The subject of this paper is political conservatism in the West in its 19th century setting with an analysis of, first, its major characteristics and, second, its view to various political institutions and practices as monarchy, aristocracy, religion and democracy. Regarding its major characteristics, 19th century Western political conservatism was distinguished with its opposition to change in general and radical change in particular, distaste with rationalism as a guide for human action, and reference to tradition, religion and experience for guidance. And in its view to various political institutions and practices, it was supportive of monarchy, aristocracy, religion at the expense of popular democratic politics. The support for monarchy was based on the idea that monarchies had proven their utility and superiority with all those great civilizations, states and prosperous nations they had created from the past to the present. And aristocracy was admired for it was a distinguished class of people who were advanced in knowledge, wisdom, virtue, courage, success and such qualities. And religion was necessary to make good people helping preserve law, order and peace, and also because it was an essential whole of truth. Democracy, however, was deemed as injurious to state sovereignty and authority which had much potential to lead to anarchy and disorder. Western political conservatism gradually met with a process of change in its view to democracy in the century, however, by abandoning its staunch opposition to democracy and recognizing it as an effective alternative political regime.
Anahtar Kelimeler: political conservatism, early conservative thought, western conservatism