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  • A pejorative term usually associated with ultraconservative political views. The term originated with the French Revolution (1789–1799), from the French réactionnaire, or reaction, to describe those who opposed the revolt. During the 18th century, reactionaries countered the French Revolution and fought for the return of a monarchical society. In the 19th century, reactionaries worked to restore the monarchy and the Church's power in state politics. In the 20th century, the opponents of socialism, communism, or other revolutionary forces, particularly in a European context, have been labeled reactionaries, whether rightly or not. Most recently, reactionary has been applied to proponents of radical, fundamental Islam.


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