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Study Notes

Change to Conserve (Conservatism)

AQA, Edexcel

Last updated 24 Jun 2020

Conservatives pride themselves on their ability to adopt to changing social circumstances.

This in part reflects their non-ideological approach and their preference for pragmatism. Change is necessary in order that society may function. In order to properly understand this, we need to remind ourselves that the core aim of conservatism is social order and harmony. To achieve this, conservatives favour those institutions and values that encourage a degree of cohesion between the various elements of society.

This line of argument is most closely associated with those figures who sought to formulate the philosophical underpinnings of conservatism.

For instance, both Edmund Burke and Benjamin Disraeli sought to bring people from all walks of life closer together and thereby forge one cohesive nation. No section within society should be excluded provided they support a consensual approach to decision-making. The conservative mindset has long been associated with those values and characteristics that might bring the various members of a nation together such as patriotism, neighbourliness, the monarchy, customs and traditions. The latest UK example of this line of thought within conservatism is the Big Society.

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