Contract with America
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Not to be confused with the Contract from America, 2010.
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The Contract with America was a document released by the United States Republican Party during the 1994 Congressional election campaign. Written by Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey, and in part using text from former President Ronald Reagan's 1985 State of the Union Address, the Contract detailed the actions the Republicans promised to take if they became the majority party in the United States House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. Many of the Contract's policy ideas originated at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
The Contract with America was introduced six weeks before the 1994 Congressional election, the first mid-term election of President Bill Clinton's Administration, and was signed by all but two of the Republican members of the House and all of the Party's non-incumbent Republican Congressional candidates.
Proponents say the Contract was revolutionary in its commitment to offering specific legislation for a vote, describing in detail the precise plan of the Congressional Representatives, and broadly nationalizing the Congressional election. Furthermore, its provisions represented the view of many conservative Republicans on the issues of shrinking the size of government, promoting lower taxes and greater entrepreneurial activity, and both tort reform and welfare reform. Critics of the Contract describe it as a political ploy and election tool designed to have broad appeal while masking the Republicans' real agenda and failing to provide real legislation or governance.
The 1994 elections resulted in Republicans gaining 54 House and 9 U.S. Senate seats. When the Republicans gained this majority of seats in the 104th Congress, the Contract was seen as a triumph by party leaders such as Minority Whip Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey, and the American conservative movement in general.more » « less