Conservatism in North America

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Conservatism in North America is a political philosophy that varies in form, depending on the country and the region, but that has similar themes and goals. Academic study into the differences and similarities between conservatism in North American countries has been undertaken on numerous occasions. Reginald Bibby has asserted that the primary reason that conservatism has been so strong and enduring throughout North America is because of the propagation of religious values from generation to generation. This connection is strongest in mainstream Protestantism in the United States and both Protestantism and Roman Catholicism in Canada. [1]

Contents

According to Louis Hartz, nations that developed from settler colonies were European "fragments" that froze the class structure and underlying ideology prevalent in the mother country at the time of their foundation. He considered Latin America and French Canada to be fragments of feudal Europe, and the United States and English Canada as liberal fragments. [2] However Gad Horowitz, writing that Hartz had acknowledged a Tory influence in English Canada, claimed a conservative tradition had developed there as well. [3] American conservatism is different from European conservatism, with its combination of traditionalism and libertarianism, and has its roots in American traditions and classical liberalism of the 18th and 19th centuries, [4] although Canada also developed an American-style conservatism that competed with the older Tory conservatism. [5] A right-wing conservatism, or "Latin conservatism", developed in Latin America and Quebec. Today, conservative and conservative liberal parties in North America cooperate through the International Democrat Union. [6]

Canada

Conservatism in Canada is generally considered to be primarily represented by the modern-day Conservative Party of Canada in federal party politics, and by various centre-right and right-wing parties at the provincial level. The first party calling itself "Conservative" in what would become Canada was elected in the Province of Canada election of 1854.

Far-right politics have never been a prominent force in Canadian society. [7] Canadian conservative ideology is rooted in British "Tory-ism", rather than American liberalism. [8] [9] Stemming from the resettlement of United Empire Loyalist after the American Revolutionary War with traditionalist conservatism views alongside pro-market liberalism ideals, [10] [8] is the reason that unlike the conservatives in the United States, Canadian conservatives generally prefer the Westminster system of government. [11] [8] The United States of America is a federal republic, while Canada is a federal parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarchy.

United States

Conservatism is a major political ideology in the United States. American conservatism is different from European conservatism, and it has its roots in American Republicanism and classical liberalism. In contemporary American politics, it is usually associated with the Republican Party. Core conservative principles include small government, respect for American traditions, support for Judeo-Christian values, traditional morality, and anti-Communism. Economically, U.S. conservatives support fiscal conservatism, economic liberalism, laissez faire capitalism, and opposition to government intervention in economy. In foreign policy, American conservatives usually advocate a strong national defense. They support the doctrine of "American exceptionalism", a belief that the U.S. is unique among nations and that its standing and actions do and should guide the course of world history.

Although there has always been a conservative tradition in America, the modern American conservative movement began during the 1950s. Russell Kirk popularized conservatism in 1953; published The Conservative Mind. Two years later, in 1955, William F. Buckley Jr. founded National Review , a conservative magazine that included traditionalists, such as Kirk, along with libertarians and anti-communists. This bringing together of separate ideologies under a conservative umbrella was known as fusionism. The term was invented by Frank Meyer. Politically, the conservative movement in the U.S. has often been a coalition of various groups, which has sometimes contributed to its electoral success and other times been a source of internal conflict.

Modern conservatism saw its first national political success with the 1964 nomination of Barry Goldwater, a U.S. Senator from Arizona and author of The Conscience of a Conservative (1960), as the Republican candidate for president. In 1980, the conservative movement was able to attract disaffected Southern Whites (who were formerly Democrats), neoconservatives (former Cold War liberal Democrats), and evangelical Christians, to nominate and elect the Republican candidate Ronald Reagan, a conservative, as president. The 1980s and beyond is known as the Reagan Era, a conservative decade. Today's conservatives regard Reagan as the iconic conservative hero. Subsequent electoral victories included gaining a Republican congressional majority in 1994 and the election of George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.

The conservative movement has been advanced by influential think tanks such as The Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, Hoover Institution, Hudson Institute and Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. Major media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal , New York Post and Fox News are often described as conservative.

Since the 1970s, the two major American political parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, have become increasingly polarized, with the Democrats described as "liberal" and "left wing" and the Republicans as "conservative" and "right wing". The alt-right has pushed the Overton window to the right, [12] making conservative positions seem more centrist. [13] [14] [15]

Mexico

In Mexico, political conservatism originally arose in reaction to the Mexican War of Independence. Because of his prominence in the Mexican Conservative Party, Lucas Alamán has been called "the most organized intelligence behind Conservatism in Mexico." [16] Throughout the presidency of Miguel Alemán Valdés between 1946 and 1983, the politics of the country experienced a significant shift towards conservatism. [17] Gastón García Cantú has performed the most extensive study of Mexican conservatism to date. [18]

Central America

Before the 1930s, Central American countries generally had dichotomous politics divided along conservative-liberal lines, but the effects of the Great Depression in the area caused most of these opposing parties to merge in order to maintain authority. [19] Traditionally, political conservatism in the area has been ideologically linked with Protestantism, but this connection has been questioned in recent years. [20] One of the most prominent historical representatives of conservatism in Central America was Rafael Carrera, the first President of Guatemala. Not only did he effectively suppress liberal reforms in his own country, but he contributed greatly to the unity and influence of conservatism in each of the countries throughout Central America. [21]

Belize

Belize is generally a conservative country as demonstrated by their laws which make abortion and male homosexuality illegal. [22] The primary conservative party in Belize since the country's first parliamentary election as an independent state in 1984 has been the United Democratic Party. [23] Nonetheless, the other major political party, the People's United Party, has a very similar political ideology. Historically, both parties have tended to be more conservative while in power than when in opposition. [24]

Guatemala

Conservatism in Guatemala has always been closely linked with the country's Roman Catholic clergy. [25] Between the declaration of Guatemala's independence in 1821 and the Liberal Revolution of 1871, the country's politics were dominated by conservatism. [26] In the mid-twentieth century, Francisco Javier Arana served as a unifying force for conservatives in Guatemala after his own presidency. [27]

Panama

When Panama was separated from Colombia in 1903, the newly independent country of Panama was initially controlled by a military junta led by José Agustín Arango and Manuel Amador Guerrero. Although the junta included a few token liberal members, the administration was heavily conservative. [28] Politics in the country were strongly divided along conservative-liberal lines in the following years. [29] Conservatives were in power until a military coup in 1968. [30]

Caribbean

The main conservative political body in the Caribbean is the Caribbean Democrat Union (CDU) which was formed in 1986 by Anglo-Caribbean leaders to unify conservative political parties in the region. [31] The CDP is a suborganization of the International Democrat Union (IDU). [32] In Beyond a Boundary , C. L. R. James argues that the influence of cricket and English literature have been instrumental in strengthening conservativism in the Caribbean. [33]

Cuba

In the early 20th century, the concept of conservatism was not well-defined in Cuban politics. [34] In 1913, Mario García Menocal became the third President of Cuba and the first Cuban president representing the Conservative Party of Cuba when the Liberal Party of Cuba split between supporters of Alfredo Zayas y Alfonso and supporters of José Miguel Gómez. [35] Still, the conservative-liberal distinction fails to address many of the major political issues in Cuban governmental history. [36]

Study of concept

A 2002 conference at the University of Augsburg which was dedicated to this very topic. [37] There were two main concepts discussed at the conference. The first concept was the connection between the brand of conservatism arising in the 1980s and the 1990s and social democracy. The second concept was simply an exploration of the differences and similarities between conservatism in Canada and the United States. Some feminist scholars have suggested that the prevalence of conservatism throughout North America has resulted in the continent's general post-feminist stance. [38]

See also

Related Research Articles

Conservatism is a political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization. The central tenets of conservatism include tradition, organic society, hierarchy, authority, and property rights. Conservatives seek to preserve a range of institutions such as religion, parliamentary government, and property rights, with the aim of emphasizing social stability and continuity. The more traditional elements—reactionaries—oppose modernism and seek a return to "the way things were".

History of Central America aspect of history

When studying the history of Central America one must first clarify just what Central America is. Today (2019) it is commonly taken to include Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. This definition matches modern political borders. However, in some senses and at some times Central America begins in Mexico, at the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and the former country of Yucatán was part of Central America. At the other end, before its independence in 1903 Panama was politically and culturally part of the South American country of Colombia, or its predecessors. At times English-speaking Belize, with a quite different history, has been considered as apart from Central America.

Right-wing politics holds the view that certain social orders and hierarchies are inevitable, natural, normal, or desirable, typically supporting this position on the basis of natural law, economics, or tradition. Hierarchy and inequality may be viewed as natural results of traditional social differences or the competition in market economies. The term right-wing can generally refer to "the conservative or reactionary section of a political party or system".

Social conservatism is the belief that society is built upon a fragile network of relationships which need to be upheld through duty, traditional values and established institutions. This can include moral issues. Social conservatism is generally sceptical of social change, and believes in maintaining the status quo concerning social issues such as family life, sexual relations, and patriotism.

Christian democracy is a political ideology that emerged in 19th-century Europe under the influence of Catholic social teaching. Christian democratic political ideology advocates for a commitment to social market principles and qualified interventionism. It was conceived as a combination of modern democratic ideas and traditional Christian values, incorporating the social teachings espoused by the Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed, and Pentecostal traditions in various parts of the world. After World War II, the Protestant and Catholic movements of the Social Gospel and Neo-Thomism, respectively, played a role in shaping Christian democracy. Christian democracy continues to be influential in Europe and Latin America, although it is also present in other parts of the world.

Political colour

Political colours are colours used to represent a political ideology, movement or party, either officially or unofficially. Parties in different countries with similar ideologies sometimes use similar colours. For example, the colour red symbolises left-wing ideologies in many countries, while the colour orange symbolizes Christian democratic political ideology, and the colour yellow is most commonly associated with liberalism and right-libertarianism.

Social liberalism, also known as left liberalism in Germany, modern liberalism in the United States and new liberalism in the United Kingdom, is a political ideology and a variety of liberalism that endorses a regulated market economy and the expansion of civil and political rights. Under social liberalism, the common good is viewed as harmonious with the freedom of the individual.

Liberal conservatism is a political ideology combining conservative policies with liberal stances, especially on economic, social and ethical issues, or a brand of political conservatism strongly influenced by liberalism.

This article gives information on liberalism worldwide. It is an overview of parties that adhere to some form of liberalism and is therefore a list of liberal parties around the world.

Centre-right politics or center-right politics, also referred to as moderate-right politics, are politics that lean to the right of the left–right political spectrum, but are closer to the centre than other right-wing politics. From the 1780s to the 1880s, there was a shift in the Western world of social class structure and the economy, moving away from the nobility and mercantilism, as well as moving toward the bourgeoisie and capitalism. This general economic shift toward capitalism affected centre-right movements such as the British Conservative Party, that responded by becoming supportive of capitalism.

Conservatism in the United States is a political and social philosophy characterized by respect for American traditions, republicanism, support for Christian values, moral universalism, pro-business and anti-labor union, anti-communism, individualism, advocacy of American exceptionalism, and a defense of Western culture from the perceived threats posed by socialism, authoritarianism, and moral relativism.

Conservative liberalism is a variant of liberalism, combining liberal values and policies with conservative stances, or simply representing the right wing of the liberal movement. It is a more positive and less radical variant of classical liberalism. Conservative liberal parties tend to combine liberal policies with more traditional stances on social and ethical issues. Neoconservatism has also been identified as an ideological relative or twin to conservative liberalism, and some similarities exist also between conservative liberalism and national liberalism.

Fiscal conservatism, also referred to as conservative capitalism, conservative economics and economic conservatism, is a political and economic philosophy regarding fiscal policy and fiscal responsibility advocating low taxes, reduced government spending and minimal government debt. Free trade, deregulation of the economy, lower taxes and privatization are the defining qualities of fiscal conservatism. Fiscal conservatism follows the same philosophical outlook of classical liberalism and economic liberalism. The term has its origins in the era of the New Deal during the 1930s as a result of the policies initiated by modern liberals, when many classical liberals started calling themselves conservatives as they did not wish to be identified with what was passing for liberalism.

Political ideologies in the United States

Political ideologies in the United States refers to the various ideologies and ideological demographics in the United States. Citizens in the United States generally classify themselves as adherent to positions along the political spectrum as either liberal, progressive, moderate, or conservative. Modern American liberalism aims at the preservation and extension of human, social and civil rights as well as the government guaranteed provision of positive rights. It combines social progressivism and to some extent ordoliberalism and is highly similar to European social liberalism. American conservatism commonly refers to a combination of economic liberalism and libertarianism and social conservatism. It aims at protecting the concepts of small government and individual liberty while promoting traditional values on some social issues.

Conservatism in Australia

Conservatism in Australia refers to the political philosophy of conservatism as it has developed in Australia. Politics in Australia has since at least the 1910s been most predominantly a contest between the Australian labour movement and the combined forces of anti-Labour groups. The anti-Labour groups have at times identified themselves as "free trade", as "nationalist", as "anti-communist", as "liberal", “right of centre”, besides other labels. Until the 1990s, the label "conservative" has rarely been used in Australia, and when used it tended to be used by pro-Labour forces as a term of disparagement against their opponents.

National liberalism is a variant of liberalism, combining liberal policies and issues with elements of nationalism.

Index of Central America-related articles

This is an Index of Central America-related articles. This index defines Central America as the seven nations of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.

Conservatism in the United Kingdom is related to its counterparts in other Western nations, but has a distinct tradition and has encompassed a wide range of theories over the decades. The Conservative Party, which forms the mainstream centre-right party in Britain, has developed many different internal factions and ideologies.

References

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  2. The Founding of New Societies: Studies in the History of the United States, Latin America, South Africa, Canada, and Australia (1964), Louis Hartz
  3. "Conservatism, Liberalism, and Socialism in Canada: An Interpretation" (1966), Gad Horowitz
  4. Political ideology today (2001), Ian Adams, p. 32
  5. "Ernest Manning and George Grant: Who is the Real Conservative" (2004), Ron Dart.
  6. International Democrat Union Archived October 10, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
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  38. Rhoda Reddock (1999). Feminism and Feminist Thought: A Historical Overview. Gender in Caribbean Development: Papers Presented at the Inaugural Seminar of the University of the West Indies, Women and Development Studies Project. Canoe Press. p. 72. ISBN   978-976-8125-55-2. "The rise of conservatism in North America and Western Europe has been a severe challenge to the movement there and many argue that these countries are in a phase of post-feminism."