Types of Conservatism

HideShow resource information

Robert Peel and the Peelites

  • Peel recognised that reform and change were inevitable
  • Conservatism would not survive as simply a negative philosophy of opposition to change
  • Free Market Capitalism was promoted rather than protectionism in order to align the party with the growing middle class
  • He is better known for reforming the met police in London
  • He wrote the Tamworth Manifesto in 1834
1 of 7

Disraeli and One Nation Conservatism

  • Disraeli had to decide how to move the party forward to deal with the growing threat of socialism
  • He is widely credited with aligning the conservative movement with the idea of organic society
  • Disraeli argued that free market capitalism was creating a society of individuals at the expense of social responsibility.
  • The free market was dividing society into Haves and Have Nots
  • Worried the UK would lose its Volksgemeinschaft- the peoples community
  • Two social groups would become two nations which would lead to conflict
  • One nation was the solution- a gov ruling in the interests of all classes
  • One nationisms aim was unity and the avoidance of social conflict that could lead to revolution
  • Continues to influence today- Butler said we should aim for fundamental unity
  • One nations under Thatcher were called wets- Heseltine, Clarke
  • New Rights were known as dries or individualists
  • Wets are now referred to as social conservatives or compassionate conservatives
  • Michael Portillo is a compassionate conservative
2 of 7

Thatcher and the New Right

  • The term originated from a new wing of the republican party represented by Reagan
  • It is sometimes referred to as neoliberalism OR neoconservatism
  • It is a blend of neoliberal economic thought and conservative views of law, order and morality
  • The NR has foundations in the Chicago School led by Milton Friedman and Von Hayek
  • Friedman wrote capitalism and freedom in 1962 which remains central to New Rights
  • He argued that the rise of socialism had led to excessive state interference in the economy and that this loss of economic individualism would lead to a loss of political freedom
  • Hayek wrote Road to Serfdom in which the casualty of socialism was individualism and the end product was totalitarianism. Trade unions and the state were enablers.
  • Thatcher and Keith Joseph were both influenced by the Chicago School
  • Nozick was a third key figure of the New Right. An Cap. Saw a strong state as societal evil.
  • Reagan and Thatcher both alluded to this statement in speeches- Reagans inauguration and Thatcher's lecture to the Bow Group
  • NeoCons have strong ideological basis unlike traditionals. Has drawn its belief in economic freedom from liberalism- monetarism
  • Thatcher was a populist- Suspicious of the power of the state, oppose personal and corporation tax, limit trade unions and are nationalistic
3 of 7

New Right Continued

  • Sarah Palin appealed to American populists during the 2008 presidential campaign as she stated that the gov should be ran in accordance with the basic values of ordinary people: Christianity, family, free enterprise, individualism and common sense
  • The Tea Part (very far right) continued this view during the 2010 midterms
  • NR has a strong nationalist outlook as it developed when globalisation and EUropean integration was happening
  • NR advocates strongly reasserted national interests in the face of threats to the autonomy of the nation state - this has been described as defensive and xenophobic
  • Europe has presented a dilemma as a single European market with no trade barriers is consistent with their attachment to the free market
  • Integration threatens a nations political independence - this is why the conservative party has wrangled and divided over the issues of Europs
  • NR has also been concerned by potential social disorder resulting from increased freedom, tolerance, lack of social responsibility and challenges to authority
  • It has taken a strong paternal view on law and order and has a firm stance that national security must be defended
  • Thatcher said that crime is not political, it is crime.
4 of 7

Thatcher's Impact

  • Thatcher became leader in 1975 as a little known politician.
  • She was faced with a severely depressed economy in the 80s and argued that inflation and unemployment resulted from an excess of gov intervention and she refused to allow the gov to spend its way out of recession by borrowing large amounts to subsidise failing industries therefore artificially creating jobs
  • She had to establish that in times of economic difficulty, the gov should do less not more
  • Many of Thatcher's opponents left the gov as a result of her laissez faireism which left the way open for her to replace them with allies.
  • She tackled trade unionism. Traditionalists warned that they were and entrenched part of the economic structure, however she embarked on a series of measures to reduce their legal and economic powers
  • She challenged the established institutions of the civil service, local gov and the City of London, cementing her reputation as a radical politician
  • Privatisation formed another cornerstone of Thatcher's ideology and her commitment to rolling back the frontiers of the state.
  • Reduced the size of social security benefits and insisted that individuals be responsible for their own welfare. Society was self interested individuals allowed to flourish by the gov.
5 of 7



  • Big society
  • Pupil premiums
  • Voting reform
  • 'Hug a hoodie'
  • World cup bid
  • Coalition government
  • Welfare to work
  • Removal of 10k income tax threshold
  • Pragmatic (gove on education)
  • Prisoner rehabilitation scheme
  • Opposition to socially authoritarian measures
6 of 7



  • Married couples tax break
  • VAT rise
  • Tuition fees rise
  • Free schools
  • World cup bid
  • Spending cuts
  • Property owners right to defend
  • Welfare to work
  • Reluctance to give prisoners voting rights
  • Cutting the deficit straight away
  • Opposition to socially authoritarian measures
  • Corporation tax breaks
7 of 7


No comments have yet been made

Similar Government & Politics resources:

See all Government & Politics resources »See all Conservatism resources »