Liberalism vs. Conservatism(1800's)

Connor Tramel, Connor Salerno, Justin Lee, 7th Period


Conservatism- A political philosophy based on tradition and social stability. Dislikes many changes or new ideas.

Liberalism- A political philosophy based largely on Enlightenment principles that held that people should be as free as possible from government restraint and that civil liberties should be protected.



Liberalism first became a distinct political movement during the Age of Enlightenment, when it became popular among philosophers in the Western world. The 17th-century philosopher John Locke is often credited with finding liberalism as a distinct tradition. Locke argued that each man has a natural right to life, liberty and property, while adding that governments must not violate these rights based on the social contract. The French Revolution used liberal philosophy to justify the armed overthrow of what they saw as tyrannical rule. Liberalism started to spread rapidly even after the French Revolution. The 19th century saw liberal governments established in nations across Europe, South America, and North America.


Conservatism first established the use of the term in a political context originated from a french writer in 1818, to take away the policies of the French Revolution. There is no single set of policies that are universally regarded as conservative, because the meaning of conservatism depends on what is considered traditional in a given place and time. The conservatives from different parts of the world are each upholding their respective traditions and may disagree on a wide range of issues.


In the 19th century Liberalism was the political philosophy that focused mainly on liberty and equality. It stressed that the people should be controlled by the government as little as possible and encouraged freedom of speech/press, etc. Conservatism was the political philosophy that focused on stability, even if it we are to take away some rights such as freedom of press. Another term for conservatism was monarchism because conservatives desired stability through monarchism rule. It encouraged following the government no matter what in order to create more stability. However, in today's society conservatives want less government intervention in their lives, which is the exact opposite of what it meant to be a conservative in the 19th century. Liberals used to want as little government intervention as possible in the 19th century, but now they want the government to be involved in their lives and to try and enforce equality among citizens through taxes and other methods.


The significance of liberalism and conservatism from the 19th century is that it was the emergence of the two ideas that are still two of the main political ideas today. When someone runs for president today there is a competition between a Republican and a Democratic candidate. The Democrat generally represents the people with liberal beliefs and the Republican generally represents the people with conservative beliefs. Whether a candidate has liberal beliefs or conservative belliefs is very important to voters. This was how it was in the 19th century and that is why it's still like this today. Without the emergence of liberalism and conservatism in the 19th century our elections, political systems, and political ideas would be different than they are today.


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Liberals want everyone to be equal

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Characteristics of both in the 19th century

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Conservatism vs. Liberalism

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People were judged by which they chose

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John Locke, Liberalism