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IN THE 19th century, social democracy was widely associated with radical or revolutionary socialist parties and political movements, many of which actually included the term social democracy in their names. In Britain for example, a Social Democratic Federation was established in 1884, explicitly based on the theories of Karl Marx, as was the Social Democratic Party that was formed in Germany in 1875. Many other European social democratic parties, such as those formed in Austria and Scandinavia during this period, were also strongly imbued with Marxist ideology.

However, during the 20th century, social democracy dispensed with its Marxist precepts, and thereby consciously was transformed into a moderate, anti-revolutionary, ultra-constitutional, political philosophy, and array of left-of-center political parties. Indeed, so moderate has European social democracy become that ...

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