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The Conservative and Unionist Party in the United Kingdom is often referred to as the Tory Party. This appellation is quite general and is even used by its own members at all levels despite its less than complimentary origin: "from the Middle Irish word tóraidhe, modern Irish tóraí — outlaw, robber".[1] The original Tory Party which preceded the Conservatives was founded in 1678 and the Tamworth ManifestoWikipedia transformed the Tory Party into the modern-day Conservatives.[2]

Tory is also widely used in Canada to refer to the Conservative and Progressive Conservative parties at both the federal and provincial level.

As a political philosophy[edit]

In Britain and Canada, "Toryism" also refers to a particular strain of conservative thought that emerged in reaction to the American and French Revolutions. It was the governing philosophy of the British elite, particularly the "old money", seeing traditional values, the landed gentry, and the monarchy as guiding forces in a world that was rapidly changing due to the Industrial Revolution. When it came to cultural values, they were either High Anglicans or traditionalist Catholics and opposed radical social reform. They generally took a paternalistic attitude towards the lower classes; as socialist politics developed in the late 19th century, they often came around to supporting a welfare state in order to prevent poverty from leading to social upheaval and revolution.[3] They were highly suspicious of free trade, particularly when it came to agriculture, and economically they supported protectionist policies like the Corn Laws[4] which fueled the Great Famine in Ireland.

Today, Conservatives who still identify with classical Toryism as opposed to the neoliberalism of the modern Conservative Party typically call themselves High Tories or Red Tories.

"Tory" in the US[edit]

"Mobbing the Tories" following the revolution

In the US, the word has generally retained its pejorative emphasis. During the American Revolutionary War, "Tory" referred to a resident of the colonies who supported the British. Many, including Benjamin Franklin's son William, fled the country during and after the Revolution, moving to Canada or back to the British Isles. At least part of the motivation for fleeing was to escape widespread mob violence following the revolution.

During the American Civil War, "Tory" was used in a derogatory manner in the southern states, referring to southerners fighting for the North.[citation needed]

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, the moonbat capital of the East Coast, Brattle Street, between Harvard Square and the Watertown border, is sometimes called Tory Row due to the large number of big, very old houses and the Revolutionary-era population of Royalists who lived in them.


  1. Coincidentally, in South Korea, those who talk nonsense are also known as Torai.
  2. See the Wikipedia article on Tories (British Political Party).
    See the Wikipedia article on Tamworth Manifesto.
    See the Wikipedia article on Conservative Party (UK).
  3. For a non-British example of this, the German welfare state created by Otto von Bismarck was transparently aimed at undercutting the appeal of the socialists and preventing an uprising like the Paris Commune in 1871.
  4. Encyclopedia Brittanica: Corn Law