Left-wing politics

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In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist are generally used to describe support for social change to create a more egalitarian society.[1][2] The terms Left and Right were coined during the French Revolution, referring to the seating arrangement in parliament; those who sat on the left generally supported the radical changes of the revolution, including the creation of a republic and secularization.[3]

Use of the term Left became more prominent after the restoration of the French monarchy in 1815 when it was applied to the "Independents".[4] The term was then applied to a number of revolutionary movements, especially socialism, anarchism[5] and communism. The term is also used to describe social democracy and social liberalism.[6][7]


History of the term

In politics the term left wing derives from the French Revolution, as radical Montagnard and Jacobin deputies from the Third Estate generally sat to the left of the president's chair, a habit which began in the Estates General of 1789. Throughout the 19th century, the main line dividing Left and Right in France was between supporters of the Republic and those of the Monarchy.[3] The June Days Uprising during the Second Republic was an attempt by the left to assert itself after the 1848 Revolution, but few of the (still predominantly rural) population supported them.

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