Left Wing, Right Wing–Meaning What?

Politics being one of the main themes on this blog, I think it is helpful now and then to cut through the jargon and remind ourselves of what some key terms mean and where they come from in history. For example, Left, Right, Left Wing, Right Wing are terms that get tossed around so often that they become like the wallpaper that we stop noticing.

While I don’t recommend Wikipedia as the ultimate source of information, there is a useful backgrounder on the terms Left and Right at Wikipedia.com. Looking back to the seating in the French legislature of 1789, the terms refer to  “supporters of the king” on the right side of the chamber and “supporters of the revolution” on the left. Switch that to Trump (right) and The Resistance (left) today and you can see the lineage. Independents sit in the middle, I guess.

The terms “left” and “right” appeared during the French Revolution of 1789 when members of the National Assembly divided into supporters of the king to the president’s right and supporters of the revolution to his left.[7] One deputy, the Baron de Gauville, explained: “We began to recognize each other: those who were loyal to religion and the king took up positions to the right of the chair so as to avoid the shouts, oaths, and indecencies that enjoyed free rein in the opposing camp”.[8] However, the Right opposed the seating arrangement because they believed that deputies should support private or general interests but should not form factions or political parties. The contemporary press occasionally used the terms “left” and “right” to refer to the opposing sides.

. . .

Generally, the left-wing is characterized by an emphasis on

“ideas such as libertyequalityfraternityrightsprogress,

reform and internationalism“, while the right-wing is characterized

by an emphasis on “notions such as authorityhierarchyorderduty,

tradition, reaction and nationalism

Here’s the link:



One Response to Left Wing, Right Wing–Meaning What?

  1. C R Krieger says:

    With the rise of Antifa, I tend to think of the “Right” as the defenders of free speech.

    Regards  —  Cliff