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Conservatism or political conservatism can refer to any of several historically related political philosophies or political ideologies. There are also a number of Conservative political parties in various countries. All of these are primarily (though not necessarily exclusively) identified with the political right.

Among the significant usages of the term "conservatism" are:

1. Classical conservatism or institutional conservatism - Opposition to rapid change in governmental and societal institutions. This kind of conservatism is anti-ideological insofar as it emphasizes means (slow change) over ends (any particular form of government). To the classical conservative, whether one arrives at a right- or left-wing government is less important than whether change is effected through rule of law rather than through revolution and sudden innovation.

The classic conservative critique of radical excess is Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France.

2. Modern conservatism or right conservatism - In contrast to the anti-ideological classical conservatism, right conservatism is ideological. It is typified by two distinct subideologies: social conservatism and fiscal conservatism which often come together in an economic conservatism. Together, these subideologies comprise the conservative ideology in most English-speaking countries: separately, these subideologies are incorporated into other political positions.

Economic and fiscal conservatism coupled with liberalism is called (at least in the U.S.) "libertarianism", or (in its more extreme forms) "right-wing anarchism" or "anarcho-capitalism. An openness to government intervention in the economy coupled with social conservatism is typical of right-wing populism and (in its more extreme forms) fascism.

3. Neoconservatism -- strictly a U.S. term -- may be an oxymoron, but refers to a subclass of conservatives that support a more assertive foreign policy coupled with one or more other facets of modern conservatism. Historically, conservatives tend to be mildly isolationist, but with the rising internationalism represented by such groups as NATO or the UN, neoconservatism is on the rise. The "unipolar" assertions of columnist Charles Krauthammer are an example of neoconservatism. Neoconservatism underlies the policy of the George W. Bush administration in the Middle East, including (but not limited to) the 2003 Iraq War and its aftermath.

4. "Compassionate conservatism" a term popularized by George W. Bush, is held by many conservatives to be redundant, and a public-relations buzzword. Insofar as the presidency of George W. Bush has increased welfare substantially in the form of Medicare reforms and the No Child Left Behind act, it may be that compassionate conservativism is simply the synthesis of social conservatism and fiscal liberalism.

Table of contents
1 An Introduction to Conservatism
2 Conservatism as a political philosophy
3 Fiscal conservatism
4 Economic conservatism
5 "Right-wing" is not necessarily "conservative"
6 Conservatism and conservation
7 Conservative political movements
8 Conservatism and Change
9 Modern conservative platform
10 Conservatives in different countries
11 History of conservatism
12 Famous conservatives
13 See also
14 Further reading
15 External links and references

An Introduction to Conservatism

Conservatism can be contrasted on the one hand to radical libertarianism or anarchism on the one hand, and such statist movements as fascism, communism, and socialism on the other hand. To these, conservatism falls in the middle. While one end of the spectrum sees no need for the state to exist, the other sees the state as more important than the individual.

Depending on what one means by conservative, the conservative's place on the traditional left-right political spectrum may be anywhere from the right to the center-left. Classical conservatism, inherently anti-ideological, may fall anywhere. On the other hand, modern conservatism falls on the right side of the spectrum.

Classical conservatism is, by definition, not revolutionary, but the other forms of conservatism can, at times, effect change at the speed of revolution. Consider, for example, the rapid and thorough changes of policy wrought by the administration of modern conservative Ronald Reagan in the United States. Reagan's immense popularity coupled with other factors caused Congress to rubber-stamp virtually every major policy incentive of his administration. Consequently, this time-period is often referred to as the "Reagan Revolution." However, insofar as rule of law was not breached, Reagan cannot be called a revolutionary. The contrast is between "means" and "ends." The conservative opposes revolution on the grounds that rule of law must not be breached: in many cases, however, rule of law proves (as in Reagan's case) a more expedited tool of change than revolution.

Some people who regard themselves as "conservatives" may, in truth, advocate reactionary changes to the status quo. Right-wing politics is not inherently conservative, especially for the classical conservative, who opposes rapid change right or left.

Conservatism as a political philosophy

For both social conservatives and fiscal conservatives, conservatism is a philosophy. Classical conservatives are inherently anti-philosophical, promoting rather, as Russell Kirk explains, a steady flow of "prescription and prejudice" in the archaic formulations of the words. To Kirk and other classical conservatives, what matters is not so much the end result, but the process. So far as change itself is legitimate, whether change is "rightward" or "leftward" is nearly irrelevent.

To the fiscal and social conservatives, on the other hand, while "means" are important, "ends" are as well.

Social conservatives are generally sceptical of social change. They may, at times, seek rather strong government intervention to prevent social change. A good example from as of 2004 contemporary US politics is the issue of gay marriage: many social conservatives have supported a Federal amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Many social conservatives, and indeed most institutional conservatives find themselves opposed to such an amendment on the grounds that the US Constitution ought not be tampered with unnecessarily. The tension in policy is the choice between social goal (defining marriage) and the political means (amending the constitution). While the goal is arguably conservative, amending the constitution on a whim is arguably not conservative. Thus, one will find conservatives on both sides of the issue.

Classical conservatism as non-ideological

Attempts at defining "conservatism" run into an immediate problem. Classical conservatism, by definition, is sceptical of plans to re-model human society after an ideological model. As such, it is easier to define conservatives in reference to what they oppose than what they support. For example, classical conservatives might have a range of views on tax-supported welfare programs, on the desirable size of the military, or on the societal position of ethnic and sexual minorities, but they would all be wary of rapid, major changes to policy in any of these areas.

While the word "conservatism" is often mistakenly used to simply describe the attitude of supporting things as they currently are, it must be noted that even "anti-ideological" classical conservatives have political preferences. In this vein, the intellectual source of conservatism as a "modern" philosophy can be traced to Edmund Burke. Burke developed his ideas at the height of the so-called Enlightenment when European thinkers were beginning to develop the ideology of modernism, which emphasizes social construction guided by abstract "Reason." Burke was troubled by the Enlightenment and the assumption that "Reason" may be a sufficient base for justice and argued, instead, for the value of tradition.

Some men, argued Burke, have more reason than others, and thus some men will make worse governments if they rely upon reason than others. To Burke, the proper formulation of government came not from abstractions such as "Reason," but from time-honored development of the state and of other important societal institutions such as the family and the Church. "We are afraid to put men to live and trade each on his own private stock of reason;" Burke wrote, "because we suspect that this stock in each man is small, and that the individuals would do better to avail themselves of the general bank and capital of nations and ages. Many of our men of speculation, instead of exploding general prejudices, employ their sagacity to discover the latent wisdom which prevails in them. If they find what they seek, and they seldom fail, they think it more wise to continue the prejudice, with the reason involved, than to cast away the coat of prejudice, and to leave nothing but naked reason; because prejudice, with its reason, has a motive to give action to that reason, and an affection which will give it permanence."

Burke argued that tradition is a much sounder foundation than "reason". The conservative paradigm he established emphasises the futility of attempting to drive human society based solely on principles of pure abstractions (such as "reason," "equality," or, more recently, "diversity"), and the necessity of humility in the face of the unknowable. Existing institutions have virtues that cannot be fully grasped by any single person or interest group or, in Burke's view, even any single generation: in his Reflections on the Revolution in France, Burke referred to "the living" as "the temporary possessors and life-renters" of "the commonwealth and laws... that they should not think it among their rights to cut off the entail, or commit waste on the inheritance, by destroying at their pleasure the whole original fabric of their society." [1] Tradition draws on the wisdom of many generations and the tests of time, while "reason" may be a mask for the preferences of one man, and at best represents only the untested wisdom of one generation. In the conservative view, an attempt to modify the complex web of human interactions that form human society for the sake of some doctrine or theory runs the risk of running afoul of the iron law of unintended consequences. Burke advocates vigilance against the possibility of moral hazards.

The classical conservative embraces an attitude that is deeply suspicious of any attempt to remake society in the service of any ideology or doctrine, whether that doctrine is radical libertarianism, socialism, Nazism, or anything else. Classical conservatives see history as being full of disastrous schemes that seemed like good ideas at the time. Human society, in their view, is something rooted and organic; to try to prune and shape it according to the plans of an ideologue is to invite unforeseen disaster.

Social conservatism and tradition

Social conservatives emphasize traditional views of social units such as the family, church, or locale. Social conservatives are a product of their environment, and would typically define family in terms of local histories and tastes. To the Mormon or Muslim, social conservatism may entail support for polygamy. To the Protestant or Catholic, social conservatism may entail support for "traditional" marriage.

From this same respect for local traditions comes the correlation between conservatism and patriotism. Conservatives, out of their respect for traditional, established institutions, tend to strongly identify with nationalist movements, existing governments, and its defenders: police, the military, and national poets, authors, and artists. Conservatives hold that military institutions embody admirable values like honour, duty, courage, and loyalty. Military institutions are independent sources of tradition and ritual pageantry that conservatives tend to admire. In its degenerative form, such respect may become typefied by jingoism, populism, and perhaps even bigotry or isolationism.

While classical conservatives may or may not embrace traditional values in their personal lives, they are strongly opposed to government imposition of these values, or any other government intervention into the private lives of citizens.

Support for socially conservative policies may not indicate political conservatism. For example, some Communist organizations and most Communist regimes have been very puritanical with respect to sexuality, arguing, for instance, that homosexuality was a bourgeois vice. Conversely, classical conservatives may be quite wary of government intervention into the private lives of citizens, even when that intervention is in support of traditional values.

Fiscal conservatism

Although often conjoined to social or classical conservatism, fiscal conservatism is less of a broad political philosophy and is simply the principle that it is not prudent for governments to take on debts they cannot easily pay back ore that will cause an undue burden of taxation.

Burke, in his Reflections on the Revolution in France, articulated the principles of fiscal conservatism: "...[I]t is to the property of the citizen, and not to the demands of the creditor of the state, that the first and original faith of civil society is pledged. The claim of the citizen is prior in time, paramount in title, superior in equity. The fortunes of individuals, whether possessed by acquisition or by descent or in virtue of a participation in the goods of some community, were no part of the creditor's security, expressed or implied...[T]he public, whether represented by a monarch or by a senate, can pledge nothing but the public estate; and it can have no public estate except in what it derives from a just and proportioned imposition upon the citizens at large." In other words, a government doesn't have the right to run up large debts and then throw the burden on the taxpayer; the taxpayers' right not to be taxed oppressively takes precedence even over paying back debts a government may have imprudently undertaken.

Fiscal conservatives are not necessarily conservative in other respects, nor are they necessarily on the political right. In recent U.S. history, the Clinton administration achieved a balanced budget during its term, whereas the Reagan administration did not. Having a balanced budget is, at least nominally and in recent years, a "conservative" principle, but, as discussed below, there is much more to a broader economic conservatism than balanced budgets.

Economic conservatism

Economic conservatism can go well beyond fiscal conservatism's concern for fiscal prudence, to a belief or principle that it is not prudent for governments to intervene in markets. It is also, sometimes, extended to a broader "small government" philosophy. Economic conservatism is associated with free-market, or laissez-faire economics.

Economic conservatism, insofar as it is ideological, owes its creation to the classical liberal tradition, in the vein of Adam Smith, Freidrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, and Ludwig von Mises.

Yet classical conservatism supports free market policies as well, which begs the question: why the agreement between the classical liberals and conservatives?

Simply, while the results are the same, the arguments are different. Classical liberals support free markets on moral, ideological grounds: free markets are moral, and thus must be supported. Supporters of the moral grounds for free markets include Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises.

Classical conservatives, on the other hand, derive support for free-markets from practical grounds. Free markets, to them, are the most productive markets. Thus the classical conservative supports free markets not out of necessity, but out of expedience. The support is not moral or ideological, but driven on the Burkean notion of prescription: what works best is what is right.

It must be noted that while classical liberals and classical conservatives reached free markets through different means historically, to-date the lines have blurred. Rarely will a politician claim that free markets are "simply more productive" or "simply the right thing to do" but a combination of both. This blurring is very much a product of the merging of the classical liberal and conservative positions under the "umbrella" of the conservative movement.

Economic conservatism is much more than just lower deficits. As seen with the archetypal free-market conservative administrations of the late 20th century -- the Margaret Thatcher government in the UK and the Ronald Reagan government in the US -- the cornerstone of contemporary economic conservatism is the unfettered operation of the market. To that end, Thatcher privatized British Airways, with remarkable success, and both Reagan and Thatcher cut taxes and slowed governmental growth, leading to the unparalleled economic boom of the early 1980s to the late 1990s.

Yet economic conservatism is not simply capitalism. The free-market, to the conservative, begs for regulation, but only insofar as accountability must be maintained. Antitrust laws were championed in the early 1900s by noted conservative Theodore Roosevelt, who also created the first US National Parks. What fiscal conservatism (from the classical conservative position) strives for is a free and fair market in order to better society: unfettered corporatism and monopolistic enterprises are inherently anti-conservative.

Whereas the anti-ideological conservatism is not opposed, in principle, to such regulations, the ideological conservatism might be. Where the markets themselves become moral agents, as in the philosophy of Ayn Rand and those in her Objectivist school (e.g. Alan Greenspan, current US Federal Reserve Chairman), antitrust laws, environmental legislation, and labor unions become intolerable.

It must be noted, however that the interests of capitalism, fiscal and economic conservatism, and free-market economy do not necessarily coincide with those of social conservatism. At times, aspects of capitalism and free markets have been profoundly subversive of the existing social order, as in the enclosure movement and other changes that have replaced a traditional agrarian society with agribusiness, or of traditional attitudes toward the proper position of sex in society, as in the now near-universal availability of pornography. To that end, on issues at the intersection of economic and social policy, conservatives of one school or another are often at odds.

"Right-wing" is not necessarily "conservative"

Although some people (mainly on the political left) use the terms "conservative" and "right-wing" interchangeably, many on the political right have little in common with most conservatives.

Classical conservatives' opposition to sudden and radical change is almost as strong when that change comes from the right as from the left. For example, conservatives generally keep quite distant from right-wing groups in some European republics that wish to restore a monarchy, or with those in America who wish to formally establish Christianity as a state religion, and would generally characterize these people as something other than simply conservative. Edmund Burke, considered the founder of modern conservatism, was the leader of the anti-monarchical Whig party, hardly a right-wing position.

That is not to say that there would never be coalitions of interest with such groups, just that both sides in such a coalition would recognize that they were dealing with a partner with a different politics. In practice, in European parliamentary systems, conservatives are at least as likely to ally with centrist groups or even some on the left rather than with certain portions of the right. A good contemporary (as of 2004) example of this is the 2002 French presidential election]], where centrist conservative Jacques Chirac was quite comfortable accepting the support of even Socialists against racist Jean-Marie Le Pen of the Front National.

Conservatism vs. Fascism

While conservatives often identify with nationalist movements, there is a clear distinction between conservative nationalism and the ultra-nationalism of fascism. Conservatism, at its root, is an attitude of political and social quietism. The big plans of the Big Man, the noisy and levelling mass movements, the Führerprinzip, the personality cults, and the strong propensity toward totalitarianism that are central to fascism, are antithetical to the overt positions of classical conservatism. Conservatism stands for learning from the mistakes of the past, and primum non nocere is an essential conservative principle.

Nonetheless, historically, some conservative traditionalists have been drawn to Fascist movements. Some may have admired the moral and military renewal that Fascist leaders promised. Others may have merely thought fascism a more palatable alternative to socialism. For example, in mid-1930s Britain, conservative media baron Lord Rothermere's Daily Mail enthusiastically backed Sir Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists. For a more contemporary example, in a 2003 article in National Review, John Laughland accuses contemporary neoconservative Michael Ledeen of "flirting with fascism", citing examples of the latter's praise for Italian fascist Gabriele D’Annunzio. [1]

In his The Road to Serfdom, noted classical liberal Freidrich Hayek makes the case against Fascism and other forms of socialism. At the time of its writing, Hayek desired to critique the rampant leftism of the age. However, a critique of leftism and Communism would not be well-received. As such, Hayek wrote a critique of the economic policies of Nazism. The intent of the book is clear: Nazism and fascism are forms of state control of the economy. By criticising Nazi state control of the economy, Hayek clearly also intended an implicit critique of socialist and communist state-controlled economies.

Conservatism and conservation

Although the conservation movement has roots in social conservative anti-commercial values, the relationship between political conservatives and green politics is uneven. Some on both sides, with very solid anthropological and other scientific backing, view ecological conservation and respect for traditional lifeways as necessary to preserve traditional values and view conservation of resources -- especially public resources -- as part of fiscal conservativism. Others note the generally social democratic and sometimes radical accounting reform, monetary reform and education reform goals of Greens and conclude that they have nothing in common with conservatives. In the UK, a Blue-Green Alliance is an alignment of these "green" and "right" forces, although in the U.S. the terms Green Republican or Green Libertarian have come into use to imply the same. Dan Sullivan has written on the convergence of Libertarian and Green views in the U.S. "Greens and Libertarians"

Conservative political movements

Contemporary political conservatism -- the actual politics of people and parties professing to be conservative -- in most western democratic countries is an amalgam of social and institutional conservatism, generally combined with fiscal conservatism, and usually containing elements of broader economic conservatism as well. As with liberalism, it is a pragmatic and protean politics, opportunistic at times, rooted more in a tradition than in any formal set of principles.

It is certainly possible for one to be a fiscal and economic conservative but not a social conservative; in the United States at present, this is the stance of libertarianism. It is also possible to be a social conservative but not an economic conservative -- at present, this is a common political stance in, for example, Ireland -- or to be a fiscal conservative without being either a social conservative or a broader economic conservative, such asthe "deficit hawks" of the United States Democratic Party. In general use, the unqualified term "conservative" is often applied to social conservatives who are not fiscal or ecomomic conservatives. It is rarely applied in the opposite case, except in specific contrast to those who are neither.

It can be argued that classical conservatism tends to represent the establishment. Yet, this is not always the case. Considering the conservative's opposition to political abstractions, the true conservative will never support a contrived social state, be that on the left (Communism) or on the right (Nazism). There is an independent justification of the attitude of conservatism, which tends to favour what is organic and has been shaped by history, against the planned and artificial.

Conservatism and Change

"Conservatism" is not opposed to change. For example, the Reagan administration in the US and that of Margaret Thatcher in the UK both professed conservatism, but during Reagan's term of office, the United States radically revised its tax code, while Thatcher dismantled several previously nationalized industries and made major reforms in taxation and housing; furthermore, both took, or attempted, significant measures to reduce the power of labor unions.

In less recent history, the Reform Act of 1867, supported by Conservative UK Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli was the single greatest expansion of the franchise in the UK prior to women's suffrage.

Political memory can be of various durations, and the traditions conservatives embrace can be of relatively recent invention. The prevalence of the nuclear family is, at most, a few centuries old. Western democracy itself is a late 18th century invention. Corporate capitalism is even newer. The race-blind meritocracy now embraced by many U.S. conservatives as an alternative to affirmative action would have seemed quite radical to most U.S. conservatives in the 1950s.

Modern conservative platform

In the United States and western Europe, conservatism is generally associated with the following views:

Conservatives in different countries

What constitutes conservative politics and policies, obviously, will depend on the traditions and customs of a given country.

In the United States, most persons who call themselves conservatives believe strongly in the Judeo-Christian social tradition and strict construction of the U.S. Constitution. The origins of conservatism in the U.S. can be traced from the Whigs of George Washington via the Federalists of John Adams. In the Civil War era, other issues dominated, and for the next century conservatives were roughly equally divided among the two major parties. One particularly notable element were the southern Democrats, some of whom bolted the party as the third-party Dixiecrats, backing Strom Thurmond's 1948 presidential candidacy. Ultimately, as the Democratic Party became identified with the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s through 1970s, most of them joined the national Republican Party, increasingly cementing its alignment as a conservative party. Geographically, the south, the less industrial parts of the midwest, and the non-coastal west are conservative strongholds.

In the UK, conservatives were represented by the anti-monarchial Whigs, through to the Tories of Canning, and ultimately to the modern Tory party, renamed the Conservative party. For a brief period in the middle of the 20th century, under the so-called "Tory Wets" the Conservative party was in fact a mildly social democratic party. With the advent of the Thatcher administration, the Tories have returned to their roots.

Conservatism in the UK and US must not be confused with conservatism abroad. Conservatism is not necessarily democratic: in fact, insofar as democracy is absolutism and "tyranny of the majority," conservatism is inherently undemocratic.  Case in point: the radical "democracy" of Marxism (of the USSR, Communist China, Cuba, etc.) is opposed by the conservative. However, the conservative would not find the government of Iran or, more appropriately, of Pakistan to be objectionable. Islamic fundamentalism is not incompatible with conservatism, provided rule of law still exists.

Conservative goals can vary not only between countries, but in the same country over time. Many U.S. conservatives (especialy the Southern Democrats / Dixiecrats) once supported enforced racial segregation, but no conservative in today's U.S. would advocate this position.

Although most conservatives today agree on the value of free markets and reducing regulation (although to a much lesser extent than favored by libertarians), there is great disagreement on support for traditional morality vs. opposition to government intervention in the private realm. Many conservatives feel it is proper for government to take strong actions against homosexuality, abortion, and drug abuse. Other conservatives are concerned that such actions constitute unwarranted intrusion on personal freedom.

Intellectual conservatism in the United States

In United States intellectual circles, there are several distinct types of conservatism. Among these are:

Other strands of conservatism have been influenced by the counterrevolutionary Catholic thought of figures like Joseph de Maistre, and the distributism of G. K. Chesterton and the French traditionalists (e.g. Henri Corbin). Some conservatives positions originated from the Frankfurt School, after taking (like the neoconservatives) a turn to the right — such as the editors of Telos.

As has already been remarked, libertarians generally agree with conservative views on the economy, but they disagree on social issues. However, there are some libertarians, such as Lew Rockwell or Murray Rothbard, whose views on social or cultural issues are closer to conservatism; these are sometimes called "paleolibertarians."

Conservatism in the United States electoral politics

In the United States, the Republican Party is generally considered to be the party of conservatism. This has been the case since the 1960s, when the conservative wing of that party consolidated its hold, causing it to shift permanently to the right of the Democratic Party; also, in varying degrees at various times over the second half of the twentieth century, numerous conservative white southerners left the Democratic Party and (in most cases) became Republicans. One of the most prominent examples would be Strom Thurmond.

In addition, many United States libertarians, in the Libertarian Party and even some in the Republican Party, see themselves as conservative, even though they advocate significant economic and social changes - for instance, further dismantling the welfare system or liberalising drug policy. They see these as conservative policies because they conform to the spirit of individual liberty that they consider to be a traditional American value.

On the other end of the scale, some Americans see themselves as conservative while not being supporters of free market policies. These people generally favour protectionist trade policies and government intervention in the market to preserve American jobs. Many of these conservatives were originally supporters of neoliberalism who changed their stance after perceiving that countries such as China were benefitting from that system at the expense of American production.

Finally, many people see the entire American political mainstream as having reached a conservative consensus, with the federal government being run by successive "Republicrat" and right-wing Republican administrations. In support of this theory, they point out that the only recent Democratic President (Bill Clinton) was from the moderate, conservative wing of the Democratic Party. They also suggest that many progressives are switching to the Green Party and thus leaving the electable mainstream.

Americans are often stereotyped by western Europeans as conservative due to their religious and right-wing tendencies as well as what the Europeans consider to be puritan attitudes towards sex and drugs (particularly alcohol).

History of conservatism

The modern split between conservative and liberal can be traced back to the English Civil War and the French Revolution. Broadly speaking, the predecessors of the conservatives tended to be opposed to the revolution and changes in the monarchy, and conversely for the predecessors to the liberals. Early conservative thinkers included Edmund Burke who argued forcefully against the French Revolution. It was not institutionally adopted until the Congress of Vienna where the ideology of conservatism reached the forefront of European society.

The Congress of Vienna was only the beginning of a conservative reaction which was bent on containing the liberal and nationalist forces unleashed by the French revolution. Prince Metternich and most of the other participants at the Congress of Vienna were representatives of the ideology known as conservatism. Conservatism generally dates back to 1790 when the most well known figure of conservatism Edmund Burke wrote Reflections on the Revolution in France . Burke, however, was not the only kind of conservative Joseph de Maistre a Frenchman was the most influential spokesperson for a counterrevolutionary and authoritarian conservatism. De Maistre believed in hereditary monarchies because they would bring "order to society" which was in short supply in his eyes after the chaos of the French Revolution. Despite any differences most conservatives held to some general principles and beliefs.

Those being:

  • Obedience to political authority
Organized religion was crucial to social order
Hated revolutionary upheavals
Unwilling to accept liberal demands for civil liberties and representative government and nationalistic aspirations generated by French revolutionary era.
Community takes precedence over individual rights
Society must be organized and ordered
Tradition remained the best guide for order.

After 1815, the political philosophy of conservatism was supported by hereditary monarchs, government bureaucracies, landowning aristocracies and revived churches (Protestant or Catholic). The conservative forces appeared dominant after 1815, both internationally and domestically.

Famous conservatives

Leaders and Commentators





See also

Further reading

External links and references