those principles and what has happened since then in the growth of govt power and intrusiveness. This:

    That when government ventures beyond these rightful functions, it accumulates power, which tends to diminish order and liberty;

    is part of that declaration, and it has not been a principle of action, only lip service. Many Reps and self-described conservatives have done nothing that I can see to stop much less roll back that accumulation, and I mentioned one particularly egregious case that entails multiple ways the fed govt assumed powers not granted in the Constitution, and that it was signed into law by a conservative/Rep president.

    I think you may well end up in Hell, but I won’t wish you there, so I take back and apologize for that last line. Just be careful when considering anything called a “principle” that establishes a malum prohibitum.

  9. “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” – Ronald Reagan.

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