Definition of Conservatism

The Canada social science dictionary [1] provides the following meaning of Conservatism: It is important to think of conservatism as a set of ideas that is not necessarily the same as those upheld by political parties calling themselves ‘Conservative’. Some modern ‘Conservative’ parties are strongly associated with the idea of a reduced role for government (privatization, reduced social programs) and promotion of free markets. This perspective, however, is based on classical liberalism rather than conservatism. Conservative ideas do not welcome the unrestricted operations of a free market, but value social stability and the maintenance of traditional community bonds and social hierarchies. Conservatives assume that institutions and values that have lasted a long time embody the collective experience of the community. They have persisted because they have played a valuable and positive role in society. See: CLASSICAL LIBERALISM / NEO-CONSERVATISM in this legal dictionary and in the world encyclopedia of law.

Conservatism: Resources

Notes and References

  • Drislane, R., & Parkinson, G. (2016). (Concept of) Conservatism. Online dictionary of the social sciences. Open University of Canada


This term is a noun.

Etimology of Conservatism

(You may find conservatism at the world legal encyclopedia and the etimology of more terms).

1835, in reference to the Conservative party in British politics; from conservative + -ism. From 1840 in reference to conservative principles generally.





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