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capitalization: political parties and movements

Adjectives and nouns referring to the ideas, actions, documents and members of specific political parties, movements and groups are capitalized. Capitalization often helps distinguish these terms from the same words used descriptively:

  • a Liberal policy paper (of the Liberal government or party)
  • New Democrats
  • a Progressive Conservative government (refers to the Progressive Conservative Party)


  • the liberal arts
  • a conservative on moral issues

Capitalize the word party when it is preceded by the official name of a political party, unless it is used as a generic term:

  • He was a member of the Social Democratic Party.
  • A new agrarian party was founded at the rally.

General terms describing political movements and their adherents are lower-cased unless they are derived from proper nouns:

  • fascism, fascist
  • democracy
  • Marxist
  • Thatcherite