Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, author, and has been named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Americans in the Twentieth Century. For over four decades Ralph Nader has exposed problems and organized millions of citizens into more than 100 public interest groups to advocate for solutions. His efforts have helped to create a framework of laws, regulatory agencies, and federal standards that have improved the quality of life for two generations of Americans.
Ralph Nader was born in Winsted, Connecticut on February 27, 1934, to Rose and Nathra Nader, immigrants from Lebanon. Ralph’s family owned and operated the Highland Arms, a restaurant and gathering place for members of their small community. Nader and his three siblings grew up in an environment where current events and politics were discussed both around the dinner table and with customers at the family restaurant.
In 1955 Ralph Nader received an AB magna cum laude from the Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs Princeton University, with a major in East Asian studies, which afforded him the opportunity to study Chinese and Russian. In 1958, he received a LLB with distinction from Harvard Law School. After a six-month spell in the Army in 1959, Ralph traveled through Latin America, Africa and Europe, where he gained first hand witness of the time’s great social struggles and interviewed world leaders as a freelance journalist.
He began practicing law in Hartford, Connecticut in 1959 and from 1961-63 he lectured on history and government at the University of Hartford.
In 1969, he helped found the Center for Study of Responsive Law (CSRL), a non-profit organization staffed mostly by college, graduate and law students. Those students became known as “Nader's Raiders” and studied and issued reports on a variety of consumer issues.
In his career as consumer advocate he founded many organizations including the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), the Center for Auto Safety, Public Citizen, Clean Water Action Project, the Disability Rights Center, the Pension Rights Center, the Project for Corporate Responsibility and The Multinational Monitor (a unique monthly magazine that keeps tabs on corporate behavior internationally).
After working for 40 years on behalf of the health, safety and economic well being of the American people, Nader took stock of the situation: “I don't like citizen groups being shut out by both parties in this city -- corporate occupied territory -- not having a chance to improve their country.”