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A conservative is one who adheres to principles of limited government, personal responsibility and moral values. A conservative would likely agree with the statement in George Washington's Farewell Address that "religion and morality are indispensable supports" to political prosperity.[1] Conservatism arose in the 19th century as a response to liberalism, particularly as manifested in the French Revolution.[2]

Conservatives in the United States

In the United States, conservatives are generally characterized by adherence to limited government, public morality and free enterprise. Specifically, conservatives tend to adhere to the following principles:

  • Checking change on tradition
  • A strong national defense
  • Return of prayer in school
  • The Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, as long as such possession does not threaten national security
  • Economic allocative efficiency (as opposed to popular equity)
  • Stronger law enforcement and anti-crime laws, including the death penalty
  • Parents, rather than school teachers, educating children about sex
  • Choice in education
  • Private medical care and retirement plans
  • Weakening or cancellation of failed social support programs
  • Prohibition of abortion
  • Opposition to same-sex marriage licenses and homosexuals
  • Support of laws against pornography
  • Generally opposed to the United Nations
  • Support enforcement of current laws regarding immigration
  • Support tightening of border security
  • Respect for our military... past and present
  • Low taxes, especially in upper income brackets
  • Opening foreign markets to U.S. products
  • Less power for the federal government and more for local and state governments

About every 20-60 years a conservative has been elected president of the United States. Examples include:

In America, most conservatives tend to align with the Republican Party, but not exclusively so.

Conservative News Organizations

Some of the more notable news organizations which tend to be more conservative are Fox News, WorldNetDaily, NewsMax, and Cybercast News Service.

Conservative Magazines and Blogs

Two well known conservative magazines in the United States are The Weekly Standard and the National Review.

Some of the more notable conservative political blogs are Power Line, Captain's Quarters, the blog of Michelle Malkin, Newbusters, the Heritage Policy Weblog, Humanevents, Townhall, and the Conservative Caucus blog.


American commentators who ally themselves with the conservative movement but reject its religious or moral underpinnings are generally known as neoconservatives.[3]

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

  1. A deep suspicion of the power of the state.
  2. A preference for liberty over equality.
  3. Patriotism.
  4. A belief in established institutions and hierarchies.
  5. Skepticism about the idea of progress.

However, neoconservatives generally support government power and are indifferent to liberty and equality.

Conservatives in the United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom the present parliamentary opposition party is called the Conservative Party and, as its name suggests, it holds traditional conservative views. Its current leader is David Cameron.[4]

Up until the mid-19th century, the forerunners of the Conservatives 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 late 1970s, UK conservatives have been defined by an advocacy of laissez-faire economics, privatization and lower taxation.

Levels of prayer and worship are much lower in the U.K. than in the U.S.[Citation Needed], and religious issues thereby play less of a role in England. Religious issues remain a significant factor in Northern Ireland and in 2008 religious issues were significant during a special election in Scotland.

In common with conservatives in many other countries, UK Conservatives tend towards a Nationalist outlook, and are traditionally skeptical of the European Union.

In the United Kingdom the broadcast media is almost exclusively liberal in tone. The main Conservative newspapers are the Daily Telegraph and the more populist Daily Mail. The Spectator is a weekly journal of opinion which expresses broadly conservative views; until 2006 it was edited by Boris Johnson, a Conservative politician who was elected Mayor of London in 2008.

See also


  1. United States Department of State George Washington, farewell address, 1796
  2. In addition, 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 doctrines of the early Christianity and Judeo-Christian values.
  3. Jonah Goldberg, "What Is a 'Conservative'?", National Review Online, 11 May 2005
  4. Conservative party UK

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