Conservative Party of Virginia

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The Conservative Party of Virginia was a short-lived United States political party in the state of Virginia during the late 19th century. During its history, the party was successful in electing just six congressmen to the U.S. House of Representatives, all during the 41st Congress.


A group of conservative members of the Virginia state legislature met in Richmond, Virginia on July 1, 1870 to organize as a party and submit their recommendations to the Legislatures with respect to congressional redistricting.[1]

The party was related to similar conservative movements in other states, combining Liberal Republicans and repentant Democrats looking to improve their image as "friends of the black people" on a national level. The movement was also closely tied to the "New Departure" movement of Virginia statesman William Mahone. The Conservative Party's efforts ultimately divided the Republican Party in the state and caused its political power in Virginia to diminish.[2]


In 1876, former Virginia Governor Henry A. Wise denounced the party during testimony before the Virginia House of Delegates Committee on Elections, as nothing more than "old-fashioned Democrats, old-fashioned Whigs, Know Nothings, locofocos, sour-crout (sic) Democrats, and Greelyites,"[3] the latter a reference to Horace Greeley of New York, whose candidacy the Conservative Party endorsed for President of the United States in the 1872 presidential election.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Reorganization of the Conservative Party in Virginia" (PDF). The New York Times. July 2, 1870. Retrieved 2009-05-15. 
  2. ^ Zuczek, Richard (2006). Encyclopedia of the Reconstruction Era. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 435. ISBN 0-313-33074-3. 
  3. ^ "Ex-Gov. Wise, of Virginia, His Opinion of the Conservative Party in his own state" (PDF). The New York Times. May 5, 1876. Retrieved 2009-05-15.