Etymology of Parties and their History

Click here for a related article on political classes in ancient Rome and in France

Ok, now for some more detail.

Tories Irish Catholics

1646 Tory - an Irish word for "pursuers and rebels". At war with the English rulers, having lost their homes. Between 200,000 and 500,000 people died in Ireland between 1641 and 1652 as clan fought clan, English, Scottish and other Irish, with very little honour shown. A most heart-rending time.

1680 UK term for the Jacobites, royal supporters of King James II (and his descendants), but at that time the Catholic duke of York.

1689 After the English, bloodless, revolution, this political party was composed, initially, of Yorkist Tories.

1769 US term for royalist colonists who supported King George III.

1783-1806 In the emotion of the French Revolution, UK Prime Minister Mr Pitt (and his friends) oppose the strictly partisan system of Whigs and Tories. Calling himself an "independent Whig", he supported Britain's limited constitutional monarchy, as well as country gentry, the merchant classes, and official administerial groups. Referred to as "new Tories".



1830 A UK newspaper suggestion: The Tories should be referred to as the Conservative Party.

1834 UK Conservative Party started under Sir Robert Peel to
(a) Preserve the prerogatives of the Crown
(b) Uphold the independence of the House of Lords
(c) Continue the union of Church and State



Whigs Scottish Presbyterians

1648 Whigs - a Scottish word from "Whiggamores" or "horse drovers". The word "whigga" means to urge forward, spoken to mares.
Refers to Scottish country peasants who were marching on Edinburgh in 1648.
At the time they were opposing Edinburgh city rulers who were aligning themselves with King Charles I, in the second English civil war between Charles and Oliver Cromwell down south. And they were successful.

1657 UK term for a parliamentary party favouring a limited constitutional monarchy, as opposed to a monarch's "absolute rule".

1689 After the English, bloodless, revolution, UK term for the party in opposition to the Tories, see comments above.

1768 US term for all American colonists opposed to the Crown policies of King George III.

1825 US term for all who were opposed to Andrew Jackson, dubbed by them as "King Andrew", seen by them as anti-modernist, being a military commander, a plantation and slave owner, founder of the Democratic Party, and US President 1829-1837.

1834 These US Whigs, in opposition, become a formal political party.


1854 And merge into the US Republican Party. Under their President Abraham Lincoln's 13th Amendment, in 1865, slavery is deemed unconstitutional and accordingly, illegal.



1839 Back to the UK (in 1839). The Whigs, now emphasizing "Free Trade", become the Liberal Party.


Over to Australia.

1889 Australian Free Trade Party.

1909 It evolves into the Australian Liberal Party.


1924 "Whig Historian" becomes a term for an historian who emphasizes progress and change, glorifying the present (and not so much the past).




Labour English Working Party

1869 In UK Labour Representation League formed to register the working class for voting, get workers into Parliament.

1888 Scottish Labour Party.

1893 UK Independent Labour Party.

1900 UK Labour Party.


In Australia

United Trades and Labour Councils in the various states discuss forming a political party.

1891 United Labour Parties thus form inside each state to represent the rights of their workers in Parliament.

1901 With Federation, Labour Party appointees unite to promote restricted immigration, a "White Australia" policy federally.

1915 In Queensland this united Labour Party, the ALP, win government and stay in power (except for 1929-1932) for the next 42 years.

1935 Printing workers campaign and establish a one week paid annual leave entitlement for all members of their union via the Australian Arbitration Commission. That's on top of the paid leave they receive on statutory holidays. Other unions campaign, and steadily get the same deal. So prices go up.

1945 Extended to two weeks paid annual leave in NSW by an act of NSW parliament.

1951 NSW Industrial Commission introduce legislated entitlements of paid sick leave and paid long service leave.

1957 Now comes a crunch time in Queensland. A Labour convention (in 1956) insists on all workers under state awards (in Qld) immediately receiving three weeks paid annual leave. There's been talk of Communist infiltration, the Premier (Vince Gair) opposes their timetable on economic and constitutional grounds, and despite a close vote, is expelled from the party. But having the unqualified support of nearly all his ministers he forms a new party, the Queensland Labour Party, and asks for a coalition with the opposition leader (Frank Nicklin).

The ALP members block monetary supply, and get Frank Nicklin's support, thus forming a majority. Unable to pay its bills, Queensland goes to an election, which both Vince Gair's party and the ALP lose. Frank Nicklin becomes premier for the next 10 years, followed shortly after by Joh Bjelke-Petersen for nearly another 20 years. Joh, a farmer, introduces a most popular taxation law, the abolition of Queensland's death duties in 1977, duly copied by the other states and the Federal Government.

Vince Gair's party meanwhile merges (in 1962) with a new Australian party, the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), of which he subsequently becomes leader. But he deserts them when offered an ambassadorship to Ireland in 1974. Prime Minister Gough Whitlam had been planning on replacing him with an ALP senator in the house, but his plan was thwarted by Joh in Queensland. Gough, frustrated, called a double dissolution, at which the DLP are annihilated. Click here for further background.

1963 Meanwhile back in 1963, the Federal Court legislates three weeks paid annual leave for all employees, regardless of industry. Prices continue to go up.

1964 The Public Service (in NSW) are granted four weeks paid annual leave.

1974 The Federal Commission under Gough Whitlam and the ALP sets four weeks paid annual leave (plus four weeks 17% loading) for all employees—non-casual, regardless of industry. Time of major inflation.

1989 The ALP win government in Queensland and continue to have the upper hand, except for two short periods (1996-1998) and (2012-2015).

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