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The Netherlands
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Politics and government of
the Netherlands



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The Christian-Historical Union (CHU) was a Dutch Protestant political party. It was created by several groups which had earlier seceded from the Anti Revolutionary Party (ARP). These groups opposed universal suffrage.

Voters of the CHU mainly came from the Dutch Reformed Church, the voters of the ARP also came from this church. The main difference between the CHU and the ARP was that the CHU was loose group of parliamentarians and the ARP was much more organized. The CHU parliamentarians were not held to party discipline, for instance.

In 1973 the CHU, the ARP and the Catholic's People's Party (KVP) united in form the Christian-Democratic Appeal (CDA), which remains a major party in Dutch politics.

[edit] Party History

[edit] Before 1940

The CHU was founded on July 9 1908 as union of two Protestant parties: the Christian-Historical Party and the Frisian Christian-Historical Union. The two groups had seceded from the ARP, the leading Protestant party of the time. Suffrage was a major issue within the ARP, which took a position in favor of universal male suffrage. However, many members, especially those with an aristocratic background opposed the party on this subject, and formed regional groups and parliamentary clubs which later united in the CHU under leadership of Alexander de Savorin-Lohmann.

Many members also opposed the strict leadership of the ARP under Kuyper and wanted to move away from party discipline. Therefore the CHU was not organized as a party but as union of parliamentarians.

The party was based around Protestant-Christian principles. It opposed divorce and disturbance of the Sabbath and promoted government funding of Christian religious schools. This was combined with an emphasis on the historical development of the Dutch state. Limited suffrage and the monarchy were seen as important parts of this history. The name was derived from this: the party was Christian and historical. Before the CHU's foundation, the ARP also flirted with this name.

Unlike the ARP, Catholics, and the Sociaal Democratische Arbeiders Partij the CHU was not linked own pillar. Rather it appealed to unaffiliated conservative Protestants. It had good relations with organizations that were part of the ARP's pillar, like the Protestant radio and television broadcaster, the Dutch Christian Radio Association.

Although the CHU was seceded for the ARP, and many of its member were anti-Catholic, the CHU still cooperated with ARP and the Roman Catholic RKSP, as they were the only Christian parties in parliament. This alliance was called the 'Coalition'. They formed cabinets together in which the CHU, although the smallest of the three, held prominent posts. In the early years the coalition mainly campaigned for government funding for Christian schools. In 1917 this was realized. The Coalition remained and until the Second World War, they were the core of all cabinets. Two cabinets were led by the leader of the CHU, De Geer: the period 1926-29 and 1939-40. Both cabinets were 'extra-parliamentary' cabinets in time of political turmoil and De Geer was asked to head these cabinets because he was seen as reliable, stable politician.

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Important Documents

Rerum Novarum (1891)
Stone Lectures (Princeton 1898)
Graves de Communi Re (1901)
Quadragesimo Anno (1931)
Laborem Exercens (1981)
Sollicitudi Rei Socialis (1987)
Centesimus Annus (1991)

Important Figures

Thomas Aquinas · John Calvin
Pope Leo XIII · Abraham Kuyper
Maritain · Adenauer · De Gasperi
Pope Pius XI · Schuman
Pope John Paul II · Kohl

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[edit] After 1945

After World War II, prominent politicians of the CHU wanted to end the pillarization of Dutch politics. Some wanted to unite the CHU with the ARP, others joined the new social democratic Labour Party (PvdA).

The CHU returned to government in 1948, as a junior partner in a 'broad coalition' with the Catholic KVP and the PvdA. The ARP was held out of this coalition because it opposed the independence of Indonesia. The CHU was divided on this issue. During the 1960s, votes for the CHU began to decline as many voters were opposed to its conservative policies and its unwillingness to adapt to the new political situation (much unlike the ARP).

The CHU was in nearly all governments between 1948 and 1972; it was always joined by the KVP and the ARP. This cooperation led to the foundation of the CDA in 1973, this united the three Christian democratic parties which had worked together closely since their foundation. In 1980 the party ceased to exist. Unlike the ARP and the KVP the CHU was unable to leave a mark on the CDA.

 

Historic political parties in the Netherlands
Catholic: General League, Roman Catholic People's Party, Roman-Catholic State Party, Catholic People's Party, Catholic National Party, Political Party Radicals, Roman Catholic Party Netherlands
Liberal: Liberal Union, Radical League, Free-thinking Democratic League, League of Free Liberals, Liberal Party, Economic League, Middle Class Party, Neutral Party, Liberal State Party, Freedom Party
Reformed: Anti Revolutionary Party, Christian Historical Voters' League, Free Anti Revolutionary Party, Christian Historical Party, Frisian League, Christian Historical Union, League of Christian Socialists, Christian Democratic Party, Christian Social Party, Christian Democratic Union, Reformed Reformed State Party, Reformed Political Alliance, Reformatory Political Federation, Evangelical People's Party
Communist, Socialist and Social-Democratic: Social Democratic League, Social Democratic Workers' Party, Communist Party of the Netherlands, Socialist Party, Revolutionary Socialist Party, Pacifist Socialist Party, Democratic Socialists '70
Other: Alliance for the Democratization of the Army, Peasants' League, Middle Party for City and Country, Alliance for National Reconstruction, National Socialist Movement, Farmers' Party, New Middle Party, Centre Party, Centre Democrats, General Elderly Alliance, Union 55+, Livable Netherlands
nl:Christelijk-Historische Unie

Christian Historical Union

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