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Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, is the epitome of American conservatism.

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:

  • Return of prayer in school
  • Prohibition of abortion
  • Opposition to same-sex marriage licenses and homosexuals
  • Support of laws against pornography
  • Support of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms
  • Economic allocative efficiency (as opposed to popular equity)
  • Stronger law enforcement and anti-crime laws, including the death penalty
  • Parental control of education
  • Private medical care and retirement plans
  • Weakening or canceling failed social support programs
  • 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
  • Literal interpretation of the Bible and rejection of evolutionism
  • Low taxes, especially for families
  • Opening foreign markets to U.S. products
  • Less power for the federal government and more for local and state governments
  • A strong national defense

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, Accuracy In Media, 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, Newsbusters, 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. 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.

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


Paleoconservatives are conservatives who are more focused on opposing multiculturalism, and suspicious of both big government and big business. They also lean more towards isolating America from the problems of other continents. Neoconservatives might criticize this as "isolationism", as they believe we can promote democracy worldwide.

Among paleoconservatives was Democratic 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 in 1983.

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 characterised 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.

Conservatives in the United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom the present parliamentary opposition party is called the Conservative Party. 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 mid-to-late 1970s, UK 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 characterised it, and the current party policy includes, for example, support for abortion on demand and gay civil partnership and the Kyoto Treaty and to oppose capital punishment (although it should be noted that such policies have little support amongst the party's grassroots membership) [5]

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 patriotic rather than internationalist outlook, and are traditionally skeptical of the European Union.

In the United Kingdom the broadcast media (dominated by the BBC) is almost exclusively liberal in tone. The print media is different with pro-Conservative newspapers like The Sun , Daily Mail , Daily Express and Daily Telegraph selling more copies than their rivals.[6]

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
  5. John Charmley, A History of Conservative Politics Since 1830 (Second Edition), 2008
  6. Media UK; Introduction to newspapers in the UK

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