You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

The Conservative Party, 1886-2019

1. The Long Conservative Century

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the electoral success of the Conservative Party in what Anthony Seldon has described as the ‘long Conservative century’, 1886-2019, focusing in particular on: (i) the number of times the Conservatives have been the party in power (either in their own right or as part of a coalition) and the tendency for Conservatives, when they achieve power, to stay in power for a long time; (ii) the three low-points in post-war electoral history: the landslide defeats in 1945 and 1997, and their defeat in 1974; and (iii) the mixed fortunes of the Conservative party between 2010-2019, in which they have been the largest party in all three elections (2010, 2015, 2017), but with only one (very modest) majority.


In this course, Dr Richard Hayton (University of Leeds) explores the history of the Conservative Party in ‘the long Conservative century’, 1886-2019. In the first module, we think about the electoral success of the Conservative Party since the late 19th century – 100 years in power, 33 in opposition, making them the most successful political party in world history. In the second module, we think about the two main political philosophies that have characterised conservatism in the 20th century – One-Nation Conservatism and Thatcherism – before turning in the third module to the rise of David Cameron and his attempts to ‘modernise’ the party after more than a decade in opposition. In the final two module, we think about how the Conservative Party have handled two of the great political questions of the past forty years – devolution and Europe.


Dr Richard Hayton is Associate Professor in Politics at the University of Leeds. His research interests are focused on British party politics, ideologies and leadership, and a number of related themes. He has published extensively on Conservative politics, and has edited special issues of the journals Parliamentary Affairs on the politics of Coalition, and British Politics on the fate of Conservative Modernisation. His most recent publication is Reconstructing Conservatism? The Conservative Party in Opposition, 1997-2010 (2012).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Hayton, R. (2020, December 28). The Conservative Party, 1886-2019 - The Long Conservative Century [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Hayton, R. "The Conservative Party, 1886-2019 – The Long Conservative Century." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 28 Dec 2020,

Get instant access to over 6,800 lectures