What is Conservatism?

Does voting Republican make someone a conservative? What about being politically, economically, or socially affiliated with today's "right wing"? What makes a conservative a conservative? What are the primary tenets of conservatism? What is the conservative movement, and what is its history? In this lecture, we will explore these questions, examining some of the major figures in the history of Anglo-American conservatism since the eighteenth century. We will also consider one of the major political, sociological, intellectual, economic, and theological assumptions held by conservatives over the past two centuries.


Recommended Readings

Reflections on the Revolution in France, Edmund Burke

The Roots of the American Order, Russell Kirk

Ideas Have Consequences, Richard Weaver

The Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay

Conservatism: An Invitation to the Great Tradition, Roger Scruton

Course Years:



John D. Wilsey, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Church History and Philosophy
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary