Saturday, May 18, 2024

Why do left and right have political meaning?


VOA News: Why do left and right have political meaning?

The divide between left and right is one of the most fundamental markers in politics. But have you ever stopped to think about why we use those directional terms to describe ideological camps? This terminology traces back to the seating arrangements of French revolutionaries over 200 years ago.

Do you view politics from the left?  Or the right? 

How did directions get connected to political beliefs? 

In the beginning, it described where you sat. 

After the Revolution of 1789, the French National Assembly argued over a new constitution. 

Anti-royalist revolutionaries disagreed with conservative, aristocratic supporters of the monarchy. 

They arranged themselves in groups inside the assembly chamber -- revolutionaries on the left side of the presiding officer, conservatives on the right. 

The seating arrangement continued on and off over the years. 

But by the mid-1800s, journalists were using left and right as shorthand to describe political viewpoints. 

The practice continues to this day. 

Far left and far right depict political extremes, while centrists are moderates who take positions in the middle.

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