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 the Estates General; 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 as well as more reformist movements like social democracy and social liberalism.[6][7]

See also


  1. T. Alexander Smith, Raymond Tatalovich. Cultures at war: moral conflicts in western democracies. Toronto, Canada: Broadview Press, Ltd, 2003. Pp 30.
  2. Left and right: the significance of a political distinction, Norberto Bobbio and Allan Cameron, pg. 37, University of Chicago Press, 1997.
  3. Andrew Knapp and Vincent Wright (2006). The Government and Politics of France, Routledge.
  4. Realms of memory: conflicts and divisions (1996), ed. Pierre Nora, "Right and Left" by Marcel Gauchet, p. 248
  5. Brooks, Frank H. (1994). The Individualist Anarchists: An Anthology of Liberty (1881–1908). Transaction Publishers. p. xi. "Usually considered to be an extreme left-wing ideology, anarchism has always included a significant strain of radical individualism...
  6. Van Gosse, The Movements of the New Left, 1950 - 1975: A Brief History with Documents, Palgrave Macmillan, 2005, ISBN 9781403968043
  7. Arnold, N. Scott (2009). Imposing values: an essay on liberalism and regulation, Florence: Oxford University Press. "Modern liberalism occupies the left-of-center in the traditional political spectrum and is represented by the Democratic Party in the United States, the Labor Party in the United Kingdom, and the mainstream Left (including some nominally socialist parties) in other advanced democratic societies."
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