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Old 04-05-2007   #1
TROUFION
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Default Revolutionary Patterns

An article by Ken West, utilizing the studies of Crane Brinton from 1938 regarding comparative Revolutions:

Excerpt: "Crane Brinton carefully defined a revolution as the "drastic, sudden substitution of one group in charge of the running of a territorial political entity by another group hitherto not running that government"20 and added the proviso that this substitution must be by "an actual violent uprising or "some other kind of skullduggery."21 He limited his study to "'democratic' revolutions"22 or revolutions which "have a social or class . . . basis."23 He found a pattern, which he refers to as "commonalties" 24 in the four modern revolutions that he analyzed. Brinton notes that "the American Revolution does not quite fit the pattern and is therefore especially useful as a kind of control."25 This pattern will be described and compared to the events of the Jewish revolt of 66 AD. Brinton noted that a revolution could be divided into three phases: the pattern of events leading up to the revolution, the revolution itself, and the aftermath."

http://members.aol.com/FLJOSEPHUS2/brinton.htm
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Old 04-05-2007   #2
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Default He could have lived in Zaire !

Hello Footslogger !

I like this passage. Matter of fact, he could have started the uprisings in then Zaire. His description is exactly what happened....albeit years later.

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In 66 AD the Roman procurator of Judaea, Gessius Florus, provoked the revolt by confiscating temple funds, probably to pay arrears of the tribute
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Old 04-05-2007   #3
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Originally Posted by TROUFION View Post
:

Excerpt: "Crane Brinton carefully defined a revolution as the "drastic, sudden substitution of one group in charge of the running of a territorial political entity by another group hitherto not running that government"20 and added the proviso that this substitution must be by "an actual violent uprising or "some other kind of skullduggery."]
Now if only my Political Science prof. back in 1993 had thought the same thing I would have received an A rather than a B when I stated in a paper that Czechoslovakian Velvet Revolution was not a revolution. There was no violence, the regime stepped down, and the government functions continued on being run by the same people until they were replaced by an elected government.
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Old 04-06-2007   #4
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As I constantly reminded my analysts when I was doing intelligence work, consider the source.

An analysis that use the work of Flavius Josephus as its primary reference is always suspect. Josephus started out as a Zealot rebel in Judea, as the article points out. But, after his capture by the Romans he quickly became an apologist for the Romans. I would expect no less. If he had not tried to paint Vespasian and Titus as the guys wearing the white hats, he might hvery quickly have found himself suffering the fate that befell most captured rebels. As this is the Easter season, I imagine you can figure out what the preferred punishment for rebellion and other forms of lese majesty was in the Roman Empire. I would suspect that made a pretty strong inducement for Josephus to bend the truth to suit his captors and save his hide from the cross.

BTW, We might also bear this in mind WRT the earlier statements by the Brits who were just released by the Iranians.
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Old 04-09-2007   #5
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Default Despite Josephus, Brinton's theory still holds water

Below is a review of Crane Brinton's Theory of Revolution, regarding the American Revolution.

(Additional Note: I agree with WM that Flavius Jospehus's versions of history are somewhat colored. Though I tend to think he became a 'convert' to Romanism over time (after his initial self-preservationism) as a way to explain how his fellow zealots could have lost the holy land to infidels. His description of Roman training methods in the sacking of Jerusalem was very flattering to the Romans and made the defending zealots seem to be good warriors just outclassed. I don't see Josephus as an "apologist for the Romans" so much as an apologist for the Zealots lost cause. Besides in a historical sense the Romans had nothing to apologize for, they followed their tactics, doctrine and world view to the T in their supression of the Jewish revolt, an 'apology' would only be necessary when viewing the wars destruction from today's more sensitive viewpoints.)

Was the American Revolution a Revolution?
3/10 Crane Brinton's Theory of Revolution
By Sofya Medvedev
*** ***

In his book, Anatomy of Revolution, Brinton compares revolution to a fever. In this respect, a revolution is not a positive phenomena, it is something to be avoided and cured, when and if, it occurs. This is due to the fact that "nobody wants to have a fever" (Brinton, 18). However, fever, and Revolution, "in itself is a good thing....for the organism that survives it. ...The revolution destroys wicked people and harmful and useless institutions" (18). Brinton breaks down the revolution into three entities: the symptoms, the fever itself, which is the manipulation of revolution, and the break of the fever, when things more or less return to normal. Symptoms can take several different forms: economic problems, inefficiency of the government, the rise of the self-proclaimed revolutionaries, and the overthrow of the old regime, followed by the breakup of the revolutionaries' coalition. In the early stages of the revolution itself, Brinton sees the moderates seize power, but then the extremists take that power away from them. Then the fever breaks, Thermidor occurs and the revolution is over. In Brinton's view there is nothing much that can be done about revolutionaries, the fever has to burn out on its own. In his book, Crane Brinton uses the American Revolution as one of his examples. One assumes that he vies the American Revolution as a real Revolution, though the author states that it does not fit perfectly his conceptual schemes (24). Brinton sees the American Revolution as a territorial-nationalist one, in which the aim of the revolutionaries was not to overturn the existing "social and economic system, but rather to set the English North American colonies up as an independent nation-state" (22).

The symptoms part of Brinton's Revolution theory shall be discussed first. There were economic problems, since America refused to pay taxes to England. The taxation without representation' slogan of the 1700s was enough to excite Americans to action (29). There was "no class ground down with poverty" (31) but the "economic stresses and strains" (31) contributed to a feeling that prevailing conditions limited and hardened the colonists' economic activity (33). Thus, Brinton sees the economic symptoms of the American Revolution being the economic grievances "of some of the chief enterprising groups that [saw] their opportunities for getting on in this world [as] unduly limited by political arrangements" (34).
The second symptom was the inefficiency of the British government. Revolution occurred because the "practical constraints of the British political scene in 1766, 1770, and 1775 always rendered impossible any policy that would match the colonial demands" (Thomas, 334). America emerged from its Revolution "with more efficient and more centralized government" (Brinton, 240).
The third symptom was the rise of revolutionaries, mostly the army and those who supported the Revolutionary War. "It was the merchants who first organized opposition to the Crown" (99). American society of the late 1700s was rural not urban (100), and the strength of the revolutionary "movement lay with the plain people... - country artisans, small farmers, and frontiersmen" (100). However, Brinton also agrees Alexander Graydon that the " opposition to the claims of Britain originated with the better sort: it was truly aristocratical in its commencement'" (100). The patriots knew they wanted to separate from Britain. The overthrow of the old regime is an interesting phenomena, because the British government continued to exist, and is sill active today. However, that regime was overthrown in the American colonies, and a completely new government, a republic, was set up. The last symptom does not fit the American example very well. The revolutionary coalition did not break up. George Washington, who led the American Army in the Revolutionary War, became the first President. This leads to Brinton's stages of Revolution, the first of which is the seizure of power by the moderates, and the soon after taking of that power by the extremists. Brinton sees no victory of extremists over moderates in America (24).
The third part of Brinton's theory is the break up of the fever, the occurrence of Thermidor, and the end of the Revolution. Brinton believes America "never quite went through a reign of terror" (24), but that the "relaxation of the war discipline and war tension and a grand renewal for wealth and pleasure" (235) led to a real Thermidor. "There was even a moral let down" (235) in America, which lamented the spirit of speculation which war and its attendant disturbances had generated, the restlessness of the young, disrespect for tradition and authority, increase in crime, the frivolity and extravagance of society. All this sounds very like the original Thermidor (236) to Brinton.

Only parts of Brinton's theory fit the American example. Enough of them match his definition and his stages of this phenomena that one must agree that the American Revolution was a true Revolution. However, other scholars may not agree.
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Old 04-09-2007   #6
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I used the term 'apologist' to mean a defender or justifier for the Roman point of view, following the title of Plato's dialogue. For example,the narrative by Josephus shows how little he thought of the various Jewish factions that struggled for control inside Jerusalem during the Roman seige. Josephus seems to indicate that the Jews deserved not to win.

Regarding Brinton's article, I refer readers to the notion of a "definitional stop" in the works of HLA Hart. I forget the essay, but it is in reference to the justification for punishment. By narrowly restricting how one defines a word or phrase, one may easily include or exclude a host of instances. Such a tactic may be good for eristic argumentation, but it really has no place in the search for truth.
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Old 04-11-2007   #7
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Not trying to pick a fight, just honestly curious what you folks think....

Would the independence of India under Gandhi's non-violence principles be considered a revolution? If not, then what would it be called?
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Old 04-11-2007   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stratiotes View Post
Not trying to pick a fight, just honestly curious what you folks think....

Would the independence of India under Gandhi's non-violence principles be considered a revolution? If not, then what would it be called?
I think the most expansive definition of a political revolution would be the change of a regime by other than the normally constituted means. For example, most countries do not recognize a military takeover of the goverment, or coup d'etat, as a "constitutional" action. This need not mean that a coup is illegitimate, just not constitutional. If a given instance of a coup is non-constitutional, then that coup is within the class of revolutionary things. (I can imagine states where the coup is the normally accepted way of regime change. In fact, I think that this was the approved way of changing leadership among the Mongols.)

Compare and contrast this with a rebellion. A rebellion is simply an unwillingness to follow the accepted/legitimate authority. Rebellion need not be violent. Rosa Park's refusal to move to the back of the bus is an example of non-violent rebellion, as is the civil disobedience of Thoreau (not paying his taxes) and Gandhi.

When rebellions against state authority succeed, we tend to call them revolutions. When they fail, we continue to denominate them as rebellions, e.g., the Boxer Rebellion in China, the Whiskey Rebellion in the US. Had the forces of George III won the day in the 1770s in North America, we would have had an American Rebelllion, not an American Revolution.

I guess this is a long way around to saying that Gandhi lead a successful rebellion against British authority in India ; hence, his actions constituted a revolution.
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Old 08-25-2007   #9
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Originally Posted by wm View Post
I think the most expansive definition of a political revolution would be the change of a regime by other than the normally constituted means. For example, most countries do not recognize a military takeover of the goverment, or coup d'etat, as a "constitutional" action. This need not mean that a coup is illegitimate, just not constitutional. If a given instance of a coup is non-constitutional, then that coup is within the class of revolutionary things. (I can imagine states where the coup is the normally accepted way of regime change. In fact, I think that this was the approved way of changing leadership among the Mongols.)

Compare and contrast this with a rebellion. A rebellion is simply an unwillingness to follow the accepted/legitimate authority. Rebellion need not be violent. Rosa Park's refusal to move to the back of the bus is an example of non-violent rebellion, as is the civil disobedience of Thoreau (not paying his taxes) and Gandhi.

When rebellions against state authority succeed, we tend to call them revolutions. When they fail, we continue to denominate them as rebellions, e.g., the Boxer Rebellion in China, the Whiskey Rebellion in the US. Had the forces of George III won the day in the 1770s in North America, we would have had an American Rebelllion, not an American Revolution.

I guess this is a long way around to saying that Gandhi lead a successful rebellion against British authority in India ; hence, his actions constituted a revolution.

I'm don't think Ghandi would qualify as "non-violent". He was threatening the disruption of public order and a threat is inately violent(like holding a baseball bat over someone's head but not hitting him is violent).
Besides the Partition Riots were certainly very violent.
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Old 08-25-2007   #10
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Gandhi never incited violence against the British. He did incite civil disobedience. When the "non-cooperation" campaign accelerated and threatened to upsurge into violent resistance against the British in the 1920s, Gandhi cancelled the campaign.

Gandhi was always against Partition and certainly against sectarian violence. He did not attend the Independence celebration because he was attempting to stop another outbreak of such violence in Calcutta. A Hindu nationalist fanatic murdered Gandhi because of his determination in trying to bring India and Pakistan closer together after Partition.
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