You are on page 1of 7

Radicalism (historical

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For opposition to all forms of government, social hierarchy or authority, see Anarchism.
For other uses, see Radical, Extremism, Far-right and Far-left. Radicalism as a political
movement should be distinguished from the modern usage of the word "radical" to denote
political extremes of right or left.
Part of a series on







Liberal feminism
Liberal internationalism


Radical centrism


Some radicals sought republicanism. eventually became the most important party of the Third Republic (1871–1940).4 Chartists o 1. [circular definition] [citation needed] Contents [hide]  1 United Kingdom o 1. Historically. redistribution ofproperty and freedom of the press.Organizations[show]  Liberalism portal  Politics portal  V  T  E The term "Radical" (from the Latin radix meaning root) during the late 18th-century identified proponents of the Radical Movement. the Legitimists and theBonapartists). initially identifying itself as a far-left party opposed to more right-wing parties (such as the Orléanists. abolition of titles. Radicalism began in theUnited Kingdom with political support for a "radical reform" of the electoral system to widenthe franchise. the Republican. In France in the nineteenth century.3 Political reform o 1.2 Popular agitation o 1. in the later 19th century in both the United Kingdom and in continental Europe the term "Radical" came to denote a progressive liberal ideology. As historical Radicalism became absorbed in the development of political liberalism.5 Liberal reforms  2 France  3 Serbia and Montenegro  4 Continental Europe and Latin America  5 Radicalism and liberalism  6 See also  7 References  8 External links United Kingdom[edit] . Radical and Radical‐Socialist Party.1 Origins o 1.

with the first Radicals. The writings of what became known as the "Radical Whigs" had an influence on the American Revolution. angry at the state of the House of Commons. Although the Glorious Revolution of 1688 had increased parliamentary power with a constitutional monarchy and the union of the parliaments brought England and Scotland together. the secret ballot and manhoodsuffrage. The "Middlesex radicals" were led by the politician John Wilkes. Discontent with these inequities inspired those individuals who later became known as the "Radical Whigs". These earlier concepts of democratic and even egalitarian reform had emerged in the turmoil of the English Civil War and the brief establishment of the republican Commonwealth of England amongst the vague political grouping known as the Levellers. More respectable "philosophical radicals" followed the utilitarian philosophy of Jeremy Bentham and strongly supported parliamentary reform. and in 1776 earned the title of the "Father of Reform" when he published his pamphlet Take Your Choice! advocating annual parliaments. At general elections the vote was restricted to property owners. This led to a general use of the term to identify all supporting the movement for parliamentary reform. even as the American Revolutionary War began. but were generally hostile to the arguments and tactics of the "popular radicals". in constituencies which were out of date and did not reflect the growing importance of manufacturing towns or shifts of population. while major cities remained unrepresented. The Society for the Defence of the Bill of Rights he started in 1769 to support his re‐election developed the belief that every man had the right to vote and "natural reason" enabling him to properly judge political issues. so that in many rotten borough seats could be bought or were controlled by rich landowners. and along with the county association of Yorkshire led by the Reverend Christopher Wyvill were at the forefront of reform activity.According to Encyclopædia Britannica the first use of the word "Radical" in a political sense is generally ascribed to the English Whigparliamentarian Charles James Fox. Fox declared for a "radical reform" of the electoral system. Liberty consisted in frequent elections. William Beckford fostered early interest in reform in the London area. an opponent of war with the colonies who started his weekly publication The North Briton in 1764 and within two years had been charged withseditious libel and expelled from the House of Commons. but once elected formed shifting coalitions of interests rather than splitting along party lines. drawing on the Leveller tradition and similarly demanding improved parliamentary representation. Initially confined to the upper and middle classes. . Middlesex andWestminster were among the few parliamentary constituencies with a large and socially diverse electorate including many artisans as well as the middle class and aristocracy. Candidates for the House of Commons stood as Whigs or Tories. eventually achieving reform of the electoral system. For the first time middle‐class radicals obtained the backing of the London "mob". but with the English Restoration of the monarchy such ideas had been discredited. Major John Cartwright also supported the colonists. towards the end of the 18th century the monarch still had considerable influence over the Parliament of Great Britain which itself was dominated by the English aristocracy and by patronage. in the early 19th century "popular radicals" brought artisans and the "labouring classes" into widespread agitation in the face of harsh government repression. [citation needed] [citation needed] [citation needed] Origins[edit] The Radical movement had its beginnings at a time of tension between the American colonies and Great Britain. In 1797. By the middle of the century parliamentary Radicals joined with others in the Parliament of the United Kingdom to form the Liberal Party.

and at political meetings speakers like Henry Hunt complained that only three men in a hundred . dismissed the government and appointed William Pitt the Younger as his Prime Minister. named after the English Civil WarParliamentary leader John Hampden. Popular Radicals were quick to go further than Paine. but some radicals continued in secret. The theoretical basis for electoral reform was provided by "Philosophical radicals" who followed the utilitarian philosophy of Jeremy Bentham and strongly supported parliamentary reform. and put forward by a sub‐committee of the electors of Westminster. another supporter of Price. The corresponding societies ended. In November 1783 he took his opportunity and used his influence in the House of Lords to defeat a Bill to reform the British East India Company. The American Revolutionary War ended in humiliating defeat of a policy which King George III had fervently advocated. They issued a manifesto demanding universal male suffrage with annual elections and expressing their support for the principles of the French Revolution. Different strands of the movement developed. Mary Wollstonecraft. The government reacted harshly. but for the first time working men were organising for political change. Popular agitation[edit] In the wake of the French Revolution. with Irish sympathisers in particular forming secret societies to overturn the government and encourage mutinies. temporarily suspending habeas corpus in England and passing theSeditious Meetings Act 1795 which meant that a license was needed for any meeting in a public place consisting of fifty or more people. Proposals Pitt made in April 1785 to redistribute seats from the "rotten boroughs" to London and the counties were defeated in the House of Commons by 248 votes to 174. with middle class "reformers" aiming to widen the franchise to represent commercial and industrial interests and towns without parliamentary representation. The publications ofWilliam Cobbett were influential. and in March 1782 the King was forced to appoint an administration led by his opponents which sought to curb Royal patronage. and most wanted reform rather than revolution. In 1812 Major John Cartwright formed the first Hampden Club. Pitt had previously called for Parliament to begin to reform itself. The numbers involved in these movements were small. such as the London Corresponding Society of artisans formed in January 1792 under the leadership of the shoemaker Thomas Hardy to call for the vote. while "Popular radicals" drawn from the middle class and from artisansagitated to assert wider rights including relieving distress.In 1780 a draft programme of reform was drawn up by Charles James Fox and Thomas Brand Hollis. aiming to bring together middle class moderates and lower class radicals. After the Napoleonic Wars. soon followed with A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. One such was the Scottish Friends of the People society which in October 1793 held aBritish Convention in Edinburgh with delegates from some of the English corresponding societies. This included calls for the six points later adopted in the People's Charter (see Chartists below). Throughout the Napoleonic Wars the government took extensive stern measures against feared domestic unrest. and all forms of privilege. imprisoning leading Scottish radicals. They encouraged mass support for democratic reform along with rejection of the monarchy. aristocracy. but he did not press for long for reforms the King did not like. the Corn laws (in force between 1815 and 1846) and bad harvests fostered discontent. Thomas Paine wrote The Rights of Man (1791) as a response to Burke's counterrevolutionary essayReflections on the Revolution in France (1790). itself an attack on Richard Price's sermon that kicked off the so-called "pamphlet war" known as the Revolution Controversy. Radical organisations sprang up. with Newcastle schoolmaster Thomas Spence demanding land nationalisation to redistribute wealth in a penny periodical he called Pig's Meat in a reference to Edmund Burke's phrase "swinish multitude". but were generally hostile to the arguments and tactics of the "popular radicals".

Radical riots in 1816 and 1817 were followed by thePeterloo massacre of 1819 publicised by Richard Carlile who then continued to fight for press freedom from prison. In Scotland agitation over three years culminated in an attempted general strike and abortive workers' uprising crushed by government troops in the "Radical War" of 1820. mass meetings of "political unions" and riots in some cities. but their mass demonstrations and petitions to parliament were unsuccessful. but failed to meet radical demands. Westminster elected two radicals to Parliament during the 1820s. . This now enfranchised the middle classes. equal‐sized electoral districts. abandoning policies of repression. an end to property qualification for Parliament.had the vote. Demand for parliamentary reform increased by 1864 with agitation from John Bright and the Reform League. secret ballot. The Whigs introduced reforming measures owing much to the ideas of the philosophic radicals. which called for six points: Universal suffrage. as well as an increased number of middle class Whigs. By 1839 they were informally being called "the Liberal party. radicals supportedLamarckian Evolutionism. Magistrates powers were increased to crush demonstrations by manufacturers and action by radical Luddites. Following the 1832 Reform Act the mainly aristocratic Whigs in the House of Commons were joined by a small number ofparliamentary Radicals. Political reform[edit] Economic conditions improved after 1821 and the United Kingdom government made economic and criminal law improvements. pay for Members of Parliament and Annual Parliaments. The Whigs gained power and despite defeats in the House of Commons and the House of Lords the Reform Act 1832 was put through with the support of public outcry. Liberal reforms[edit] The parliamentary Radicals joined with the Whigs and anti-protectionist Tory Peelites to form the Liberal Party by 1859. In 1823 Jeremy Bentham co‐founded the Westminster Review with James Mill as a journal for "philosophical radicals". Writers like the radicals William Hone and Thomas Jonathan Wooler spread dissent with publications such as The Black Dwarf in defiance of a series of government acts to curb circulation of political literature. setting out the utilitarian philosophy that right actions were to be measured in proportion to the greatest good they achieved for the greatest number. after their failure their cause was taken up by the middle class Anti-Corn Law League founded by Richard Cobden and John Bright in 1839 to oppose duties on imported grain which raised the price of food and so helped landowners at the expense of ordinary people. Chartists also expressed economic grievances. Despite initial disagreements. The Six Acts of 1819 limited the right to demonstrate or hold public meetings. abolishing slavery and in 1834 introducing Malthusian Poor Law reforms which were bitterly opposed by "popular radicals" and writers like Thomas Carlyle." Chartists[edit] Main article: Chartism From 1836 working class Radicals unified around the Chartist cause of electoral reform expressed in the People's Charter drawn up by six members of Parliament and six from the London Working Men's Association (associated with Owenite Utopian socialism). To counter the established Church of England doctrine that the aristocratic social order was divinely ordained. a theme proclaimed by street corner agitators as well as some established scientists such as Robert Edmund Grant.

never considered themselves to be anything other than Radicals. opposed to the "Republican opportunists" (Gambetta). Radical and RadicalSocialist Party. calling themselves Radicals claimed to be the true heirs of the French revolutionary tradition and drifted away from the moderate republicanism of Léon Gambetta. while the Radical Party split into the more conservative Radical Party "valoisien". which claims to be the political heir of the Republican Radicals. led by Georges Clemenceau. and were labeled Lib-Lab candidates. Republicans therefore tended to call themselves "radicals" and the term came to mean a republican (who. The Tories under Lord Derby and Benjamin Disraeli took office. named the Radical Party of the Left. supported universal manhood suffrage). Opposing Gaullism and the Christian democratic People's Republican Movement (MNR). the Legitimists (both monarchist factions) and the Bonapartists. the socialist French Section of the Workers' International(SFIO) party was formed by the fusion of Jean Jaurès's and Jules Guesde's rival tendencies. Serbia and Montenegro[edit] Main article: Liberalism and radicalism in Serbia . then with the conservative Union for a Popular Movement (UMP). it was defeated by both Tories and reform Liberals. and the new government decided to "dish the Whigs" and "take a leap in the dark" to take the credit for the reform. Radical trade unionists formed the basis for what later became the Labour Party. which was the first French left-wing modern political party. the legal successor of the Radical Party. The Radicals. At that time. Pierre Mendès-France tried to anchor the Radicals to the political left. the liberal Orléanists. At Montmartre in 1881 they put forward a programme of broad social reforms. has close ties to the Socialist Party. it was illegal. to give it its full name) in 1901. technically. The Democratic and Socialist Union of the Resistance was established after World War II to combine the politics of French radicalism with credibility derived from members' activism in the French resistance. he finally left the party in 1961 to join the Unified Socialist Party (PSU) which advocatedworkers' selfmanagement. The Parti radical valoisien moved to the centre-right and affiliated itself first with the pro-Giscard d'Estaing Union for French Democracy. a faction. As a minority government they had to accept radical amendments. British trade unionists from 1874 until 1892. and Disraeli's Reform Act 1867 almost doubled the electorate. Four years later. and a faction advocating alliance with the centre-left. by definition. giving the vote even to working men. but was discredited after the war due to the role of Radical members of the National Assembly in voting for the establishment of the Vichy regime. forcing the government to resign. to advocate republicanism openly.When the Liberal government led by Lord Russell and William Ewart Gladstone introduced a modest bill for parliamentary reform. and the French Communist Party (PCF) was created in 1920. France[edit] Main article: Radical Party (France) Following the Napoleonic Wars and until 1848. These radicals then formed the Radical-Socialist Party (or Republican. earned a deeply loyal following. From 1869. Radicals located themselves on the far left of the political board. upon being elected to Parliament. having been strenuous in their efforts on behalf of the working classes. The Radical -Socialist Party continued to be the main party of the Third Republic (1871–1940). while the Radical Party of the Left. Although he managed to put an end to the First Indochina War through the Geneva Accords signed in 1954 with North Vietnam's Premier Pham Van Dong.