The Anti Revolutionary Party (in Dutch: Anti-Revolutionaire Partij, ARP) was a Dutch Protestant Christian democratic political party. The ARP is one of the predecessors of the Christian Democratic Appeal. Although after 1917 the party never received more than twenty percent of the vote, its influence was far greater.
An important issue was public education, which in the view of the anti-revolutionairies should be Protestant-Christian in nature. The anti-revolutionaries had ties with the April movement, which opposed the official re-establishment of Roman-Catholic bishoprics, and a mixed relationship with (liberal-)conservatives in the Tweede Kamer, who also opposed reforms to the social and political system but often on basis of a mix of liberal Protestantism and secular humanism. During the 1860s Groen van Prinsterer became more isolated from his conservative allies. He also began to reformulate his Protestant-Christian ideals, and began to plead for "souvereiniteit in eigen kring" (sphere sovereignty) instead of theocracy. This meant that instead of one Protestant-Christian society, Groen van Prinsterer wanted a Protestant society within a pluriform society. Orthodox Protestants would have their own churches, schools, papers, political parties and sport clubs. This laid the basis for pillarization, which was to dominate Dutch society between 1880 and 1960.
In 1864 Groen van Prinsterer began to correspond with a young Dutch Reformed theologian named Abraham Kuyper. Kuyper was heavily influenced by Groen van Prinsterer's ideals and began to put the latter's ideal of an orthodox Protestant society within Dutch society into practice.
The ARP had one practical political goal: equalization of payment between public and religious schools. It had one political strategy: the anti-thesis between religious and non-religious parties, which meant that he sought to break the cooperation between liberals and Catholics and to create an alliance between Catholics and Protestants.
In 1879 13 (out of 100) anti-revolutionaries were in the Tweede Kamer, although not all were member of the ARP. During the period 1879-1883 their number slowly grows, peaking at 19. After the 1884 election they have 21 members parliament. In 1886 they win their first seat in the Eerste Kamer.
In the 1888 election the ARP wins 31.4% of the vote and 27 seats. A confessional cabinet is formed led by the anti-revolutionary Aeneas baron Mackay: it combines anti-revolutionary and Catholic ministers, joined by two conservative independents. Because the liberals still control the Eerste Kamer many of the cabinet's proposals meet resistance there and the cabinet falls before the end of its four year term.
In the 1891 election the ARP loses 2% of its votes, but 6 of its seats. The confessional parties also lost their majority. A liberal cabinet, led by Van Tienhoven is formed. It proposed drastic changes to the census, which would result practically in universal male suffrage, proposed by minister Tak. The ARP is divided on the issue, Kuyper and a majority of the parliamentary party vote in favour of the law, while Alexander de Savorin-Lohman vehemently opposes it. Kuyper has tactical reasons to support enlarged franchise, these 'kleine luyden' (middle class) which would be allowed to vote, often supported the ARP, De Savorin-Lohman opposes the law because it would imply some form of popular sovereignty instead of divine sovereignty. In 1894 this results in a split between the ARP and the group around De Savorin-Lohman. Party discipline also plays a role in the conflict between Kuyper and De Savorin-Lohman: Kuyper, the party leader, favours strong party discipline, while De Savorin Lohman opposes strong parties. The split results in the foundation of the Free Anti Revolutionary Party in 1898, which would become the Christian Historical Union in 1904. With Savorin Lohman a group of prominent party politicians leaves the party, this includes many of its aristocratic members (who like De Savorin-Lohman have double names). The CHU continues its opposition against universal suffrage and is more anti-papist than the ARP.
In the 1894 elections the ARP loses almost half of its vote and six of its twenty-one seats. The Catholics break their alliance with the ARP and support a conservative cabinet. In the 1897 elections the ARP wins back some ground: it is supported by 26% of the electorate and wins seventeen seats. The group around De Savorin Lohman, wins 11% of the vote and six seats. A liberal cabinet is formed and the ARP is confined to opposition.
In 1901 the ARP wins a decisive victory. It wins 27.4% of the vote and twenty-three seats. A cabinet is formed out of the ARP, the Catholics and the group around De Savorin-Lohman, now called the Christian Historical Party. The cabinet is led by Kuyper. It is characterized by Kuypers' authoritarian leadership. He is the first person to formally lead the cabinet for four years. This can best be seen by the railway strike of 1903, in which Kuyper showed no mercy to the strikers and instead pushed several particular harsh anti-strike laws through parliament. After the Eerste Kamer, where there was a liberal majority, rejected Kuypers' law on higher education, which sought to bring equal titles for alumni of the Free University, which Kuyper himself founded, Kuyper calls new elections for the Eerste Kamer. With a confessional majority in the Eerste Kamer, the law is pushed through.
In the 1905 elections the ARP loses only 3% of vote, but eight seats, although it is able to strengthen its position in the Eerste Kamer. Kuyper, the party's leader, loses his own seat in Amsterdam to a progressive liberal. Theo Heemskerk leads the anti-revolutionary parliamentary party. A minority liberal cabinet is formed. Former anti-revolutionary MP Staalman leaves ARP and founds the Christian Democratic Party, which later become the Christian Democratic Union, which would play a minor role in the interbellum political landscape.
In a 1908 Kuyper returns to the Tweede Kamer. After crisis in the liberal cabinet Theo Heemskerk is given the chance to form a new cabinet. A minority confessional cabinet is formed. In the 1909 elections the ARP wins 3% of vote and twenty-five seats. The Heemskerk cabinet continues.
In 1912 Kuyper leaves national politics because of health reasons, and in 1913 he is elected into the Eerste Kamer. In the 1913 election the ARP loses 6% of the votes, but loses more than half of its seats and it is left with 11 seats. Another minority liberal cabinet is formed. The leadership of the ARP lies in the hands of less prominent politicians. Although a relatively small opposition party the ARP plays an important role in Dutch politics. The liberal minority cabinet, led by Cort van der Linden seeks to resolve two important issues in Dutch politics: the conflict over the equalization of payment for religious schools and universal suffrage. In the constitution change of 1918 both items are resolved. The ARP is given equal payment for religious schools, but it has to accept female suffrage and proportional representation.
The 1918 elections provide a decisive test for the party, the party wins two additional seats. The three confessional parties wins 50 seats. The confessional parties form a new cabinet, led by the Catholic Charles Ruijs de Beerenbrouck. The ARP supplies three ministers and former prime-minister Theo Heemskerk becomes minister of Justice. A group of concerned anti-revolutionaries, led by Gerrit Kersten, founded the Political Reformed Party, which opposed universal suffrage and cooperation with the Catholics. The electorate of the ARP changes in the interbellum, the difference between lower class Protestants who vote ARP and middle class Protestant Protestants who vote CHU begins to disappear, instead religious differences between the Dutch Reformed Church (CHU) and the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (ARP) become more important.
In the 1922 elections former minister of war Hendrikus Colijn becomes the leader of the ARP. He emphasized defense and fiscal conservatism as core issues of the party. With him the ARP gets sixteen seats in the Tweede Kamer and fifteen in the Eerste Kamer. He becomes minister of Finance in the second cabinet of Charles Ruijs de Beerenbrouck. He leads the party in the 1925 elections and loses three seats. The ARP continues to govern with Jan Donner as minister of Justice. After the 1929 elections, in which the ARP loses another seat. The confessional parties continue to govern.
In the 1930s with the growing international political and economic crisis, the ARP begins to regain its popularity, under the leadership of Colijn. In 1933 the ARP wins two seats and Colijn forms of a broad cabinet comprising of the RKSP, CHU, ARP, LSP and VDB. Jan Schouten leads the party's parliamentary party. Between 1933 and 1939 Colijn leads several parliamentary and extra-parliamentary cabinets with changing composition, although the CHU, ARP and RKSP continue to form the core of the cabinet. Colijn keeps to classical economic policies, refuses to devaluate the guilder and is unable to resolve the economic crisis. In 1937 the ARP wins three seats and reaches a historic seventeen seats. Colijn continues to govern. In 1939 his fifth cabinet falls and Colijn is succeeded by Dirk Jan de Geer. Pieter Gerbrandy joins the cabinet without support of his parliamentary party.
In the Second World War members of the ARP play a role in both the governments in exile, of which many were led by Pieter Gerbrandy and the resistance movements. The resistance paper Trouw was founded by ARP'ers. Many future ARP MPs began their political career in the Dutch resistance.
After the Second World War the ARP returned to Dutch politics. The anti-revolutionary Jo Meynen was minister of War, without support of his parliamentary party though.
In the 1946 elections Jan Schouten led the party. It lost four seats. During the formation in became clear that the ARP could not govern: it was heavily opposed to decolonization of the Dutch Indies. It saw the Dutch colonial empire as one of the conditions for continued wealth and power for the Netherlands. The social-democrats and the Catholics did favour decolonization, under heavy pressure of the United States. For six years the ARP was relatively isolated. In 1948 a theological conflict within the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands led to a break between the Reformed Church and the Reformed Churches (liberated). This also had political repercussions, Reformed Political Alliance was set up by members of the liberated churches. They were unable to win seats until 1959. The party remained stable in the 1948 elections and remained in opposition.
After the 1952 elections the ARP returned to the cabinet, which was consisted out of the confessional ARP, CHU, KVP and the social-democratic PvdA, led by the social-democrat Drees. Jelle Zijlstra became minister of economic affairs. In the 1956 elections in which Jelle Zijlstra becomes political leader the ARP kept its 10% of the vote, but due to the expansion of the Tweede Kamer it got 15 seats. A conflict between the PvdA and the KVP causes the early downfall of the cabinet. The ARP remains part of the care-taker cabinet led by Louis Beel. In the 1959 elections the ARP loses another seat. It continues to be part of the cabinet, now led by Jan de Quay. The three confessional parties are joined by the conservative liberal VVD. After the 1963 elections the cabinet continues, now led by Victor Marijnen. The new anti-revolutionary leader Barend Biesheuvel becomes Minister of Agriculture. In 1965 this cabinet falls over a conflict between the liberals and the confessionals. The PvdA joins the ARP and the KVP in a new cabinet, led by Jo Cals. This cabinet falls after one year, over conflict between the KVP and PvdA over government spending. The ARP joins the PvdA on its plea for more government spending. A care-taker government is formed by KVP and ARP. It is led by former ARP-leader Jelle Zijlstra. In the 1967 election campaign the ARP, CHU and KVP declare that will continue to govern together. This leads to considerable conflict with the KVP, which also spills over the ARP. The younger generation wants to govern with the PvdA. The ARP wins two seats, but the KVP loses eight seats. A new liberal/confessional cabinet is formed. Biesheuvel does not enter government but instead chooses to remain in parliament.
In the 1971 elections the ARP loses two seats, and its confessional allies (KVP and CHU) lose seven and three seats respectively. They get competition from the leftwing christian PPR, which is formed by former KVP'ers joined by some prominent anti-revolutionaries, including Bas de Gaay Fortman, son of Wilhelm de Gaay Fortman, one of the party's ministers. The liberal/confessional cabinet loses its majority. A new government is formed comprising of liberals and confessionals, now joined by moderate social-democrats, who left the "radicalizing" PvdA. This cabinet is led by Barend Biesheuvel. Willem Aantjes becomes the chair of the party's parliamentary party. Under his leadership the ARP fashions itself a new leftwing radical evangelical image, while the CHU retains its conservative image. The cabinet does not hold long: the moderate social-democrats are unable to agree with budget cuts, and the cabinet falls. In the subsequent elections the ARP wins one seat. After long coalition talks several prominent anti-revolutionaries, including Wilhelm de Gaay Fortman, join the progressive cabinet led by Joop den Uyl. The cabinet is ridden with conflicts between the confessional politicians and the progressive politicians.
The power of anti-revolutionaries within the CDA is still large. The current prime minister of the Netherlands, Jan Peter Balkenende comes from an anti-revolutionary family. His colleague Piet Hein Donner comes from a prominent anti-revolutionary family, who also brought forth minister Jan Donner.
The concept of sphere sovereignty was very important for the party. It wanted to create an independent Protestant society within the Dutch society, with its own schools, papers, hospitals etc. It sought equal government finances for its own institutions. Societies should care for their own, therefore they opposed a large role for the state in social-economic policy.
The ARP saw an important role for the state in upholding the values of the Dutch people. It was socially conservative: it opposed co-education, mandatory vaccination, divorce, pornography, euthanasia, abortion etc. It also favoured the death penalty
The party was fiscally conservative: the Dutch government should be like a good father: it should not spend more than it got through taxes.
|1888||27 (31.4%)||1||Abraham Kuyper||n/a||Aeneas baron Mackay (PM)||unknown|
|1889||27||1||Abraham Kuyper||n/a||Aeneas baron Mackay (PM)||unknown|
|1890||27||1||Abraham Kuyper||n/a||Aeneas baron Mackay (PM)||unknown|
|1891||21 (29.5%)||1||Abraham Kuyper||n/a||opposition||unknown|
|1894||15 (17.1%)||2||Abraham Kuyper||n/a||opposition||unknown|
|1897||17 (26.2%)||3||Abraham Kuyper||n/a||opposition||unknown|
|1901||23 (27.4%)||4||Jan van Alphen||n/a||Abraham Kuyper (PM)||unknown|
|1902||23||5||Jan van Alphen||n/a||Abraham Kuyper (PM)||unknown|
|1903||23||5||Theo Heemskerk||n/a||Abraham Kuyper (PM)||unknown|
|1904||23||8||Theo Heemskerk||n/a||Abraham Kuyper (PM)||unknown|
|1905||15 (24.7%)||10||Theo Heemskerk||n/a||opposition||unknown|
|1908||15||9||Abraham Kuyper||n/a||Theo Heemskerk (PM)||unknown|
|1909||25 (27.9%)||9||Abraham Kuyper||n/a||Theo Heemskerk (PM)||unknown|
|1910||25||10||Abraham Kuyper||n/a||Theo Heemskerk (PM)||unknown|
|1911||25||10||Abraham Kuyper||n/a||Theo Heemskerk (PM)||unknown|
|1912||25||10||Abraham Kuyper||n/a||Theo Heemskerk (PM)||unknown|
|1913||11 (21.5%)||10||Gerrit Middelberg||n/a||opposition||unknown|
|1914||11||10||Coenraad van der Voort van Zijp||n/a||opposition||unknown|
|1915||11||10||Coenraad van der Voort van Zijp||n/a||opposition||unknown|
|1918||13||9||Victor Rutgers||multiple||Theo Heemskerk||unknown|
|1919||13||9||Victor Rutgers||no elections||Theo Heemskerk||unknown|
|1920||13||10||Victor Rutgers||no elections||Theo Heemskerk||unknown|
|1921||13||10||Victor Rutgers||no elections||Theo Heemskerk||unknown|
|1922||16||15||Hendrikus Colijn||multiple, including Colijn, |
Schouten and Heemskerk
|1923||16||15||Victor Rutgers||no elections||Hendrikus Colijn||unknown|
|1924||16||10||Victor Rutgers||no elections||Hendrikus Colijn||unknown|
|1925||13||9||Theo Heemskerk||Hendrikus Colijn||Hendrikus Colijn||unknown|
|1926||13||9||Theo Heemskerk||no elections||Hendrikus Colijn||unknown|
|1927||13||7||Theo Heemskerk||no elections||Jan Donner||unknown|
|1928||13||7||Theo Heemskerk||no elections||Jan Donner||unknown|
|1929||12||7||Hendrikus Colijn||multiple including Colijn||Jan Donner||unknown|
|1930||12||7||Hendrikus Colijn||no elections||Jan Donner||unknown|
|1931||12||7||Hendrikus Colijn||no elections||Jan Donner||unknown|
|1932||12||7||Hendrikus Colijn||no elections||Jan Donner||unknown|
|1933||14||7||Jan Schouten||Hendrikus Colijn||Hendrikus Colijn (PM)||unknown|
|1934||14||7||Jan Schouten||no elections||Hendrikus Colijn (PM)||unknown|
|1935||14||7||Jan Schouten||no elections||Hendrikus Colijn (PM)||unknown|
|1936||14||7||Jan Schouten||no elections||Hendrikus Colijn (PM)||unknown|
|1937||17||8||Jan Schouten||Hendrikus Colijn||Hendrikus Colijn (PM)||unknown|
|1938||17||8||Jan Schouten||no elections||Hendrikus Colijn (PM)||unknown|
|1939||17||8||Jan Schouten||no elections||Pieter Gerbrandy |
|1940||out of session||Pieter Gerbrandy (PM)||unknown|
|1941||out of session||Pieter Gerbrandy (PM)||unknown|
|1942||out of session||Pieter Gerbrandy (PM)||unknown|
|1943||out of session||Pieter Gerbrandy (PM)||unknown|
|1944||out of session||Pieter Gerbrandy (PM)||unknown|
|1945||17||7||Jan Schouten||no elections||Jo Meynen |
|1946||13||7||Jan Schouten||Jan Schouten||opposition||86.500|
|1947||13||7||Jan Schouten||no elections||opposition||unknown|
|1948||13||7||Jan Schouten||Jan Schouten||opposition||unknown|
|1949||13||7||Jan Schouten||no elections||opposition||unknown|
|1950||13||7||Jan Schouten||no elections||opposition||102.737|
|1951||13||7||Jan Schouten||no elections||Lubertus Götzen |
|1952||12||7||Jan Schouten||Jan Schouten||Jelle Zijlstra||unknown|
|1953||12||7||Jan Schouten||no elections||Jelle Zijlstra||unknown|
|1954||12||7||Jan Schouten||no elections||Jelle Zijlstra||unknown|
|1955||12||7||Jan Schouten||no elections||Jelle Zijlstra||98.028|
|1956||15||8||Sieuwert Bruins Slot||Jelle Zijlstra||Jelle Zijlstra||95.038|
|1957||15||8||Sieuwert Bruins Slot||no elections||Jelle Zijlstra||97.186|
|1958||15||8||Sieuwert Bruins Slot||no elections||Jelle Zijlstra||99.340|
|1959||14||8||Sieuwert Bruins Slot||Jelle Zijlstra||Jelle Zijlstra||99.613|
|1960||14||8||Sieuwert Bruins Slot||no elections||Jelle Zijlstra||97.980|
|1961||14||8||Sieuwert Bruins Slot||no elections||Jelle Zijlstra||98.544|
|1962||14||8||Sieuwert Bruins Slot||no elections||Jelle Zijlstra||100.847|
|1963||13||7||Henk van Eijsden||various including Biesheuvel |
Smallenbroek and Roolvink
|1964||13||7||Jan Smallenbroek||no elections||Barend Biesheuvel||95.796|
|1965||13||7||Bauke Roolvink||no elections||Barend Biesheuvel||94.164|
|1966||13||7||Bauke Roolvink||no elections||Jelle Zijlstra (PM)||93.398|
|1967||15||7||Barend Biesheuvel||Barend Biesheuvel||Joop Bakker||90.904|
|1968||15||7||Barend Biesheuvel||no elections||Joop Bakker||87.378|
|1969||15||7||Barend Biesheuvel||no elections||Joop Bakker||83.127|
|1970||15||7||Barend Biesheuvel||no elections||Joop Bakker||80.695|
|1971||13||7||Willem Aantjes||Barend Biesheuvel||Barend Biesheuvel (PM)||74.118|
|1972||14||7||Willem Aantjes||Barend Biesheuvel||Barend Biesheuvel (PM)||unknown|
|1973||14||7||Willem Aantjes||no elections||Wilhelm de Gaay Fortman||69.742|
|1974||14||6||Willem Aantjes||no elections||Wilhelm de Gaay Fortman||61.116|
|1975||14||6||Willem Aantjes||no elections||Wilhelm de Gaay Fortman||61.761|
|1976||14||6||Willem Aantjes||no elections||Wilhelm de Gaay Fortman||59.495|
After the Second World War, the ARP became more isolated because of its position on the decolonization of the Dutch Indies. After Indonesia became independent, it joined the PvdA, KVP and the CHU in the cabinet. Links with the KVP were exceptionally good and it governed with the KVP and either the CHU and the PvdA. After the 1960s calls to govern with the PvdA became stronger.
Internationally the ARP was very similar to the Scandinavian Christian Democratic parties (such as the Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and the Finnish Christian Democrats), that are all socially and fiscally conservative, with a social heart. All have their roots in orthodox tendencies within the national church. In its conservative policies the ARP also shared similarities with the UK Conservatives and the US Republicans.
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