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.


The early high points of liberalism in France were:
* the period from approximately 1790 to 1792 when the politics of the liberal Girondists and Feuillants dominated the early portion of the French Revolution.
* the Revolution of 1848. 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

*1901: The moderate-liberal Democratic Republican Alliance ("Alliance Républicaine Démocratique", ARD) is founded. The party quickly became the main center-right party of the Third Republic. In 1911, the party was renamed Democratic Republican Party ("Parti Républicain Démocratique", PRD), further renamed in 1920 as Social and Democratic Republican Party ("Parti Républicain Démocratique et Social", PRDS), and finally as the Democratic Alliance ("Alliance Démocratique", AD).
*1945: The moderate-liberal Republican Party of Freedom ("Parti Républicain de la Liberté ", PRL) is founded
*1948: The liberal-conservative National Centre of Independents and Peasants ("Centre National des Independants et Paysans", CNIP) is founded
*1949: PRL absorbed by the CNIP.
*1954: AD (which was by now micro-party) merges into the CNIP
*1962: The Independent Republicans ("Républicains indépendants", RI), led by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, left CNIP, after it decided to withdraw its support to President Charles de Gaulle. The Independent Republicans continued to support the Gaullist government until 1969.
*1977: RI was renamed the Republican Party ("Parti républicain", PR).
*1978: PR joined forces with the Christian-democratic Democratic and Social Centre, the Radical Party and the Social Democratic Party to form Union for French Democracy ("Union pour la démocratie française")
*1995: The Popular Party for French Democracy ("Parti populaire pour la démocratie française", PPDF) is formed by supporters of Giscard within the UDF (of which many Republicans).
*1997: Alain Madelin takes over the Republican Party and renames it Liberal Democracy ("Démocratie Libérale", DL).
*1998: DL separated from the UDF, while the members of DL who rejected the separation formed the Republican Independent and Liberal Pole ("Pôle républicain indépendant et libéral", PRIL), which remained loyal to the UDF.
*2002: DL and PPDF merged with the conservative Rally for the Republic to form the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), the main French right-wing party.

From the Radicals to the Radical Party

*1848: A Radical faction of the Democrats formed the Radicals ("Radicaux")
*1901: The Radicals organised themselves in the Republican, Radical and Radical-Socialist Party ("Parti Républicain Radical et Radical-Socialiste", Rad)
*1956: Dissidents formed the Republican Centre and the Rally of the Republican Lefts
*1961: Pierre Mendès-France, one of the main figure of the Radical Party who put an end to the Indochina War and was opposed to the Algerian War (1954-62), joined the Unified Socialist Party (PSU), a socialist party in favor of workers' self-management ("autogestion")
*1972: A left-wing faction formed the Movement of Left Radicals
*1978: The party became an affiliated member of the centrist UDF
*2002: The party became an affiliated member of the conservative UMP

Rally of Left Republicans

*1956: Dissidents from the Radical Party formed the Rally of the Republican Lefts ("Rassemblement des Gauchs Républicains")
*1959: The party merged into the Gaullist Union for the New Republic ("Union pour la Nouvelle République")

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

*2002: The Union for a Popular Movement was founded, with the merge of Liberal Democracy and of the Radical Party, so that UMP includes many liberals: on one side those of the ⇒ Republican tradition (re-grouped in various factions, open also to ex-RPR politicians: The Reformers Hervé Novelli and Gérard Longuet, the "Liberal Clubs] " of Alain Madelin, "Liberal Generation" of Pierre Lellouche and the Free Right of Rachid Kaci), on the other the Radicals and other social-liberals.

Liberal Alternative

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

Liberal and radical leaders

*19th century: Marie-Joseph Marquis de Lafayette, Benjamin Constant de Rebecque, François Guizot, Adolphe Thiers, Jules Grévy, Léon Gambetta
*Democratic Republican Alliance: Emile Loubet, Armand Fallières, Paul Deschanel, Raymond Poincaré, Louis Barthou, Albert Lebrun, André Tardieu, André Maginot, Pierre-Étienne Flandin
*Republican, Radical and Radical-Socialist Party / Radical Party: Émile Combes, Georges Clemenceau, Joseph Caillaux, Gaston Doumergue, Albert Sarraut, Edouard Herriot, Henri Queuille, Edouard Daladier, Camille Chautemps, René Mayer, Gaston Monnerville, André Marie, Pierre Mendès-France, Edgar Faure, Maurice Bourgès-Maunoury, Françoise Giroud, Gabriel Péronnet, Félix Gaillard, Maurice Faure, Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber, André Rossinot, Jean-Paul Alduy, Yves Galland, Didier Bariani, Jean-Louis Borloo, Thierry Cornillet, François Loos, Serge Lepeltier, Renaud Dutreil
*National Centre of Independents and Peasants: Paul Reynaud (ex-ARD), René Coty (ex-Rad), Joseph Laniel (ex-ARD), Antoine Pinay (ex-ARD), Roger Duchet, Paul Antier
*Independent Republicans / Republican Party / Liberal Democracy: Louis Jacquinot (ex-CNIP), Raymond Mondon (ex-CNIP), Raymond Marcellin (ex-CNIP), Jean de Broglie (ex-CNIP), Michel Poniatowski (ex-CNIP), Valéry Giscard d'Estaing (ex-CNIP), Simone Veil, Jean-Pierre Soisson, François Léotard, Gérard Longuet, Alain Madelin
*Movement of Left Radicals / Radical-Socialist Party / Left Radical Party: Robert Fabre (ex-Rad), Michel Crépeau (ex-Rad), Émile Zuccarelli, Roger-Gérard Schwartzenberg, Yvon Collin, Jean-Michel Baylet
*Union for a Popular Movement (liberal wings): Patrick Devedjian, Jean-Claude Gaudin (ex-PR/DL), Jean-Pierre Raffarin (ex-PR/DL), Hervé Novelli (ex-PR/DL), Claude Goasguen (ex-DL), Pierre Lellouche (ex-DL), Jean-Pierre Gorges (ex-DL), Jean-Luc Roméro (ex-Rad), Rachid Kaci (ex-DL)
*Union for French Democracy: Gilles de Robien (ex-PR/DL/PRIL), Hervé Morin (ex-PR/DL/PRIL)

Liberal thinkers

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

*Voltaire (1694-1778)
*Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)
*Denis Diderot (1713-1784)
*Charles de Montesquieu (1689-1755)
*Marquis de Condorcet (1743-1794)
*Benjamin Constant (1767-1830)
*Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850)
*Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)
*Émile Durkheim (1858-1917)
*Raymond Aron (1905-1983)

ee also

* History of France
* Politics of France
* List of political parties in France

External links

* [ portail politique France Politique]
* [,18262,en.pdf interview to Gilles Richard, Professor of Contemporary history at Rennes]

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