Unionist, noun

In historical contexts. A member of the Union Party, a political party which favoured a federal union in South Africa. Also attributive, of the party or its members.
Note:
Known as the ‘Progressive Party’ until 1908, the Union Party was absorbed into the South African Party in 1920. See also Progressive sense 1, SAP noun1 sense 1 a.
1911 [see Nationalist noun sense a].
1913 V.R. Markham S. Afr. Scene 213The Unionists — for so the old Progressives now call themselves — are in the main the British party.
1926 M. Nathan S. Afr. from Within 173General Smuts entered into an alliance with the Unionists.
1960 L.M. Thompson Unification of S. Afr. 1902–10 23The Liberals were no less anxious than the Unionists to preserve the British Empire.
1975 D.W. Krüger in Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. XI. 76In the 1910 election 37 Unionists were returned to Parliament, forming the Opposition.
1982 [see Progressive sense 2].
A member of the Union Party, a political party which favoured a federal union in South Africa. Also attributive, of the party or its members.
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19131975