19th Century Conservatism

Topics: French Revolution, Liberalism, Conservatism Pages: 2 (593 words) Published: December 11, 2013
Europe was undergoing immense change in the 19th century, good and sometimes bad. There are two basic sides in the debate about change. There are the conservatives who are happy to keep the way the things they are and liberals who weren’t. Conservatives wanted to maintain tradition, specifically the king, the rights of nobles and the church. Conservatives opposed liberal ideas like human rights and equality for all people. Conservatives are often from the landed classes, the noble classes or the aristocracy so they were not really in favor of the bourgeois or the capitalist class. Conservatism emphasized the value of tradition.

Characteristics
1) Emphasis on community
a. natural rights of individual [individualism could only lead to anarchy] 2) Emphasis on natural hierarchy of society
a. people with intelligence, education, wealth and birth should rule; the revolt against monarchy, aristocracy and the church was an attack against morals, social order and protection from tyranny 3) Belief in depravity of man

a. goodness of man [man has a sinful nature]
4) Religion is the basis of civil society
a. Christianity as promoting superstition and fanaticism
Although conservatives sometimes claim philosophers as ancient as Aristotle as their forebears, the first explicitly conservative political theorist is generally considered to be Edmund Burke. In 1790, when the French Revolution still seemed to promise a bloodless utopia, Burke predicted in his Reflections on the Revolution in France that the revolution would descend into terror and dictatorship. He thought the revolutionary forces in France were too abstract and too philosophical to become true. One famous Austrian conservative was Metternich. He opposed the free press meaning he didn’t want the newspapers to write whatever they wanted he wanted to crush any type of protests and he wanted to crush those protesters with a strong army. Metternich was the minister of Austria; he was the diplomat that...
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