A fine study of conservative thought in politics, religion, philosophy and literature from 1790 to 1952, from Burke to Santayana, this ""prolonged essay in definition, as its author terms it, will serve in the intellectual world as spokesman for the continuum of thinkers whose response to immediate problems has been based on the will to preserve the ancient moral traditions of humanity. Such preservation, Mr. Kirk points out, stands on the premises that divine intent rules society as well as conscience, that civilized society requires order and class with only a moral equality, that property and freedom are connected, that tradition and sound prejudice face man's anarchic impulses, that change and reform are not identical; and assumes a love of variety and mystery of the traditional life. In England and America he follows leaders of such thought in the persons of Burke, John Adams, Sir Walter Scott and Coleridge, Randolph and Calhoun, Macaulay, Cooper, and Tocqueville, the traditional New England conservatives, the imaginative Disraeli, the religious Newman, the critical Babbitt, More, and Santayana. These figures and many others appear in the context of their times with their philosophical opponents from Romantics and Utilitarians to contemporary democratic levelers. This is a body of thought which deserves attention, and the present book provides a basis for comparison.