The terms 'left' and 'right' in politics originated at the time of the French Revolution (1789). In the French National Assembly, supporters of the king sat on the right of the president and supporters of the revolution sat on the left.


The differences between 'left' and 'right' have altered over time.


Traditionally the 'left-wing' supports the lower economic or social classes and the 'right-wing' became the party associated with the interests of the upper classes. The 'centre' defended the middle classes.


The 'left-wing' has been associated with ideas such as freedom, equality, rights, progress and reform. The 'right-wing' is characterized by an emphasis on authority, hierarchy, order, duty and tradition.


The terms 'far-left', 'centre-left', 'centre-right' and 'far-right' are often used. The 'far-left' is usually associated with communism and the 'far-right' with fascism.


In the U.S. the terms 'left-wing' and 'right-wing' are generally associated with 'liberal' and 'conservative' ideologies respectively although the meanings of the two sets of terms do not entirely coincide. 'Left-wing' is regarded as supporting social policies that appeal to the working class and multiculturalism; this is often identified with the Democratic party.


Where does the 'populist' movement fit in?

Populism claims to represent the common people. It is a belief in the power of regular people and their right to have control over their government rather than a small group of political insiders or a wealthy elite. It is a movement initiated by the people to bring some change in the existing government.


Populism has taken left-wing, right-wing and even centrist forms as well as forms of politics that bring together groups and individuals of diverse partisan views.


Source: various online sources.