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Conservative

name, held, democrats, conservatives and war

CONSERVATIVE, as applied to one of the two great parties in English politics, was first used by J. W. Croker in an article in the Quarterly Review for January 1830, and was by Macaulay, in the Edinburgh Review for 1832, referred to as a anew cant word?' Con servative accordingly began to supersede Tory about the time of the Refortn Bill controversies. The plural form of the word, or its equivalent in other tongues, has been assumed as a dis tinctive name by certain political parties in many nations. These parties are sometimes actually, and always avowedly, opposed to changes from old and established forms and practices. In United States history these names have never been in general use, but in Van Buren's administration the name of Conserva tives was applied to those Democrats that at the special session of Congress of September 1837 opposed the establishment of the sub treasury system. In the Congress that met in December 1839 they had practically disappeared. The name was also assumed by Southern whites during the reconstruction penod following the Civil War, to show their adherence to the old State governments, the abolition of which by Congress they opposed. In Virginia the name was in use until 1872. The name was also used in the North during this period. The Demo crats applied it to themselves to draw moderate Republican votes. In the United States (1830 40) the name of Conservatives was adopted by seceding Democrats, 4 in the Senate and 14 in the House, who voted with the Whigs against the sub-treasury, though voting with their party on other questions. They called them

selves Conservatives, as wishing to conserve the prosperity of the State banks, which they held the sub-treasury to be a disguised attempt to ruin. They held the balance of power in the House 1837-38, and voted down in two success ive sessions Silas Wright's sub-treasury bill, which had been passed by the Senate. The elec tions of 1838, however, returned only four of them to the House, and these ceased their active opposition—partly because the govern ment had only escaped bankruptcy in 1838, on account of uncollectible claims against banks and individuals, by issuing fresh treasury notes in place of those canceled. The Whigs held the power and passed the Wright bill in 1840. In the Civil War the Northern Democrats, and especially the border State Democrats, often called themselves Conservatives, as wishing to preserve the old balance of State and national powers; and the name was much ridiculed by the other side. During the Reconstruction period, the Southern whites to a considerable extent took the name of Conservatives as wish ing to preserve their old State governments, which they held to have the same existence and sovereig-nty as before the war, according to the declarations of the Northern leaders and Con gress themselves, in stating the purposes of the war. The name, more particularly in Virginia, lasted down to 1872. See TORY; WHIG.