World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Liberalism and radicalism in France

Article Id: WHEBN0000878143
Reproduction Date:

Title: Liberalism and radicalism in France  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Léon Pillet, Feuillant (political group), History of Haiti, Outline of France, Liberalism by country
Collection: Liberalism and Radicalism by Country, Political History of France, Politics of France
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Liberalism and radicalism in France

Liberalism and radicalism in France do not form the same type of ideology. In fact, the main line of conflict in France during the 19th century was between monarchist opponents of the Republic (mainly Legitimists and Orleanists, but also Bonapartists) and supporters of the Republic (Radical-Socialists, "Opportunist Republicans", and later Socialists). Thus, while the Orleanists favored constitutional monarchy and economic liberalism, they were opposed to the Republican Radicals.

However, the Republican, Radical and Radical-Socialist Party (now divided into the center-right Radical Party and the center-left Radical Party of the Left), and, above all, the Republican parties (Democratic Republican Alliance, Republican Federation, National Center of Independents and Peasants, Independent Republicans, Republican Party, Liberal Democracy) have since embraced liberalism, including in its economic version, and nowadays many of these components are active in the centre-right Union for a Popular Movement.


  • Background 1
  • Timeline 2
    • 19th Century 2.1
    • From the Republicans to Liberal Democracy 2.2
    • From the Radicals to the Radical Party 2.3
    • Rally of Left Republicans 2.4
    • Republican Centre 2.5
    • From Movement of Left Radicals to Radical Party of the Left 2.6
    • Liberals in the Union for a Popular Movement 2.7
    • Liberal Alternative 2.8
  • Liberal and radical leaders 3
  • Liberal thinkers 4
  • See also 5
  • External links 6


The early high points of liberalism in France were:

In France, as in much of Southern Europe, the word liberal was used during the 19th century either to refer to the traditional liberal anti-clericalism or to economic liberalism. Political liberalism in France was long associated more with the Orleanists and with Republicans in general, then with the Radical Party, leading to the use of the term radicals to refer to the political liberal tradition, and the centre-right Democratic Republican Alliance.

The French Radicals tended to be more statist than most European liberals, but shared the liberal values on other issues, in particular a strong support for individual liberty and secularism, while Republicans were more keen to economic liberalism and less enthusiastic for secularism.

After World War II, the Republicans gathered in the liberal-conservative National Center of Independents and Peasants, from which the conservative-liberal Independent Republicans was formed in 1962. The original centre-left Radical Party was a declining force in French politics until 1972 when it joined the centre-right, causing the split of the left-wing faction and the foundation of the Radical Party of the Left, closely associated to the Socialist Party. The former is now associated with the Union for a Popular Movement.

In 1978 both the Republican Party (successor of the Independent Republicans) and the Radical Party were founding components, alongside the Christian-democratic Democratic Centre, of the Union for French Democracy, an alliance of liberal, Christian democratic, and non-Gaullist centre-right forces.

The Republican Party, re-founded as Liberal Democracy and re-shaped as a free-market libertarian party, left the UDF in 1998 to form a separate party. It merged into the conservative Union for a Popular Movement, of which it represents the libertarian wing. In addition, the Radical Party left the UDF in 2002 in order to join the UMP, of which it is the main social-liberal component, as an associate party. In some ways, the Republican and the Radical traditions are now re-composed in the UMP, which embraces a soft form of neo-liberalism.


19th Century

  • 1818: Former Feuillants formed the party of the Democrats (Démocrates), also named Liberals (Libéraux)
  • 1848: A radical faction organised as the Radicals (Radicaux), which supported the French Second Republic against the liberal Orleanists.

From the Republicans to Liberal Democracy

From the Radicals to the Radical Party

Rally of Left Republicans

Republican Centre

  • 1956: Dissidents from the Radical Party formed the Republican Centre (Centre Républicain)
  • 1974: A faction returned to the Radical Party
  • 1978: The party disappeared

From Movement of Left Radicals to Radical Party of the Left

  • 1972: A left-wing faction of the Radical Party formed the Movement of Left Radicals (Mouvement des Radicaux de Gauche, MRG)
  • 1996: The group Reunite (Réunir) merged into the party, that is renamed Radical-Socialist Party (Parti Radical-Socialiste, PRS)
  • 1998: After another court order the party is renamed Radical Party of the Left (Parti Radical de Gauche, PRG)

Liberals in the Union for a Popular Movement

Liberal Alternative

  • 2006: Liberal Alternative (Alternative Libérale), a new autonomous party, is created by classic liberals.

Liberal and radical leaders

Liberal thinkers

In the Contributions to liberal theory the following French thinkers are included:

See also

External links

  • portail politique France Politique
  • interview to Gilles Richard, Professor of Contemporary history at Rennes
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.