Edmund Burke was a political philosopher and a member of British Parliament who is generally considered to be the founder of modern conservatism. His politics are a fusion of other political theorists, and thus aren't particularly cohesive or systematic. However, Burke is an important figure in the history of political thought and he was known for his ability as an orator and statesman.
Burke saw society as if it was an evolving organism. He felt that, like a body, all aspects of a society must be functioning properly in order for society as a whole to remain healthy. Also like a body, he saw society as always attempting a homeostasis. He claimed that there was a delicate balance with all the institutions of society. When one goes into an upheaval, it serves as a profound shock to the rest of society. A society therefore needed to avoid potentially catastrophic rapid or continual changes, as it would leave it reeling. He realized that change was ultimately necessary for an society, but felt that it was done best when it came slowly. This would allow the other aspects of society to adjust properly.
Burke felt that most social changes arose due to a desire for novelty. While he wasn't wholly opposed to change, he believed in tradition and felt that people should be slow to change, allowing everything to adjust properly. He felt that people should consider why existing institutions have lasted as long as they have before attempting to make drastic changes to them. He believed in a concept called "prejudice". Burke felt that the old traditional institutions were natural to people and that they were prejudiced towards these institutions and regarded them as normal. He felt that these prejudices were necessary for the maintenance of society because without these traditional institutions you would have change for its own sake, which would destabilize society. Furthermore, when a change to a social institution was to be implemented, it was best to first try it out in a small region and see if it succeeds. If there are benefits from the change, it would then spread naturally throughout the entire country at a slow, steady and most importantly stable rate. This concept was known as subsidiarity.
One other concept that Burke advocated is that of virtual representation. Burke felt that when one was elected, the people elected an individual, not a populist mouthpiece. Therefore it wasn't necessary for him to reflect the positions of his constituents. Instead he would use his own...