Feb 15, 2019
4:47 PM


[Politics]: Where do the terms "left-wing" and "right-wing" come from?

The French Revolution, in 1789.

The term "left-wing" and "right-wing" are based on the original seating arrangement of parliamentary partisans during the French Revolutionary Period. The term "leftists" during the French Revolution was largely associated with the bourgeois supporters of Laisses-faire capitalism and free markets. The "left" of 1789 in some ways would represent the present-day "right": liberal with respect to rights of property and intellect, but not embracing rights for organized labor, etc.

The "New Left" has taken on a new meaning since the 60's, encompassing movements such as the Greens, the Feminists, some labor unions, gay rights advocates, and civil rights groups.

The "right-wing" consisted of monarchists who sat at the right side of the legistative assemblies. Tradition, the means of preserving wealth, and national solidary and ambition are concerns typically associated with the right. Those on the right are sometimes called "reactionary", a term that first arose to refer to those that opposed the French Revolution itself.

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