a: a member or supporter of a major British political group of the 18th and early 19th centuries favoring at first the Stuarts and later royal authority and the established church and seeking to preserve the traditional political structure and defeat parliamentary reform — compare whig
Member of a political group in England, especially in the 18th century. Originally an Irish term for an outlaw, the name was applied as a term of abuse to those who supported the hereditary right of James, the Catholic duke of York (later James II), to succeed to the throne of England. They were opposed by the Whigs in that struggle (1679), but the Tories later modified their doctrine of divine-right absolutism. They came to represent the resistance, mainly by the country gentry, to religious toleration and foreign entanglements. The Tories' political power diminished after Viscount Bolingbroke, a leading Tory, fled to France in 1715; Tory sentiment subsequently survived in the unsuccessful Jacobite movement. After 1784, William Pitt the Younger emerged as the leader of a new Tory party, representing the country gentry, merchants, and administrators. After 1815, the party gradually evolved into the Conservative Party, whose members are still referred to as Tories.