The Chimera of Conservative Dualism

Michael Freeden

in Ideologies and Political Theory

Published in print April 1998 | ISBN: 9780198294146
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599323 | DOI:
 The Chimera of Conservative Dualism

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From the mid‐nineteenth century, conservatism found itself in acute competition with the rising ideologies of the left, liberalism, and then socialism. By the end of that century, the struggle was one of political survival on the institutional level, though the late nineteenth century provides an excellent example of the ill‐fitting relationship between party and ideology. This chapter starts by looking at the multiple counter‐defences of British conservatism, in which it is commonplace to discern a dual British conservative tradition (an older paternalist Tory tradition and a newer anti‐statist stand) from the end of the nineteenth century. It then goes on to examine the cases against socialism, the parrying of liberal advances, Hugh Cecil's book Conservatism, and American conservatism. Lastly, it reappraises libertarianism, and discusses conservatism and public debate.

Keywords: American conservatism; Britain; British conservatism; Hugh Cecil; conservatism; conservative dualism; dualism; history; ideology; liberalism; libertarianism; public debate; socialism; USA

Chapter.  14636 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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