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Conservatism (Latin: conservare, "conserve") is a political and social philosophy that holds that traditional institutions work best and society should avoid radical change. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others oppose modernism and seek a return to the way things were.  The first established use of the term in a political context was by François-René de Chateaubriand  in 1819, following the French Revolution.  The term has since been used to describe a wide range of views. R. J. White wrote: "To put conservatism in a bottle with a label is like trying to liquify the atmosphere… The difficulty arises from the nature of the thing. For conservatism is less a political doctrine than a habit of mind, a mode of feeling, a way of living."

Political science often credits British politician Edmund Burke with many of the ideas that we now call conservative.

Conservative political parties include the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan, the Republican Party in the United States, the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom, the Liberal Party of Australia, the Kuomintang of the ROC and the Bharatiya Janata Party in India.
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