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Portal:Conservatism

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Introduction

Conservatism is a cultural, social, and political philosophy that seeks to promote and to preserve traditional social institutions and practices. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in relation to the status quo of the culture and civilization in which it appears. In Western culture, conservatives seek to preserve a range of institutions such as organized religion, parliamentary government, and property rights. Conservatives tend to favor institutions and practices that guarantee stability and evolved gradually. Adherents of conservatism often oppose progressivism and seek a return to traditional values, though different groups of conservatives may choose different traditional values to preserve.

The first established use of the term in a political context originated in 1818 with François-René de Chateaubriand during the period of Bourbon Restoration that sought to roll back the policies of the French Revolution. Historically associated with right-wing politics, the term has since been used to describe a wide range of views. There is no single set of policies regarded as conservative because the meaning of conservatism depends on what is considered traditional in a given place and time. Conservative thought has varied considerably as it has adapted itself to existing traditions and national cultures. For example, some conservatives advocate for greater economic intervention, while others advocate for a more laissez faire free-market economic system. Thus, conservatives from different parts of the world—each upholding their respective traditions—may disagree on a wide range of issues. Edmund Burke, an 18th-century politician who opposed the French Revolution but supported the American Revolution, is credited as one of the main theorists of conservatism in the 1790s. (Full article...)

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Stephen Grover Cleveland (1837–1908) was the 22nd and 24th President of the United States. Cleveland was the leader of the pro-business Bourbon Democrats who opposed high tariffs, Free Silver, inflation, imperialism and subsidies to business, farmers or veterans. His battles for political reform and fiscal conservatism made him an icon for American conservatives. As a reformer he worked indefatigably against political corruption, patronage, and bossism. His second term coincided with the Panic of 1893, a severe national depression that Cleveland was unable to reverse. It ruined his Democratic party, opening the way for Republican landslides in 1894 and 1896, and for the agrarian and silverite seizure of his Democratic party in 1896. The result was a political realignment that ended the Third Party System and launched the Fourth Party System and the Progressive Era. Biographer Allan Nevins wrote, "in Grover Cleveland the greatness lies in typical rather than unusual qualities. He had no endowments that thousands of men do not have. He possessed honesty, courage, firmness, independence, and common sense. But he possessed them to a degree other men do not."

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Reversing Britain’s economic decline was such a huge and painful undertaking that, at least until the later years, the economy had to come first.

In fact, though flawed in some respects, the speech with its emphasis on remoralising society and on strengthening the family, deserves re-reading.

It does not though, reveal much about his essential philosophy, which with Keith — as with most professional politicians — remained below the surface.

The kind of Conservatism which he and I — though coming from very different backgrounds — favoured would be best described as "liberal", in the old-fashioned sense. And I mean the liberalism of Mr Gladstone not of the latter day collectivists.

That is to say, we placed far greater confidence in individuals, families, businesses and neighbourhoods than in the State.

— Margaret Thatcher, Keith Joseph Memorial Lecture ("Liberty and Limited Government"), 11 January 1996

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The Paris March for Life is an annual demonstration protesting abortion held in the French capital in late January, close to the anniversary date of the 1975 law that legalized abortion in France. Over the years, the Paris March for Life has become the largest annual pro-life gathering in Europe. 2010 saw a sharp rise in attendance, possibly as high as 25,000 compared to 15,000 in 2009.

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