Since 1969, we have led the effort to protect and promote conservatism at Yale.
The Tory Party at Yale University is a family of scholars, a cohort of idealists, and a group of friends. Tories are the passionate defenders of reasoned conservatism, practicing civility and chivalry, while ardently pursuing truth. We join together for burgers at Mory’s, lively debates, and dinners in an attempt to examine the world, seeking to understand how the world should be changed in some ways, and conserved in others.
Tories see the cause of conservatism as a force for good. We look at every problem—political, social, and economic—to wrestle with both historical treatises and the pressing issues of our time. We let the past guide us into the future, practicing courtesy and restraint in the hope that we can further discourse and friendship through our institution. We prefer to use our skills constructively, knowing that knowledge will forever govern ignorance.
Run in a highly traditional parliamentary style, debate caucuses are central to the Party’s operations. Tory debates are rigorous and riotous. The Party provides a space for frank, intellectual debate, asking that speeches be both witty and compelling. Tories debate alongside Olympians, match wits with comics, and intellectually spar with governors. Through probing questions, enlightened interjections, and robust camaraderie, the Tory Party broadens the intellectual horizons of all members, guests, and petitioners. We debate topics like “Resolved: Conservatives should oppose the Death Penalty,” “Resolved: Invade Syria,” and “Resolved: Open Carry on Old Campus.”
One of four right-leaning parties in the Yale Political Union, we strive to differentiate ourselves, proving unique in our history, traditions, and spirit of friendship. First and foremost a political and debating organization, we value weighty argument, but blend levity into our quest. In merriment, we toast, we sing, we throw banquets. Put simply, our Party is not afraid to party.
Alexis de Tocqueville once said, “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.” We agree, as do our Tory alumni, an elite group just over 300-strong. With an alumni base comprised of lawyers, governors, doctors, and more, Tories are active in many fields, majors, and nations, working hard to implement their ideology, sharpened by their time in the Party, leaving an impactful legacy.
The Tory Party was born out of conspiracy, gambling, and grit. The campus climate of the 1960s was a tumultuous, dark time for conservatives at Yale, with growing militancy and leftism. The two parties on the right at Yale were right-leaning in name only, leaving true conservatives without a political home. A truly conservative wing formed in the Party of the Right and, by 1969, it was clear a schism would soon occur. On April 29th, 1969, fifteen of these new “Traditionalists” met in the Saybrook Common Room, electing Edward Thomas Veal Chairman of a new Tory Party. In the mid-1970s, as the new Tory Party gathered its footing, Michael Astrue became the first Tory to win the Political Union presidency, on a tie-breaking coin toss; Tory domination of the Y.P.U. in 1977 helped secure the Party’s position. The Tory Party, as we know it today, had survived much chaos after perseverance, a bit of luck, and commitment to an ideal. The Party continues to thrive to this day, with continued reverence for our courageous founders and celebration of a rich history.