Conservatism is a political and social philosophy that promotes the maintenance of traditional values, accepting that technology and society can shift, but the principles should not. 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. Political science often credits the Irish politician Edmund Burke with many of the ideas now called conservative.
He is mainly remembered for his support of the cause of the American Revolutionaries, and for his later opposition to the French Revolution. The latter led to his becoming the leading figure within the conservative faction of the Whig party, which he dubbed the "Old Whigs", in opposition to the pro–French Revolution "New Whigs", led by Charles James Fox.
Burke was praised by both conservatives and liberals in the 19th century. Since the 20th century, he has generally been viewed as the philosophical founder of modern Conservatism, as well as a representative of classical liberalism.
The UK Conservative Party served with the Liberals in an all-party coalition government during World War I, and the coalition continued under Liberal PM David Lloyd George (with half of the Liberals) until 1922. Then Bonar Law and Stanley Baldwin led the break-up of the coalition and the party governed until 1929, when it was defeated by Labour in a close election. In 1931, following the collapse of the Labour minority government, it entered another coalition, which was dominated by the Conservatives with some support from fractions of both the Liberals and Labour party (National Labour and Liberal Nationals).