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Conservatism

Conservatism (Latin: conservare, "to preserve") is a political and social philosophy that promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions and supports, at the most, minimal and gradual change in society. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others oppose modernism and seek a return to the way things were. The first established use of the term in a political context was by François-René de Chateaubriand in 1819, following the French Revolution. The term has since been used to describe a wide range of views.

Political science often credits the Irish politician Edmund Burke (who served in the British House of Commons and opposed the French Revolution) with many of the ideas now called conservative. According to Hailsham, a former chairman of the British Conservative Party, "Conservatism is not so much a philosophy as an attitude, a constant force, performing a timeless function in the development of a free society, and corresponding to a deep and permanent requirement of human nature itself."

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