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Americans for Democratic Action
Formation 1947
Headquarters Washington D.C.
Membership 65,000 members
President Lynn Woolsey

Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) is an American political organization advocating progressive policies. ADA works for social and economic justice through lobbying, grassroots organizing, research and supporting progressive candidates.

History The ADA grew out of a predecessor group, the Union for Democratic Action (UDA). The UDA was formed by former members of the Socialist Party of America and Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies as well as labor union leaders, liberal politicians, theologians, and others who were opposed to the pacifism adopted by most left-wing political organizations in the late 1930s and early 1940s.[1][2] It supported a strongly interventionist, internationalist foreign policy and a pro-union, liberal domestic policy. It was strongly anti-communist as well.[2][3] It undertook a major effort to support left-wing Democratic members of Congress in 1946, but this effort was an overwhelming failure.[3][4][5]

James Isaac Loeb (later an ambassador and diplomat in the John F. Kennedy administration), the UDA's executive director, advocated disbanding the UDA and forming a new, more broadly-based, mass-membership organization.[6][7] The ADA was formed on January 4, 1947, and the UDA shuttered.[4][7][8] ADA's leaders considered communism (especially as practiced in the Soviet Union) to be both morally wrong and a threat to the United States.[citation needed]

Founding members included:

  • Reinhold Niebuhr
  • Hubert Humphrey
  • John Kenneth Galbraith
  • Joseph P. Lash
  • Walter Reuther
  • Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
  • Wilson W. Wyatt

Over its 60-year history, ADA played a role in many major American movements—civil rights, women's rights, opposition to the Vietnam and Iraq wars—while supporting legislation that resulted from these movements.[citation needed]

Voting records[]

ADA ranks legislators, identifies key policy issues, and tracks how members of Congress vote on these issues. The annual ADA Voting Record gives each member a rating from 0, meaning complete disagreement with ADA policies, to 100, meaning complete agreement with ADA policies. A score of 0 is considered conservative and a score 100 is considered liberal.


  1. Zuckerman, The Wine of Violence: An Anthology on Anti-Semitism, 1947, p. 220; Parmet, The Master of Seventh Avenue: David Dubinsky and the American Labor Movement, 2005, p. 214, ISBN 0-8147-6711-7; Boyle, The UAW and the Heyday of American Liberalism, 1945-1968, 1998, p. 49, ISBN 0-8014-8538-X; Brown, Niebuhr and His Age: Reinhold Niebuhr's Prophetic Role and Legacy, 2002, p. 102, ISBN 1563383756; Ceplair, "The Film Industry's Battle Against Left-Wing Influences, From the Russian Revolution to the Blacklist," Film History, 2008, 400-401; Libros, Hard Core Liberals: A Sociological Analysis of the Philadelphia Americans for Democratic Action, 1975, p. 13, ISBN 0870731483.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Brock, Americans for Democratic Action: Its Role in National Politics, 1962, p. 49.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Powers, Not Without Honor: The History of American Anticommunism, 1998, p. 200-201, ISBN 0-300-07470-0.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Davis, The Civil Rights Movement, 2000, p. 27, ISBN ISBN 0-631-22043-7.
  5. Halpern, UAW Politics in the Cold War Era, 1988, p. 138-139, ISBN 0887066712.
  6. Beinart, The Good Fight: Why Liberals—and Only Liberals—Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again, 2007, p. 4, ISBN 9780522853834.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Libros, Hard Core Liberals: A Sociological Analysis of the Philadelphia Americans for Democratic Action, 1975, p. 22, ISBN 0870731483.
  8. Hambly, "The Liberals, Truman, and the FDR as Symbol and Myth," The Journal of American History, March 1970; Heale, American Anticommunism: Combating the Enemy Within, 1830-1970, 1990, p. 140, ISBN 0-8018-4050-3.

External links[]

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