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Political Ideologies In Action: Classical Conservatism

A research guide for John Hulgreen's Political Ideologies in Action (SCT2107.01)

Quick Description

Traditionalist conservatism, also known as traditional conservatism, classical conservatism, traditionalism is a political philosophy emphasizing the need for the principles of natural law and transcendent moral order, tradition, hierarchy, organic unity, classicism, high culture, and the intersecting spheres of loyalty.

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Brief Bios

Edmund Burke was an Irish statesman born in Dublin, as well as an author, orator, political theorist, and philosopher who, after moving to London, served as a member of parliament (MP) for many years in the House of Commons with the Whig Party.

In his Reflections on the Revolution in France, Burke claimed that the revolution was destroying the fabric of good society, and condemned the persecution of the Catholic Church that resulted from it. This led to his becoming the leading figure within the conservative faction of the Whig Party, which he dubbed the "Old Whigs", as opposed to the pro–French Revolution "New Whigs."

In the nineteenth century Burke was praised by both conservatives and liberals. Subsequently, in the twentieth century, he became widely regarded as the philosophical founder of modern conservatism.

 


Michael Joseph Oakeshott was an English philosopher and political theorist who wrote about philosophy of history, philosophy of religion, aesthetics, philosophy of education, and philosophy of law.

 


Russell Amos Kirk was an American political theorist, moralist, historian, social critic, literary critic, and fiction author known for his influence on 20th century American conservatism. His 1953 book, The Conservative Mind, gave shape to the amorphous post-World War II conservative movement. It traced the development of conservative thought in the Anglo-American tradition, giving special importance to the ideas of Edmund Burke. Kirk was also considered the chief proponent of traditionalist conservatism.

 


William Frank Buckley Jr. was an American conservative author and commentator. He founded National Review magazine in 1955, which had a major impact in stimulating the conservative movement; hosted 1,429 episodes of the television show Firing Line (1966–1999); and wrote a nationally syndicated newspaper column.

George H. Nash, a historian of the modern American conservative movement, said Buckley was "arguably the most important public intellectual in the United States in the past half century… For an entire generation, he was the preeminent voice of American conservatism and its first great ecumenical figure." Buckley's primary contribution to politics was a fusion of traditional American political conservatism with laissez-faire economic theory and anti-communism, laying groundwork for the new American conservatism of presidential candidate Barry Goldwater and President Ronald Reagan.

 

 


Andrew Michael Sullivan is an English-born American author, editor, and blogger. Sullivan is a conservative political commentator, a former editor of The New Republic, and the author or editor of six books. He was a pioneer of the political blog, starting his in 2000. He eventually moved his blog to various publishing platforms, including Time, The Atlantic, The Daily Beast, and finally an independent subscription-based format. He announced his retirement from blogging in 2015.

Sullivan's conservatism is rooted in his Roman Catholic background and in the ideas of the British political philosopher Michael Oakeshott. In 2003, he wrote he was no longer able to support the American conservative movement, as he was disaffected with the Republican Party's continued rightward drift on social issues during the George W. Bush era.