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The hammer and sickle is the party symbol of the Communists, one of the manyfold political ideologies represented in Victoria 2.

Ideology and political parties are Victoria 2's main tools for conveying the various political views the shifting patterns of political thought and action throughout the Victorian and Progressive periods. The ideology of the player's ruling party and population plays a large role in his breadth of action, determining what kind of political and social reforms his nation can undertake, and which party issues are currently upheld.

Types of Ideologies

There are seven political ideologies in Victoria 2, each of which is expressed in hundreds of individual parties unique to each playable country. These ideologies represent the core of a broader political movement, and as such the player can expect there to be no small degree of variation amongst parties of similar or even identical nominal ideological affiliation. As in reality, the specifics of each country's unique situation influence the stances taken by the parties. Nonetheless, a broad understanding of the ideological headwaters behind these parties is useful for a player to understand.

Conservative.png Conservative

A typical conservative party.

Conservatives value order as a social end. Conservatives are the old guard, the arbiters of the status quo, the defenders of tradition and enemies of change. Conservative parties in the Victorian era were markedly different from today's conception of conservative (at least the Anglo-American conception). Conservatives upheld tradition above all else, being reluctant to enact any reform that would threaten the old ways. This means different things for different societies. In an absolute monarchy, the conservatives are likely more "conservative", defending the crown and its values, likely leaning towards moralism, jingoism, residency, state capitalism, and protectionism. In a more liberal nation like Britain or America, conservatives may simply be defending the way things have always been, or perhaps defending the historic role of the state against new liberal ideas of freedom. Expect these parties to sometimes uphold more liberal principles such as free trade, limited citizenship, pluralism, and even laissez faire.

This is ideology most prevalent in the world at the start of the game. Most of the poor strata are conservative-oriented at first, though this usually changes with time. Aristocrats and officers are reliably conservative or reactionary, the more radical cousin of conservatives, detailed below. Other pops may be conservative depending upon their situations, but generally a pop is more conservative when its consciousness is kept low. Conservative is useful because its moderate statism allows a player to exercise some level of control over his country without most of the worst penalties.

The conservative ideology exists from the beginning of the game.

Typical Party Issues

  • Protectionism: Conservatives are prone to protectionism, though this is not a hard and fast rule and there are many free-trade conservative parties.
  • Interventionism: Interventionism is most common amongst conservative parties, though laissez-faire or state capitalism are not out of the question, while planned economy is all but unheard of.
  • Moralism: Conservatives are consistently moralistic, though pluralism is also possible.
  • Residency: Residency is the primary conservative opinion, with limited citizenship cropping up occasionally.
  • Pro Military: Pro military is by far the most common stance among conservative parties, though jingoism is also seen. Anti-military is possible but rare.

Political Reform Stance

Conservatives are generally against any political reforms, but can be persuaded to enact reforms as a stop-gap measure when militancy is high. If militancy is low, very few conservatives will support reform.

Each point of militancy, or each 10% of reform movement strength, makes 10% of the conservatives in the upper house willing to back reforms.

Social Reform Stance

Conservatives are swayed to social reform only with great reluctance. As with political reform, militancy and reform movement strength makes conservatives support reforms.

Reactionary.png Reactionary

A typical reactionary party.

The more extreme cousin to the conservative party, the reactionaries do not stop at the defense of currently upheld tradition, but demand a return to the old ways. In Europe, reactionaries are most often monarchists that uphold the all-powerful state of the absolute monarchy as ideal. In the Americas their positions vary from nativists to monarchists and more. Often non-Western reactionaries are a reaction against Western influences or power within or around the nation in question, for example the Boxers in China.

Reactionaries are likely to be found among aristocrats and officers, but also among the broader population. In a way, reactionary is one of the best parties to play. They are available from the start. If the party is state capitalist, it allows the player a great deal of power over his economic destiny, while jingoism allows players to expand aggressively and protectionism allows high tariffs to fund these projects.

The reactionary ideology exists from the beginning of the game.

Typical Party Issues

  • Protectionism: Reactionaries are almost universally protectionists.
  • State Capitalism: State capitalism is the most common among reactionary parties, though interventionism is also common. Planned is occasionally seen.
  • Moralism: Reactionaries almost never stand for anything less than moralism, as national religious values are often central to their ideals.
  • Residency: Residency is the primary reactionary stance, limiting voice in government only to primary culture.
  • Jingoism: Jingoism is pretty standard for reactionaries, demanding a minimum level of defense spending. Pro-Military is also conceivable.

Political Reform Stance

Unlike their compromising brethren in the conservative wing, reactionaries will never, under any circumstance, support political reform. To the contrary, reactionaries will always support the repeal of political reforms, pushing the country back towards a more state-centered, anti-liberal position.

Social Reform Stance

As with political reforms, social reforms are anathema to reactionaries, and their support is never given to such movements. If given the chance, reactionaries will always support the reduction of social reforms.

Liberal.png Liberal

A typical liberal party.

Liberals favor liberty as the most valued social end. The liberal movement of the 19th century was an extremely important one. The liberals of America and Europe opened up these nations to trade, capitalism, and responsible government. Liberals were a diverse bunch, supporting a wide array of ideas and often conflicting with one another. Universal among them was some vague notion of expanding liberty, in a specific area or broadly. Liberals were often the forward-thinkers, the people who opposed the old state-dominated order and sought to unleash human potential by throwing off the chains the bound people down. Liberals were the cornerstones of the abolitionist movement, the Corn Law repeals in England, the end of the Second National Bank in America, and many more projects aimed at reducing government power over peoples' interactions with one another.

Liberals are often found among capitalists and clerks, and sometime clergy or artisans. Other pops can of course also be liberal, but this is circumstantial. Liberal parties can be difficult to play in Victoria 2, as they often severely limit player options in a variety of fields. This is counterbalanced by reductions in factory costs and a few other perks, but the advantages often seem to be outweighed by the disadvantages. Most players will probably avoid liberal parties because they basically remove economic management as a game component. This can be useful to new players though, or to experienced players who enjoy the idea of a liberal nation and want a bit of challenge.

The liberal ideology exists from the beginning of the game.

Typical Party Issues

  • Free Trade: Free trade was one of the first major liberal issues, and most liberal parties are free traders. Some liberal parties still favor protectionism, notably the Republicans in America.
  • Laissez Faire: Liberals uphold freedom above all else, so central economic management is usually shunned. Some liberal parties may mildly advocate interventionism, but nothing further.
  • Pluralism: Liberal parties are often in favor of religious pluralism, but are almost as often in favor of secularism. Moralism and atheism are not unheard of, but less common, as liberals generally advocate little to no government role in religion.
  • Full Citizenship: Liberals tend to advocate full rights for immigrants and minorities on the basis of natural rights, but some liberal parties diverge from this standard and support only limited citizenship or even residency.
  • Pro Military: The liberal parties vary wildly on the issue of military power. Some liberal parties go so far as to advocate jingoism, while others are pacifistic. Expect moderate pro-military or anti-military stances.

Political Reform Stance

Liberals unfailingly support political reform, and under no circumstance will they support a roll-back of political reforms. Representative and transparent government was one of the linchpins of 19th century liberalism.

Social Reform Stance

Liberals will only reluctantly support social reforms, usually in cases where militancy has soared. In the game, once reforms are in place, they do not support their repeal (though this is of debatable historical accuracy).

Anarcho Liberal.png Anarcho Liberal

A typical anarcho liberal party.

Anarcho liberals are the more radical cousin to the liberals, taking the idea of human liberty to its logical extreme. While liberals tended to be reformers, often intellectuals or men of power who sought to correct the irrationalities of the illiberal order, anarcho liberals were something else entirely. Advocating the end of the state as an entity and free and equal existence of all men, anarcho liberals can be expected to unflinchingly support the most liberal of positions.

Anarcho liberals are available fairly early in the game, unlocked in 1848, the year of serious political upheaval in Europe. Anarcho liberals face many of the same problems and advantages as liberals, but more consistently present these problems because of their more consistent support of liberal positions.

Typical Party Issues

  • Free Trade: Anarcho liberals support free trade all but universally, severely restricting the player's ability to tax imports.
  • Laissez Faire: Anarcho liberals are defined most notably by their support for laissez-faire, so do not expect anything other than this position in an anarcho liberal party. Despite this, however, a few Anarcho Liberal parties make a break from the norm by supporting interventionism, and even (though exceptionally rarely) state capitalism.
  • Secularism: Anarcho liberals support a variety of religious stances, but generally seem to favor secularism. Pluralism and atheism are also common, while moralism is all but unheard of.
  • Full Citizenship: Anarcho liberals are very consistent in their support of full citizenship, but limited citizenship is also possible as a party position, while residency is very rare.
  • Pro Military: Anarcho liberals vary the most on military questions. Some anarcho liberal parties go so far as to support jingoism, others are pacifists. Like their liberal counterparts, there is no hard and fast rule, but pro military seems most common.

Political Reform Stance

Anarcho liberals will never support the enactment or repeal of political reforms. This seems logical, as the anarcho liberal would not want to worsen the state by supporting a roll-back of reforms, but he would not want to legitimize the state by making it more bearably "liberal." Thus, inaction is the path of choice.

Social Reform Stance

Anarcho liberals will never support social reforms, but will always support their repeal. While the question of political reform is troublesome to a many anarcho liberals, then and now, social welfare states are universally hated. Thus, expect anarcho liberals to be strangely in line with reactionaries on the issue of social reform. This stance is the most historically questionable of all the ideologies due to the fact that the vast majority of popular forms of anarchism throughout history but particularly in the 19th Century, were also socialists or some other form of leftism.

Socialist.png Socialist

A typical socialist party.

Socialists believe equality is the paramount value a society must pursue. Socialists seek to use the machinery of the state to take from those that have and give to those that have not. Socialists are available mid-game, around 1860, but often a party will not be available for some time after this date.

Expect socialism to be most prevalent among poor-strata pops, particularly craftsmen and laborers. Socialism is a very powerful force late in the game, and will spread among all populations. Socialism can be a mixed bag for the player. Though it allows a broad degree of economic control, socialist parties often restrict player power over tariff and military policy. The most useful aspect of socialist parties to the player is likely their broad popularity late game, and their ability to implement useful social reforms.

Typical Party Issues

  • Free Trade: Socialists broadly support free trade, though they may support protectionism instead.
  • Planned Economy: Socialists espouse state-run economic systems and central planning. Anything less than support for planned economy is rare, but state capitalism is possible. In very rare circumstances, interventionism is a possible choice.
  • Secularism: Socialists believe religion to be a private matter, and that the state has no place in religious life. Thus they are overwhelmingly in favor of secularized religious policy, though atheism or pluralism is upheld by some parties. In one very rare circumstance, moralism is upheld.
  • Full Citizenship: Socialists support full citizenship on the basis of humanism, that all people are equal. This policy is widespread among socialist parties and unlikely to be compromised, but some parties do have limited citizenship. In very rare circumstances, residency is a choice.
  • Anti Military: Socialists are usually anti-military, opposing war as a tool of the bourgeois elite to force the universal working class to oppress itself. Pacifism and Jingoism are rare but possible choices, while pro-military is very rare.

Political Reform Stance

Socialists will support political reform only when militancy or reform movement power is high, but they never support political reform repeal. This lack of support is perhaps odd due to historically widespread endorsement of political reforms such as universal suffrage by such socialists as Karl Marx (among other reasons these political reforms enfranchised the socialists' voters). However it is likely that the game designers simply wished to make the ideologies more unique rather than completely factually accurate.

Social Reform Stance

Socialists always support increased social reforms, and will never support their repeal. This is one of the central tenets of the socialist parties, and one of the more useful qualities of the ideology to the player.

Communist.png Communist

A typical communist party.

Communists are the radicalized wing of the socialists. Communists do not seek peaceful reform of existing structures since they view those created under capitalism, such as representative democracies, as inherently flawed. Communists seek revolution (and will defend it, if need be, against counter-revolutionary violence) and the upheaval of the current, flawed social order. The state, as a powerful tool for the oppression of one class by another, is to be turned by the proletariat towards the total destruction of the decadent capitalist overlord class.

Communists are predominantly found in the same pops as socialists, among the industrial underclasses. The middle strata may also hold communist sympathies, but expect it to be rare among the rich. Communists become available mid-game, but are usually a small fringe and often lack parties until late game. Communism is more player-friendly than socialism, upholding more consistent ideals and providing one of the widest ranges of control available in any ideology. Also, if they succeed in turning the country Communist, the flag will get a neat redesign, usually featuring the hammer and sickle.

Typical Party Issues

  • Protectionism: Unlike the socialists, many of whom were once liberals, communists see uneven economic development as the cause of evil, and all but universally oppose it in favor of autarky.
  • Planned Economy: Communists are hard-line supporters of planned economies. Central planning achieves the paramount tenet of their ideology, so expect nothing else.
  • Atheism: Communists often believe in Marx's theory that religion is a distraction from the oppression of the masses, and that it is therefore an impediment to the self-actualisation of the people. Secularized is possible but rare.
  • Full Citizenship: Communists acknowledge the existence of class warfare, and believe that workers of all peoples and races are oppressed similarly by the decadent capitalists. Full citizenship is thus the norm.
  • Pro Military: Communists are usually pro-military. This is understandable, as they are often the target of coups and invasions from the capitalist world. Jingoism is also very typical for communists as spreading the world revolution by means of force is a common goal. However, it is sometimes possible for communists to be anti-military or even pacifist.

Political Reform Stance

Unlike their socialist/social-democratic brothers, communists are opposed to the liberal's concept of democratic government. They believe that a strong Vanguard of the most class-conscious people can best run society like the mild leadership of a conductor of an orchestra, and will restrict rights if ideal discipline and class-consciousness are lacking. Thus, they support the repeal of political reforms when needed and will never support the watering down of the united will of the proletarian class.

Social Reform Stance

Communists see the state as a tool for the leveling of all people and for the provision of the common good. Thus, they are always in favor of expanding the welfare state, and will never give ground back on this issue.

Fascist.png Fascist

Fascists are a strange breed. Born out of the discontent and civilizational collapse of the aftermath of World War I, the fascists quickly gained a wide following. Fascists attracted followers from wide swaths of society though most of this support was found amongst the middle-class (particularly lower middle-class) and rurals. Fascists supported the revitalization of the nation via a state-constructed national community. Fascist regimes were often very organized and brutal. Their rise in Europe was a central feature of the interwar people and an important factor in the initiation of World War II.

Fascists can find wide support among almost any population. They are available only in the last leg of the game, their parties are often only available for the last decade or so of play. Fascism is one of the most versatile ideologies. It allows the broadest swath of action to the player of any ideology, particularly if a fascist party is in power. Fascism allows a player almost total economic control, but still allows capitalists to chip in. Their military and trade stances allow the player a great degree of control over policy, and they can implement a variety of reforms when in power. They also have some awesome flags.

Fascists are fanatical and uncompromising in their beliefs, and thus, unlike the other ideologies, there is never any deviation in policy between parties. A Fascist will always support the party issues below.

Typical Party Issues

  • Protectionism: The fascists are most concerned about the health of the nation, or volk, and thus restrict access to outside markets and the goods of "lesser" peoples.
  • State Capitalism: Although Fascists tend to be anti capitalist, business owners are willing to chip into the nation so it can be safe and prosper.
  • Moralism: Fascists believe in one religion only and no others are tolerated even separate branches of Christianity and Islam for fear of harming national unity.
  • Residency: Fascists if anything will see foreigners living in their homeland as political blasphemy let alone giving them the right to vote and other benefits.
  • Jingoism: Fascists always pursue a policy of expansionism. This is often to recover territory lost in the past or to seize land off weaker nations.

Political Reform Stance

Fascists are unique, in that they are the only party that can support both the implementation and the repeal of political reforms. This support by fascists in the upper house is dependent upon whether or not a fascist party is in power. If it is, they can implement or repeal political reforms, but if they are the opposition party, they will staunchly resist all changes.

Social Reform Stance

As with their stance on political reform, fascists can either implement or repeal social reform if they are the ruling party. This may seem odd, but is understandable in historical context. Fascists vitriolically opposed communism, and would likely roll back reforms if they seized control in a communist state. However, fascists also espoused a communal approach to the nation, stressing the brotherhood of each member of their ethnicity or race. This led to wide-spread national welfare-style programs. Thus, either option is available to fascists in power.


Data on ideologies can be accessed by locating the Paradox folder in the drive to which it is saved, the navigating to Victoria 2/common/ideologies.txt.

See also