center, in politics, a party following a middle course. The term was first used in France in 1789, when the moderates of the National Assembly sat in the center of the hall. It can refer to a separate party in a political system, e.g., the Catholic Center party of imperial and Weimar Germany, or to the middle group of a party consisting of several ideological factions.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.