© 2005 David Koeller.  All rights reserved.



  • Def: A general term for a variety of beliefs which opposed the goals or methods of the French Revolution.
  • Some Conservatives, such as Edmund Burke, supported the goals of the Revolution--ideologically he was a liberal--but he opposed the methods.  He did not believe that violent revolution, especially one based on principles of natural law, was a good idea.
  • Other Conservatives, such as the Austrian Prime Minister Metternich, were opposed both to the goals and to the methods of Revolution.  A product of the Enlightenment, Metternich believed that the Revolution was brought on not by reason, but by passion.  The proper, reasonable government was an Enlightened Despotism, where power was in the hands of a group of expert professionals, not the rabble.
  • Still other Conservatives opposed not only the methods and goals of the Revolution, but also opposed the Enlightenment.  These reactionaries wanted to return Europe to a pre-enlightenment state built on a marriage of Throne and Altar.  That is, they wanted a State supported by a faithful and loyal Church.


© 2003 by David Koeller.  All rights reserved.