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See also: movement conservative
See also: Greatest Conservative Sports Stars

A conservative promotes moral and economic values beneficial to all. A desire to help others voluntarily, without compulsion, is a goal: "political conservatives are significantly more charitable than liberals."[1] A conservative is often willing to learn and advocate the insights of the Bible, and favors conserving value by not giving wasteful handouts to those who do not need them. Conservatives are innovative, such as Romanticism and supply-side economics. Conservative reasoning and values help overcome personal addictions - for yourself, your family, your friends, and your neighbors.

Conservatism is rooted in the moral values of biblical, Mosaic Judaism. Social conservatism derives from the Torah's opposition to libertine activity and moral abominations, and economic conservatism is expounded upon in Jesus's parables especially found in the Gospel of Matthew that exposit the principles of a free-market economy, in addition to John the Baptist's exhortation for soldiers to be content with their wages (a rebuke against labor union politics).

A conservative typically adheres to principles of personal responsibility, moral values, and limited government, agreeing with George Washington's Farewell Address that "religion and morality are indispensable supports" to political prosperity.[2][3] Conservatives adopt principles that help themselves and others in healthy ways, including self-improvement.

Conservative populism and religious conservatism promote social conservatism. Conservatives reject political correctness, liberal logic, and liberal denial.

Viktor Orban, Hungary's prime minister, put it this way: "The main division line is not according to ideologies, it’s deeper. It’s has an anthropological character. So on one side, in Europe and probably in [the U.S.] but in Europe definitely, there are groups of people who think that the most important thing in the world is their ego, themselves, me. … The other part of the society think that that’s not true. Because there are certain things that are more important in society than me, than my ego: family, nation, God."[4]

Phil Crane, the leading conservative congressman in the House from 1969 to 2005, urged people to make the world a better place than where they found it, and quoted frequently from the Bible in pursuit of that goal.[5]

Former President Ronald Reagan said, "The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom."[6]

Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States, was a conservative who said, "Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong."

Goals and principles

For a more detailed treatment, see Modern conservatism.

Specifically, conservatives seek or support:

List of prominent conservatives


Movement conservatives are those who accept the logic of conservatism across-the-board, and stand up for its powerful principles despite liberal ridicule. Movement conservative activists in the U.S. include:


Periodically a conservative has been elected President of the United States. The most prominent conservative presidents include:

The most prominent conservative Congresses have been:

  • The 80th Congress (elected in 1946)
  • The 104th Congress (elected in 1994)

Key leaders

Hall of Fame

Conservative scholar Clinton Rossiter[7] names Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, John Marshall, Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun, Elihu Root, and Theodore Roosevelt to the "Conservative's Hall of Fame," with John Adams as the greatest of American conservatives—a dubious choice since President Adams was an ardent opponent of free speech to criticize government.

U.S. voters

In America, most conservatives support the Republican Party, but not exclusively so. In the 2008 election, 35% of the voters identified themselves as conservatives. Of them, 78% voted for John McCain and 20% for Barack Hussein Obama, with the 20% accounting for Obama's margin of victory. Only 22% of the voters were liberal; they favored Obama 89%-10%. In the middle were 44% who called themselves moderates. They split for Obama by 60%-39%. (Minor candidates won 2% of the vote.)[8]

Russell Kirk was an American political theorist, conservative intellectual, historian of ideas, social critic, and man of letters, who is best known for his role in the American conservative movement.

Conservatives generally understand liberals better than liberals understand conservatives.[9]

Religious differences between political conservatives and political liberals

The Barna poll conducted in November 2008 shows significant differences between the 32% of Americans who called themselves as “mostly conservative” on social and political matters; and the 17% who called themselves “mostly liberal” on social and political matters. The others—50%--were moderates with positions somewhere in-between.[10]

Some findings: Political liberals are less than half as likely as political conservatives to firmly believe that the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches (27% versus 63%, respectively); to strongly believe that Satan is real (17% versus 36%); and to firmly contend that they have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs with others (23% versus 48%).

[Note: "Liberal" and "conservative" in this survey are based on politics]

Liberals are also far less likely than conservatives to strongly believe each of the following:

  • their religious faith is very important in their life (54% of liberals vs. 82% of conservatives);
  • a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by doing good deeds or being a good person (23% vs. 37%);
  • their faith is becoming an increasingly important moral guide in their life (38% vs. 70%);
  • the church they currently attend is very important in helping them find direction and fulfillment in life (37% vs. 62%);
  • their primary purpose in life is to love God with all their heart, mind, strength and soul (43% vs. 76%);

political conservatives were more likely than liberals to:

  • read the Bible, other than at church events, during the past week (57% vs. 33%, respectively)
  • attend a religious service during the past week (62% vs. 35%)
  • pray to God, other than at a religious service, during the past week (91% vs. 76%)
  • share their religious beliefs with others, during the past year (56% vs. 39%, among the born again Christians interviewed from each segment)
  • have ever participated in a short-term missions trip, either within the U.S. or in another country (12% vs. 6%)
  • 2% of conservatives and 11% of liberals were atheist or agnostic
  • 15% of conservatives and 2% of liberals were Christian evangelicals
  • conservatives were twice as likely as liberals to be categorized as born again, based on their theological views about salvation (63% vs. 32%)
  • 21% of conservatives were associated with the Roman Catholic Church, compared to 30% among the liberals.

Conservative organizations

See also: Major conservative organizations

Several organizations exist that promote consistently conservative values.

Conservative news

See also: Conservative news websites

Some of the more notable news organizations which tend to be more conservative are WorldNetDaily and NewsMax. Fox News, though often called conservative, tends to be more neoconservative than conservative.

Conservative magazines and blogs

See also: Conservative media

Well known conservative magazines in the United States include National Review, Policy Review, Revolver News and others.

Some notable conservative political blogs include the Heritage Foundation's Policy Weblog, Human Events, Michelle Malkin, Newsbusters, and others.


American commentators who ally themselves with the conservative movement but reject its religious or moral underpinnings are generally known as neoconservatives.[11]

In the United States, conservatives are generally characterized by the following beliefs:

  1. Support of limited government.
  2. A preference for freedom of opportunity over equality of result.
  3. Patriotism, nationalism, and support of a strong defense.
  4. Support of the institution of marriage.
  5. Emphasis on social values, like prayer and pro-life principles.

In contrast, neoconservatives generally support bigger government and globalism, and tend to downplay the significance of social values.


Paleoconservatives are conservatives who are more focused on social issues and American sovereignty and are suspicious of both big government and big business, along with globalism and multiculturalism. They also lean against foreign interventionism. Neoconservatives criticize this with the pejorative term of "isolationism," as they believe in promoting democracy worldwide, even where different religious or value systems are incompatible with democracy-induced changes in control.

A notable paleoconservative was Democrat Congressman from Georgia, Larry McDonald. He was also second Chairman of the John Birch Society, and President of Western Goals. McDonald was aboard Korean Airlines Flight 007 when it was shot down by the Soviets near Moneron Island in 1983. Other paleoconservatives include Pat Buchanan and Tom Tancredo.

Fiscal Conservatism vs. Social Conservatism

For further details on the two related philosophies, see Fiscal conservatism and Social conservatism

Recently, a division has been created between fiscal conservatism and social conservatism. Fiscal conservatism centers around a low and balanced government budget, and generally is opposed to programs such as Social Security and Medicare. Its primary goal is to reduce government spending significantly. Social Conservatism, on the other hand, focuses on the moral issues of conservatism. A social conservative will oppose same-sex marriage, abortion, and the teaching of evolution in schools. The majority of Conservatives (including most of the Republican Party) fall into both categories, however some fall into one or the other, but not both. Notably, Libertarians are strong fiscal conservatives but are not socially conservative. For instance, the Libertarian Party Platform [12] expresses support for the fiscally conservative principles of ending publicly funded welfare and healthcare programs as well as reducing government spending overall significantly. However, it also expresses support for same-sex marriage (with some libertarians leaning towards the ultimate goal of total marriage privatization) as well as maintaining the legal status of abortion.

Some Republicans and Democrats also fit one category but not the other. Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, was deemed "the most fiscally conservative governor" while he was in office (and probably earned that honor given all the spending cuts he made) but at the same time, he supports marriage privatization and abortion (though he believes Roe v. Wade should be overturned on Constitutional grounds). Also, several Democrats have expressed opposition to same-sex marriage and/or abortion, but still support liberal fiscal programs such as Social Security. They would be the opposite of Johnson - socially conservative but fiscally liberal.

Expected growth of social conservatism and religious conservatism

Due to the explosive growth of global Christianity in traditional cultures and their influence on Western Christianity and the higher birth rate of conservative Christians and religious conservatives, social conservatism is expected to rise.

The Birkbeck College, University of London professor Eric Kaufman wrote in his 2010 book Shall the Righteous Inherit the Earth? concerning America:

High evangelical fertility rates more than compensated for losses to liberal Protestant sects during the twentieth century. In recent decades, white secularism has surged, but Latino and Asian religious immigration has taken up the slack, keeping secularism at bay. Across denominations, the fertility advantage of religious fundamentalists of all colours is significant and growing. After 2020, their demographic weight will begin to tip the balance in the culture wars towards the conservative side, ramping up pressure on hot-button issues such as abortion. By the end of the century, three quarters of America may be pro-life. Their activism will leap over the borders of the 'Redeemer Nation' to evangelize the world. Already, the rise of the World Congress of Families has launched a global religious right, its arms stretching across the bloody lines of the War on Terror to embrace the entire Abrahamic family.[13]

Personal conservatism

Because Conservatives often have strong political views, there can be a tendency to see conservatism as a purely political ideology. However, there is also a strong personal side to conservatism - being a conservative is as much about applying conservative values to one's everyday life as it is about campaigning and voting for conservative candidates. In general, conservatives can be characterized by a strong sense of personal morality, a willingness to observe their culture's traditions and customs, and a desire to be respectable and to show due respect to other members of the community.

One school of thought on both the left and right is that conservativism raises stubbornness and ignorance to the level of virtues; however modern conservativism is based upon New Testament teaching that says, "The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."[14]

History of American conservatism

Textbook problems

See also: Textbook bias

College-level teaching about conservatism has been distorted by a "liberal state paradigm"—that is, textbooks usually interpret recent American history in terms of the origins and successes of political liberalism—especially the New Deal, the welfare state, labor unions, and Civil Rights for blacks and equality for women. Conservative politics is usually defined as a reaction: as a free market reply to the growth of big government; as an expression of outrage against declining support for tradition and Christian morality. Where the violent Wobblies (IWW) and illegal sit down strikes of the 1930s are seen as heroic, exposing Communist subversion by Joe McCarthy is denounced as the nadir of political morality.[15]


The Loyalists of the American Revolution were mostly political conservatives, some of whom produced political discourse of a high order, including lawyer Joseph Galloway and governor-historian Thomas Hutchinson. However, when the crisis came, they stood with the Crown as it tried to destroy American political liberties. After the war, the great majority remained in the U.S. and became citizens, but some leaders emigrated to other places in the British Empire. Samuel Seabury was a Loyalist who stayed and as the first American bishop played a major role in shaping the Episcopal religion, a stronghold of conservative social values. While the Loyalist political tradition died out totally it the U.S., it survives in Canadian conservatism.

Founding Fathers

The Founding Fathers created the single most important set of political ideas in American history, known as Republicanism, which all groups, liberal and conservative alike, have drawn from. Two parties were named "Republican"—the one founded in 1794 by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (it disappeared in the 1820s), and the modern GOP founded in 1854.

During the First Party System (1790s–1820s) the Federalist Party, led by Alexander Hamilton, developed an important variation of republicanism that can be considered conservative. Rejecting monarchy and aristocracy, they emphasized civic virtue as the core American value. The Federalists spoke for the propertied interests and the upper classes of the cities. They envisioned a modernizing land of banks and factories, with a strong army and navy. George Washington was their great hero.

On many issues, American conservatism also derives from the republicanism of Thomas Jefferson and his followers, especially John Randolph of Roanoke and his "Old Republicans" or "Quids." They idealized the yeoman farmer as the epitome of civic virtue, warned that banking and industry led to corruption, that is to the illegitimate use of government power for private ends. Jefferson himself was a vehement opponent of what today is called judicial activism. [16] The Jeffersonians stressed small government.

Ante-Bellum: Calhoun and Webster

During the Second Party System (1830–54) the Whig Party attracted most conservatives, such as Daniel Webster of New England. Daniel Webster and other leaders of the Whig Party, called it the conservative party in the late 1830s.[17] John C. Calhoun, a Democrat, articulated a sophisticated conservatism in his writings. Richard Hofstadter (1948) called him "The Marx of the Master Class." Calhoun argued that a conservative minority should be able to limit the power of a "majority dictatorship" because tradition represents the wisdom of past generations. (This argument echoes one made by Edmund Burke, the founder of British conservatism, in Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)). Calhoun is considered the father of the idea of minority rights, a position adopted by liberals in the 1960s in dealing with Civil Rights.

The conservatism of the antebellum period is contested territory; conservatives of the 21st century disagree over what comprises their heritage. Thus William J. Bennett (2006), a prominent neoconservative leader, warns conservatives to NOT honor Calhoun, Know-Nothings, Copperheads and 20th century isolationists. Other conservatives disagree with Bennett.

Lincoln to Cleveland

Since 1865 the Republican Party has identified itself with President Abraham Lincoln, who was the ideological heir of the Whigs and of both Jefferson and Hamilton. As the Gettysburg Address shows, Lincoln cast himself as a second Jefferson bringing a second birth of freedom to the nation that had been born 86 years before in Jefferson's Declaration. The Copperheads of the Civil War reflected a reactionary opposition to modernity of the sort repudiated by modern conservatives. A few libertarians have adopted a neo-Copperhead position, arguing Lincoln was a dictator who created an all-powerful government.

In the late 19th century the Bourbon Democrats, led by President Grover Cleveland, preached against corruption, high taxes (protective tariffs), and imperialism, and supported the gold standard and business interests. They were overthrown by William Jennings Bryan in 1896, who moved the mainstream of the Democrat Party permanently to the left.

The 1896 presidential election was the first with a conservative versus liberal theme in the way in which these terms are now understood. Republican William McKinley won using the pro-business slogan "sound money and protection," while Bryan's anti-bank populism had a lasting effect on economic policies of the Democrat Party.

William Graham Sumner, Yale professor (1872–1910) and polymath, vigorously promoted a libertarian conservative ethic. After dallying with Social Darwinism under the influence of Herbert Spencer, he rejected evolution in his later works, and strongly opposed imperialism. He opposed monopoly and paternalism in theory as a threat to equality, democracy and middle class values, but was vague on what to do about it.[18]

Early 20th century

In the Progressive Era (1890s-1932), regulation of industry expanded as conservatives led by Senator Nelson Aldrich of Rhode Island were put on the defensive. However, Aldrich's proposal for a strong national banking system was enacted as the Federal Reserve System in 1913. Theodore Roosevelt, the dominant personality of the era, was both liberal and conservative by turns. As a liberal he took a tough regulatory approach toward businesses and trusts, and (post-presidency) fought for social insurance for the elderly. As a conservative he led the fight to make the country a major naval power, and demanded entry into World War I to stop what he saw as the German attacks on civilization. William Howard Taft promoted a strong federal judiciary that would overrule excessive legislation. Taft defeated Roosevelt on that issue in 1912, forcing Roosevelt out of the GOP and turning it to the right for decades. As president, Taft remade the Supreme Court with five appointments; he himself presided as chief justice in 1921–30, the only former president ever to do so.

1936 cartoon shows GOP building its platform from the conservative planks abandoned by the Democrats

Pro-business Republicans returned to dominance in 1920 with the election of President Warren G. Harding. The presidency of Calvin Coolidge (1923–29) was a high water mark for conservatism, both politically and intellectually. Classic writing of the period includes Democracy and Leadership (1924) by Irving Babbitt and H.L. Mencken's magazine American Mercury (1924–33). The Efficiency Movement attracted many conservatives such as Herbert Hoover with its pro-business, pro-engineer approach to solving social and economic problems. In the 1920s many American conservatives generally maintained anti-foreign attitudes and, as usual, were disinclined toward changes to the healthy economic climate of the age.

During the Great Depression, other conservatives participated in the taxpayers' revolt at the local level. From 1930 to 1933, Americans formed as many as 3,000 taxpayers' leagues to protest high property taxes. These groups endorsed measures to limit and rollback taxes, lowered penalties on tax delinquents, and cuts in government spending. A few also called for illegal resistance (or tax strikes). The best known of these was led by the Association of Real Estate Taxpayers in Chicago which, at its height, had 30,000 dues-paying members.

An important intellectual movement, calling itself Southern Agrarians and based in Nashville, brought together like-minded novelists, poets and historians who argued that modern values undermined the traditions of American Republicanism and civic virtue.

The Depression brought liberals to power under President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933). Indeed, the term "liberal" now came to mean a supporter of the New Deal and Roosevelt's powerful New Deal Coalition. In 1934 Al Smith and pro-business Democrats formed the American Liberty League to fight the new liberalism, but failed to stop Roosevelt's shifting the Democrat Party to the left. In 1936 the Republicans rejected Hoover and tried the more liberal Alf Landon, who carried only Maine and Vermont. When Roosevelt tried to pack the Supreme Court in 1937 the conservatives finally cooperated across party lines and defeated it with help from Vice President John Nance Garner. Roosevelt unsuccessfully tried to purge the conservative Democrats in the 1938 election. The conservatives in Congress then formed a bipartisan informal Conservative Coalition of Republicans and southern Democrats. It largely controlled Congress from 1937 to 1964. Its most prominent leaders were Senator Robert Taft, a Republican of Ohio, and Senator Richard Russell, Democrat of Georgia.

In the United States, the Old Right, also called the Old Guard, was a group of libertarian, free-market anti-interventionists, originally associated with Midwestern Republicans and Southern Democrats. The Republicans (but not the southern Democrats) were isolationists in 1939–41, (see America First), and later opposed NATO and U.S. military intervention in the Korean War.

Later 20th century: Goldwater and Buckley

By 1950, American liberalism was so dominant in academia and journalism that liberal critic Lionel Trilling dismissed contemporary conservatism and anti-communism as "irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas." [19] But just as Trilling was writing a revival was underway. In the 1950s, principles for a conservative political movement were hashed out in books like Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind (1953) and in the highly influential new magazine National Review, founded by William F. Buckley in 1955.

Whereas Taft's Old Right had been isolationist the new conservatism favored American intervention overseas to oppose Communism. It looked to the Founding Fathers for historical inspiration as opposed to Calhoun and the antebellum South.

The success of the Civil Rights movement came in the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the bi-partisan Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Conservatives supported all, but Barry Goldwater bucked party leadership to win a few Southern states for the first time since Reconstruction. Until then southern whites (both liberal and conservative) had been locked into the Democrat Party. That lock was now broken and some southern conservatives voted for Goldwater for president in 1964. In 1968, southern Democrats ran their own candidate against Richard Nixon. The southern blacks now began to vote in large numbers, and buoyed by Great Society entitlements became Democrats, moving that party in the south to the left. In 1972 fully one third of all Democrats joined Richard Nixon's Silent Majority coalition against the far left progressive Democrats. Democrats shifted their strategy to nominating Southerners for president, Jimmy Carter in 1976, Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996, and Al Gore in 2000. As the South became less racist, it became more Republican. By 2000, for the first time, all southern states had a conservative GOP and a liberal Democrat Party. The region split in both federal and state contests. In 2008 the Obama campaign rebuilt the Clinton coalition in Florida, Virginia and North Carolina.

Goldwater, a charismatic figure whose intense opposition to all New Deal programs angered liberals, was defeated in a landslide in 1964. Goldwater faded and his supporters regrouped under new leadership, especially that of Ronald Reagan in California, and regained strength nationally in the 1966 elections. Conservatives voted for Richard Nixon in 1968, who narrowly defeated the New Deal champion Hubert Humphrey, and southern demagogue George Wallace. Nixon had come to terms with both the Goldwater wing of the party and the still-influential Rockefeller Republicans (Republicans from the Northeast who supported many New Deal programs).

Nixon, Reagan, and Bush

The Republican administrations of President Richard Nixon in the 1970s were characterized more by their emphasis on realpolitik, détente, and socialist economic planning policies such as wage and price controls, than by their adherence to conservative rhetoric and more liberal actions.

In the eight years of Ronald Reagan's presidency 1981-89 the American conservative movement achieved ascendancy. In 1980 the GOP took control of the Senate for the first time since 1954, and conservative principles dominated Reagan's economic and foreign policies, with supply side economics as well as a strict opposition to Soviet Communism. The free trade movement was used as a means to promote capitalism in the Third World to counter Marxist national liberation movements. Reagan promised to cut welfare spending but failed to do so. He did cut taxes, but raised military spending and created large federal deficits that turned out working to our advantage, because at that time, deficits didn't matter. It should be known that the Republicans also balanced the budget in the late 1990s.

An icon of the American conservative movement, Reagan is credited by his supporters with transforming American politics, galvanizing the Republican Party, uniting a coalition of economic conservatives who supported his supply-side economic policies, known as "Reaganomics," foreign policy conservatives who favored his success in stopping and rolling back Communism, and social conservatives who identified with Reagan's conservative religious and social ideals.

Barack Obama and American Conservatism backlash

In October 2009, Niles Gardiner reported in the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph:

This week’s striking Gallup poll on political ideology is further confirmation that the United States is in essence a conservative nation, which has ironically become even more conservative under Barack Obama. According to Gallup, 40 percent of Americans describe their political views as conservative, 36 percent as moderate and 20 percent as liberal. This is the first time conservatives have outnumbered moderates in America since 2004.[20]

"Forty percent of Americans now self-identify as conservatives — double the amount of self-professed liberals — largely because independents are beginning to take sides."[21]

Conservatives strongly criticized Obama for his far-left and negative policies and the negative impact of those policies.[22][23][24] Dinesh D'Souza wrote, "Obama's legacy is to double the national debt & dramatically reduce US influence in the world."[25] During Obama's 8 years in office, Democrats lost over 1,000 seats in the federal and state governments.[26]

Compare Progressive liberalism.

Donald Trump

See also: Donald Trump achievements

Despite heavy opposition from the political establishment, businessman Donald Trump defeated sixteen other candidates in the Republican primaries and defeated the heavy favorite in the general election, Hillary Clinton. As president, Trump enacted strongly conservative policies in issues such as deregulation, trade, immigration, religious freedom, abortion, and judges.

Fertility rates of conservatives vs. liberals in the United States. The conservative fertility advantage probably will not give conservatives some inevitable long-term political edge

See also: Fertility rates of conservatives vs. liberals in the United States

The article The Conservative Fertility Advantage by the Institute for Family Institute indicates:

Data about fertility rates is only available for around 600 of the largest counties, thus many small, rural counties are excluded. But the relationship shown here is clear: President Trump did better in counties with higher birth rates, and the difference is fairly large, with the most pro-Biden counties having total fertility rates almost 25% lower than the most pro-Trump counties. If anything, this effect is understated, since the most pro-Trump counties were small, rural counties that usually have even higher birth rates and are excluded from this analysis. Indeed, Yi Fuxian at the University of Wisconsin showed that the relationship between voting and fertility is even more pronounced when we look at fertility rates and state voting trends...

As can be seen, the Republican fertility advantage is relatively stable across elections. It even shows up in a panel model, suggesting that as counties become more Republican, their fertility rates tend to rise relative to the national average. The use of state controls (and some robustness tests I ran in large states with many counties) suggests this effect isn’t driven by unique features of states: within Red states or Blue states, and controlling for county racial and ethnic characteristics and population densities, Republican counties have higher birth rates.

This is particularly astonishing given that Democrats perform very well in counties with many Hispanic and black voters, who have higher birth rates than non-Hispanic white Americans (and indeed, the more non-Hispanic whites in a county, the lower its birth rate in my models). The relationship is also unchanged if the sample is restricted to only very-high-density counties, such as those representing the center of major cities. In other words, the Republican “fertility advantage” does not arise from more rural counties with higher birth rates, and it exists despite the fact that much of the Democratic Party’s electoral base is among racial and ethnic groups with higher birth rates in general. The split I identify isn’t about race or urbanization or region of the country: it’s about family. Within racial- or ethnic-groups, within states or urbanized areas, the more conservative areas tend to have more babies.

In the 1970s, there was little or no difference in fertility rates between liberal and conservative women. But by the 2000s, completed fertility for liberal women had declined markedly below that of conservative women. In recent years, the gap in childbearing between young conservative and liberal women has really opened, which may portend a bigger gap in the coming years...

Before the 1990s, fertility differences by ideology were small. Women over age 45 had no difference in completed fertility, and women of all ages (but with controls for year of age) had only a small difference. There was, however, already a difference in ideology: conservative women reported a childbearing ideal about 0.12 kids higher than liberal women, which is a small, but significant, difference.

For the period after 1995, however, gaps grow. Conservative women over age 45 had about 0.25 more children on average than their liberal peers, an effect which in fact shows up throughout the age distribution once the “over 45” restriction is relaxed. The gap in fertility ideals grew larger as well.

In other words, the “family gap” between conservatives and liberals is a new phenomenon. It’s only in the last two decades that conservatives began to reap a fertility advantage. But it’s not just a fertility difference: if controls for marital status are removed, the conservative fertility advantage gets even bigger. That is, conservatives are simply more likely to be married than liberals. Thus, there is a conservative-liberal gap on marriage and separately on odds of childbearing conditional upon marital status...

Finally, this conservative fertility advantage probably will not give conservatives some inevitable long-term political edge. Fertility rates are falling for conservatives just as much as liberals. Given the size of the fertility differential between conservatives and liberals, it doesn’t actually take a large amount of ideology switching to offset this higher birth rate. Thus, while conservatives may wish that their fertility advantage could afford a durable political majority, that hope is probably just as fleeting as the now-silly-sounding claims of progressives a decade ago that immigration would create a durable Democratic majority. That’s because, at least right now, conservative parents have not been sufficiently successful in keeping their kids in the fold.[27]

Conservatism outside the United States

Conservatives in continental Europe

Conservatism in Europe is generally synonymous with Euroskepticism and right-wing populism – ideologies that support local control, self-governance, patriotism and national identity, sovereignty, less immigration, and a more limited government as opposed to an endless EU bureaucracy. While mainstream establishment parties in Europe are also occasionally labeled "conservative" by the media, they share many of the same policies as globalism and liberalism.

Conservative parties in Europe include the Swiss People's Party, Law and Justice, Fidesz, Lega Nord, the Austrian Freedom Party, Sweden Democrats, Finns Party, Conservative People's Party of Estonia, Vox, and the Alternative for Germany, among other parties. Prominent continental European conservatives include Viktor Orbán, Václav Klaus, Matteo Salvini, Santiago Abascal, Christoph Blocher, Jarosław Kaczyński, Santiago Abascal, and Norbert Hofer.

Right-wing populism in Europe has grown since the Eurozone Crisis and European migrant crisis.

Conservatives in Britain

Conservatism has a strong tradition in the United Kingdom, with figures such as John Locke and Edmund Burke laying its philosophical foundation. Most British conservatives belong to the Conservative Party – a big tent party that includes both consistent conservatives and liberal globalists – as well as the United Kingdom Independence Party, Brexit Party, and the Democratic Unionist Party. Some notable British conservatives include Winston Churchill, Enoch Powell, Margaret Thatcher, Ian Paisley, Nigel Farage, Raheem Kassam, and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Up until the mid-19th century, the forerunner of the Conservative Party were known as Tories, and the name has persisted as a common nickname both for the political party and those believed to be in agreement with it. Since the mid-to-late 1970s, British conservatives have been defined by an advocacy of laissez-faire economics, privatization and lower taxation. In recent years the Conservative Party has moved away from the social conservatism which once characterized it, and the current party policy includes, for example, support for abortion on demand, gay civil partnership, the Kyoto Treaty and to oppose capital punishment (although it should be noted that such policies have little support among the party's grassroots membership).[28] In common with conservatives in many other countries, British Conservatives tend towards a patriotic rather than internationalist outlook, and are traditionally skeptical of the European Union.

Margaret Thatcher revitalized the British conservatives much like Reagan revitalized American conservatives. During her tenure as Prime Minister, she cut taxes, trimmed back at government waste, and exercised a strong national defense abroad (including the Falklands War of 1982).

Levels of prayer and worship are much lower in England and Wales than in the U.S., and religious issues thereby play less of a role in public discourse. However, religious issues remain a significant factor in Northern Ireland and in 2008 religious issues were significant during a special election in Scotland.

The broadcast media (dominated by the BBC) is almost exclusively liberal in tone. The print media is slightly different with conservative-leaning newspapers like the Daily Mail, Daily Express and Daily Telegraph selling more copies than their rivals.[29] However, even the print media generally leans liberal.

Conservatives in Canada

Many Canadian conservatives align with the Conservative Party of Canada, though the party does not strongly adhere to conservative values. The Christian Heritage Party is an example of a smaller but more consistent conservative Canadian party.

Conservatives in Australia

Australia was once more conservative than England but sweeping gun control laws pushed the nation leftward toward greater dependency on government in the last decade. In 2009, opposition to government control based on alleged global warming galvanized conservatives there and they led the Liberal Party of Australia to a repudiation of an emissions trading scheme.[30] Conservatives also support smaller political parties such as the Family First Party.

Conservatives in Latin America

In the early 21st century, Latin America has been shifting to the right,[31] and conservative evangelical Christians have been growing in political influence.[32][33]

Some notable Latin American conservatives include Jair Bolsonaro (Brazil), Eduardo Bolsonaro (Brazil), Ernesto Araújo (Brazil), Agustín Laje (Argentina), Nicolás Márquez (Argentina), José Antonio Kast (Chile), Hermógenes Pérez de Arce (Chile), Jimmy Morales (Guatemala), Fabricio Alvarado (Costa Rica),[34] Alberto Fujimori (Peru), Keiko Fujimori (Peru), Alvaro Uribe (Colombia) and Mario Abdo Benítez (Paraguay).

Conservatism and the French Revolution

Conservatism in France and the European continent generally arose in the after 1790 as a response to the radicalism of the French Revolution.

Benefits of Conservatism

Several facets of conservatism function in unison to make it an effective and powerful philosophy. Conservatism emphasizes personal freedom, independence, and initiative; this allows the best of the public to rise to their natural level of achievement. Conservatives recognize that big government fosters dependency and stifles individual achievement—and thus, weakens society as a whole.

At the same time, conservatives also recognize that with individual freedom comes individual responsibility. In the absence of a hand-holding nanny state, it is imperative that each individual take responsibility for his own actions, and exercise his rights and freedoms wisely and with discretion. Thus, social conservatism is also critical to a successful society, as it emphasizes the importance of morality, duty, and responsibility to one's self and fellow men.

American conservatives and happiness

See also: American liberalism and 21st century political losses and Secular leftists and psychogenic illness

Time magazine reported: "In the "who's happier?" race, a whole body of research shows conservatives report being happier. Four new studies published in Science hint at a possible reason why.[35]

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See also

Further reading

  • Critchlow, Donald T. The Conservative Ascendancy: How the GOP Right Made Political History (2007)
  • Filler, Louis. Dictionary of American Conservatism The First Complete Guide to Issues, People, Organizations and Events (1987), useful older encyclopedia
  • Frank, Thomas. What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America (2005), a liberal perspective excerpt and text search
  • Frohnen, Bruce et al. eds. American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia (2006), the most detailed reference
  • Judis, John B. William F. Buckley, Jr.: Patron Saint of the Conservatives (1988) excerpt and text search
  • Kirk, Russell. The Conservative Mind. (7th ed. 2001). highly influential conservative history of ideas online at ACLS e-books
  • Link, William A. Righteous warrior: Jesse Helms and the rise of modern conservatism (2008) 643 pages
  • Micklethwait, John, and Adrian Wooldridge. The Right Nation, (2004) influential survey excerpt and text search
  • Micklethwait, John, and Adrian Wooldridge. God Is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith Is Changing the World (2009)
  • Nash, George. The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945 (2006), excellent scholarly history. excerpt and text search
  • Pemberton, William E. Exit with Honor: The Life and Presidency of Ronald Reagan (1998) online edition
  • Perlstein, Rick. Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus (2004) on 1964 excerpt and text search
  • Perlstein, Rick. Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America (2008) excerpt and text search
  • Schneider, Gregory L. ed. Conservatism in America Since 1930: A Reader (2003)
  • Schoenwald; Jonathan. A Time for Choosing: The Rise of Modern American Conservatism (2002) online edition also online at ACLS e-books
  • Schweizer, Peter, and Wynton C. Hall, eds. Landmark Speeches of the American Conservative Movement (2007) excerpt and text search


  2. United States Department of State George Washington, farewell address, 1796
  3. Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary has the following definition of conservative: "tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions : TRADITIONAL"[1] Therefore, a conservative Christian would be one that tends to adhere to the morally sound doctrines of the early Christianity and Judeo-Christian values.
  7. Rossiter, "The Giants of American Conservatism," American Heritage 1955 6(6): 56-59, 94-96, online in EBSCO
  8. See Presidential 2008 Exit Poll
  9. Haidt: Conservatives Understand Liberals Better Than Liberals Understand Conservatives. The Independent Whig. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  10. See on line results
  11. Jonah Goldberg, "What Is a 'Conservative'?", National Review Online, 11 May 2005
  12. [2]
  13. Why are 2012 and 2020 key years for Christian creationists and pro-lifers?
  14. Hebrews 4:12
  15. See Leonard Moore, "Approaching Conservatism," OAH Magazine of History, 17 (January 2003) online edition
  16. [3]
  17. The word was originally used in the French Revolution. The British used it after 1839 to describe a major party. The first American usage is by Whigs who called themselves "Conservatives" in the late 1830s. Hans Sperber and Travis Trittschuh, American Political terms: An Historical Dictionary (1962) 94-97.
  18. Curtis, Bruce. "William Graham Sumner 'On the Concentration of Wealth.'" Journal of American History 1969 55(4): 823-832.
  19. Lapham 2004
  22. Scaliger, Charles (February 23, 2017). Barack Obama's Legacy. The New American. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  23. Adelmann, Bob (January 20, 2017). Is Obama Worst U.S. President? The New American. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  24. Vargas, Mark (September 16, 2018). The legacy of Barack Obama (and it's not a good one). Washington Examiner. Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  26. Democrats lost over 1,000 seats under Obama. Fox News. December 27, 2016. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  27. The Conservative Fertility Advantage by the Institute for Family Institute
  28. John Charmley, A History of Conservative Politics Since 1830, (2nd ed. 2008)
  29. Media UK; Introduction to newspapers in the UK
  31. Multiple references: See also:
  32. Puglie, Frederic (February 19, 2018). Evangelicals' newfound political clout in Latin America unnerves politicians, Catholic Church. The Washington Times. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  33. Polimédio, Chayenne (January 24, 2018). The Rise of the Brazilian Evangelicals. The Atlantic. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  34. Cullinan Hoffman, Matthew (February 5, 2018). Christian minister takes lead in Costa Rican presidential election after vowing to stop gay agenda. LifeSiteNews. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  35. Liberals are More Honest Than Conservatives When They Smile, Time Magazine, 2015

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