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Conservatism is opposition to rapid changes, and promotes keeping traditions in society.[1] Gradualism is one form. The term "conservative" came to be used for a reaction to the Age of Enlightenment, the neglect of the poor caused by leisurely interest in science and philosophy resulting in the extremely violent French Revolution.

Conservatism tends to support the notion of faith, particularly in Abrahamic traditions in countries where those are the main religions. It began in 1790 with the publication of English author Edmund Burke’s book Reflections on the Revolution in France. In his book, he advocated for being satisfied and for caring government.[2]

Some conservatives seek to keep things as they are, while others want a return to the way things were at an earlier time.[3] A conservative party in England formed which wanted better cooperation between rich and poor, democracy, and somewhat of a welfare state favoured by conservatives in France and other parts of Europe. In the United States, conservatives were suspicious of the welfare state and considered businessmen trustworthy on wages and prices.

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  1. "Conservatism (political philosophy)". Retrieved on 1 November 2009.
  2. BBC: Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797)
  3. Iain McLean and Alistair McMillan, "Conservatism", Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics, Third Edition, "Sometimes it (conservatism) has been outright opposition, based on an existing model of society that is considered right for all time. It can take a 'reactionary' form, harking back to, and attempting to reconstruct, forms of society which existed in an earlier period.", Oxford University Press, 2009, ISBN 978019205165.