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Political attitude or ideology denoting a preference for institutions and practices that have evolved historically and are thus manifestations of continuity and stability. It was first expressed in the modern era through the works of Edmund Burke in reaction to the French Revolution, which Burke believed tarnished its ideals through its excesses. Conservatives believe that the implementation of change should be minimal and gradual; they appreciate history and are more realistic than idealistic. Well-known conservative parties include the British Conservative Party, the German Christian Democratic Union, the U.S. Republican Party, and the Japanese Liberal-Democratic Party. See alsoChristian Democracy; liberalism.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on conservatism, visit Britannica.com.