political philosophy focused on retaining traditional social institutions

Conservatism supports emphasis on traditions and relies on the individual to maintain society.[1] Gradualism is one form.

The first known use of the term in a political context was by François-René de Chateaubriand in 1818.[2] This was during the period of Bourbon restoration that sought to roll back the policies of the French Revolution.

The term is associated with right-wing politics. It has been used to describe a wide range of views. There is no single set of policies that are regarded as conservative, because the meaning of conservatism depends on a given place and time.

Conservatism tends to support the notion of faith, particularly in Abrahamic traditions in countries where those are the dominant religions. In England, the publication of Edmund Burke’s book Reflections on the revolution in France. In his book, he suggested people should be satisfied, and advocated a caring government.[3] The two ideas go together.

Some conservatives seek to keep things as they are, while others want a return to the way things were at an earlier time.[4] This is often called reactionary A conservative party in England formed which wanted better co-operation between rich and poor, democracy, and some aspects of a welfare state. This was also favoured by conservatives in France and other parts of Europe.

In the United States, conservatives were worried about centralism, didn't trust the welfare state and considered businessmen trustworthy on wages and prices.

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  1. "Conservatism (political philosophy)". Retrieved on 1 November 2009.
  2. Jerry Z. Muller (1997). Conservatism: an anthology of social and political thought from David Hume to the present. Princeton U.P. p. 26. ISBN 0691037116. Terms related to 'conservative' first found their way into political discourse in the title of the French weekly journal, Le Conservateur, founded in 1818 by François-René de Chateaubriand with the aid of Louis de Bonald.
  3. BBC: Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797)
  4. Iain McLean and Alistair McMillan 2009. "Conservatism", Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics, third edition, "Sometimes it (conservatism) has been outright opposition, based on an existing model of society that is considered right for all time. It can take a 'reactionary' form, harking back to, and attempting to reconstruct, forms of society which existed in an earlier period". Oxford University Press. ISBN 978019205165.