Antidisestablishmentarianism Definition

Antidisestablishmentarianism can be defined as a point of view that dates back to the 19th century. It came from the British society as the opposition to the Church disestablishment proposals. The Church “disestablishment proposals” meant that the Anglican Church should lose the status of the state church of Ireland, Wales and England. This word was first used in 1838. William Gladstone was the first one to use the word. In England, the disestablishment was achieved, but in Ireland it came later, in 1871. In 1920, the disestablishment was maintained in Wales. However, the disestablishment debate is still on going. People who want to keep the establishment of the Church are known as Antidisestablishmentarians.

What Does “Antidisestablishmentarianism” Mean Today?

♦ Antidisestablishmentarianism is an interesting word. It has other meanings, too. It defines an attitude that the authorities and government of some country are exploitative and corrupted. As you can see, this word is used for describing political power in negative terms. It is understandable that Anti-establishmentarianism is often closely related to anarchism. However, these two words are not synonyms. There is something rebellious in both of these terms, but they are not the same.

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♦ If this sounds unclear, let us try explaining this differently. Anti-establishmentarianism had a goal to end the status that religion had in England during the 19th century. Antidisestablishmentarianism was created as a reaction to this point of view. So, we have Anti-establishmentarianism on one side and Antidisestablishmentarianism on the opposite side.

♦ Antidisestablishmentarianism can also be related to the Vietnam War and general frustration caused by this armed conflict. Young people were afraid that the state would send them to war, so this caused protests and anger in various forms. This led to Anti-establishmentarianism among people, especially young men. Antidisestablishmentarianism came into existence as a reaction to this point of view. During the decades that followed, Anti-establishmentarianism has been used to describe all kinds of rebellions against authorities and power structures of any country. Although these movements and ideas were commonly associated with young people, there were others who believed in these ideas, too. Some of the prominent members of intellectual elites used to believe in these ideas. We will not discuss this point of view itself – we are only here to explain the meaning of the term. Now you know what this long word means. As you can see, Antidisestablishmentarianism is more than just a long and funny word.

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