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Government & Politics   >   Conservatism

Why Conservatism?

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In this course, Professor Jeremy Jennings (King’s College, London) explores the history of conservatism as a political philosophy, from its beginnings in the 18th century to election of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister in December 2019. In the two modules, we think about what caused conservatism to emerge in the 18th century, focusing first on general trends and then on one particular triggering event. In the third module, we outline some of the core doctrines of conservatism – the first of which is its ability to adapt to changing circumstances – before moving on in the fourth, fifth and sixth modules to think about the development of conservatism through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, up to the election of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister in December 2019.

Why Conservatism?

In this module, we think about why conservatism emerged precisely in the later eighteenth century, focusing in particular on: (i) the two trends in the later eighteenth century that conservatives wanted to slow down, if not prevent altogether – industrialisation and secularisation; (ii) the two particular fears of conservatism – revolution and liberalism; (iii) the five bases of support for conservatism – the state, the monarchy, the aristocracy, the peasantry, and the church.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Jennings, J. (2020, December 24). Conservatism - Why Conservatism? [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Jennings, J. "Conservatism – Why Conservatism?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 24 Dec 2020,


Prof. Jeremy Jennings

Prof. Jeremy Jennings

King's College London