Conservatism is often labelled as a ‘disposition’, ‘tradition’, or even a set of kneejerk reactions, rather than an ideology. Its suspicion of grand theorising has lent itself to this characterisation, but in this book leading political theorist Edmund Neill challenges this view.  

He argues that that conservatism is better identified as an ideology, albeit one that, rather than putting forward positive values like ‘liberty’ or ‘equality’, conceptualizes human conduct as being partially dependent on forces beyond human volition, and prioritises cautiously managing change. He proceeds to chart the evolution of conservative thought from the French Revolution to the present, examining how conservatives responded to disruptions to traditional order across the 19th and 20th centuries, including the Enlightenment, the growth of free market capitalism, two world wars, and the creation of the welfare state. Drawing on examples from Britain, France and the United States, Neill concludes with some reflections on the challenges (and opportunities) that contemporary populism presents for conservatism.  

This accomplished overview is essential reading for any student or scholar working in political theory and political philosophy, especially those with particular interest in ideologies and conservatism.
Show More
Buy Now


Order Exam Copy

For Lecturers Only

More Info
  • October 2021
  • 180 pages
  • 138 x 216 mm / 5 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $59.95
  • 9781509527052
  • Paperback $19.95
  • 9781509527069
  • Open eBook $48.00
  • 9781509527090
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Defining Conservatism

Chapter 2 Conservatism from the French Revolution to 1848

Chapter 3 Conservatism from 1848 to the First World War

Chapter 4 Conservatism in the Era of the Two World Wars

Chapter 5 Conservatism from the 1960s to the Present



About the Author
Edmund Neill is Lecturer in Modern History at the New College of the Humanities
Show More