Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- This article is about revolution in the sense of a drastic change. For other meanings of the word, see revolution (disambiguation).
A revolution is a relatively sudden and absolutely drastic change. This may be a change in the social or political institutions over a relatively short period of time, or a major change in its culture or economy. Some revolutions are led by the majority of the populace of a nation, others by a small band of revolutionaries. Compare rebellion.
Social and political revolutions
Political revolutions are often characterised by violence, and the vast changes in power structures that result can often result in further, institutionalised, violence, as in the Russian and French revolutions (with the "Purges" and "the Terror", respectively). A political revolution is the forcible replacement of one set of rulers with another (as happened in France and Russia), while a social revolution is the fundamental change in the social structure of a society, such as the Protestant Reformation or the Renaissance. However, blurring the line between these two categories, most political revolutions have basic philosophical or social underpinnings which drive the revolution. The most common of these underpinnings in the modern world have been liberal revolutions and Communist revolutions. In contrast, a coup d'état often seeks to change nothing more than the current ruler.
Some political philosophers regard revolutions as the means of achieving their goals. Most anarchists advocate social revolution as the means of breaking down the structures of government and replacing them with non-hierarchal institutions.
With Marxist communists there is a split between those who supported the USSR and other self-proclaimed 'communist states' and those who were/are critical of those states (some even rejecting them as non-communist, see state capitalism), for example trotskyists.
Generally the former take revolution to be one strategy, possibly accompanied by the use of electoral politics to take over, rather than overthrow, the institution of government, their aim being to create a centralised state to govern in the name of 'the workers'.
The later tend to have an idea much closer to that of the anarchists. Specifically they believe that democracy at a state level must be replaced by democracy at the level of the workplace. They believe that they are closer to the ideas of Karl Marx, who saw revolution as a process in which people would be fundamentally transformed by the experience of taking power over their own lives. The former generally accuse the later of being utopian.
Social and political revolutions are often "institutionalized" when the ideas, slogans, and personalities of the revolution continue to play a prominent role in a country's political culture, long after the revolution's end. As mentioned, Communist nations regularly institutionalize their revolutions to legitimize the actions of their governments. Some non-communist nations, like the United States, France, or Mexico also have institutionalized revolutions, and continue to celebrate the memory of their revolutionary past through holidays, artwork, songs, and other venues.
(known to Marxists as bourgeois revolutions,)
- English Revolution -- (1642-1653) -- Commenced as a civil war between Parliament and King, culminating in the execution of Charles I and the establishment of a republican Protectorate.
- Glorious Revolution -- (England in (1688) -- Overthrow of King James II and establishment of a Whig-dominated Protestant constitutional monarchy.
- American Revolution -- (1776) -- Established independence of the 13 colonies from Great Britain, creating the republic of the United States of America
- French Revolution -- (1789) -- Regarded as one of the most influential of all Revolutions, frequently associated with the rise of the bourgeoisie.
- July Revolution (1830)
- Belgian Revolution (1830)
- Revolution of 1848 -- (1848) -- Wave of failed liberal and republican revolutions that swept Europe.
- Taiping Rebellion -- 1851 Rebellion against the Qing Dynasty and Manchu domination.
- Indian rebellion of 1857 Also called the War of Independence of 1857 and popularly known in the West as the Sepoy Mutiny, this rebellion was against British imperialism and marks the end of Mughal (foreign Muslim) rule in India.
- Russian Revolution of 1905 -- (1905) -- Failed bourgeois-liberal revolution against Tsar Nicholas II
- Mexican Revolution -- (1910) -- Overthrow of dictator Porfirio Díaz, seizure of power by Institutional Revolutionary Party.
- Xinhai Revolution -- (1911) -- Overthrow of ruling Qing Dynasty and establishment of the Republic of China.
- German Revolution -- (1918) -- Overthrow of the Kaiser by a workers' revolution, establishment of the Weimar Republic.
- Algerian Revolution -- (1954 - 1962) -- Revolutionary war of independence against French imperialism.
- May 1968 -- (1968) -- Students' and workers' revolt against the Government of Charles de Gaulle.
- Carnation Revolution -- (1974) in Portugal -- Leftwing popular overthrow of right-wing dictatorship.
- Nicaraguan Revolution -- (1979) -- Popular overthrow of the Somoza dictatorship by progressive peasant movement.
- Bolivarian Revolution -- (1998) -- Venezuela elects populist Hugo Chávez
- Velvet Revolution -- (1989) Bloodless overthrow of communism in Czechoslovakia.
The revolutionary character of these events (compared to others in this article) is widely disputed.
- Rose Revolution in Georgia (2003)
- Orange Revolution in Ukraine (2004)
- Cedar Revolution in Lebanon (2005)
- Tulip Revolution or Yellow Revolution in Kyrgyzstan (2005)
- Spanish Revolution -- (1936) -- Social upheaval that swept Spain in response to the anti-Republican insurgency of General Francisco Franco.
- Anarchists had influence in many other revolutions, including the Mexican Revolution and the Russian Revolution, and rebellions like that in May 1968.
- Russian Revolution -- (1917) -- The most famous and influential modern revolution, culminating in the Bolshevik seizure of power and the establishment of the USSR.
- Spartacist Uprising-- (1919)) -- Failed revolution in Germany led by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht
- Mongolia - 1921
- North Korea - 1948
- Hungary - 1919 and 1949
- Chinese Revolution -- (1949) -- Victory of Communist-led peasant rebellion under Chairman Mao over the ruling Nationalist Party, establishment of People's Republic of China.
- Cultural Revolution -- (1966-1976) Maoist led turmoil in People's Republic of China.
- North Vietnam - 1954
- Cuban Revolution -- (1959) -- Peasant-led rebellion against U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista, victory of revolutionary government of Fidel Castro.
- The Congo - 1964 and 1968
- South Yemen - 1967
- Libya - 1969
- Somalia - 1969
- Benin - 1972
- Ethiopia - 1974
- Guinea-Bissauan Revolution - 1974
- Cambodia - 1975
- South Vietnam - 1975
- Laos - 1975
- Madagascar - 1975
- Cape Verde - 1975
- Mozambique - 1975
- Angola - 1975
- Afghanistan - 1978
- Grenada - 1979
- Nicaragua - 1979
- Burkina Faso - 1983
- Hungarian Revolution -- (1956) Workers' and peasants' revolution against the imposed Stalinist dictatorship, suppressed by Soviet forces.
- Singing Revolution -- (1988) Bloodless overthrow of communism in Estonia.
- Romanian Revolution -- (1989) Overthrow of communism in Romania.
- Iranian Revolution -- (1979) -- Popular overthrow of US-backed Shah, culminating in an Islamist cleric-led theocracy.
- Taliban - (1996) -- Islamist movement in Afghanistan
Cultural, intellectual, and philosophical revolutions
- Protestant Reformation
- Scientific revolution
- Sexual revolution
- Quiet Revolution
- Consciousness Revolution
(although these revolutions always have an influence on culture)
- Agricultural Revolution
- Digital Revolution
- Neolithic Revolution
- Price revolution
- Industrial Revolution
- Second Industrial Revolution
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