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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'etat 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 nonhierarchal institutions, while Marxist communists 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 communist society.
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.
- Ukrainian Revolution -- (1918-1921)
- Third Russian Revolution -- (1918-1922) -- Failed anarchist revolution against both Bolshevism and the White movement.
- Spanish Revolution -- (1936) -- Social upheaval that swept Spain in response to the anti-Republican insurgency of General Francisco Franco.
- 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 England, 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.
- First Russian Revolution -- (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.
- February Revolution -- (1917)
- Estonian Revolution -- (1917)
- 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
- Spanish Revolution -- (1936) -- Social upheaval that swept Spain in response to the anti-Republican insurgency of General Francisco Franco. (heavily influenced by anarchism)
- Spartacist Uprising-- (1919)) -- Failed revolution in Germany led by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht
- Hungarian Revolution -- (1956) Workers' and peasants' revolution against the imposed Stalinist dictatorship, suppressed by Soviet forces.
- Velvet Revolution -- (1989) Bloodless overthrow of communism in Czechoslovakia.
- Singing Revolution -- (1987-1989) Bloodless overthrow of communism in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
- Romanian Revolution -- (1989) Overthrow of communism in Romania.
- October Revolution -- (1917) -- The most famous and influential modern revolution, culminating in the Bolshevik seizure of power and the establishment of the USSR.
- Mongolia - 1920
- North Korea - 1948
- Hungary - 1919, 1944 and 1949
- Chinese Revolution -- (1949) -- Victory of Communist-led peasant rebellion under Chairman Mao over Nationalist forces, establishment of People's Republic of China.
- Cultural Revolution -- (1966-1976) Maoist led turmoil in People's Republic of China.
- North Vietnam - 1954
- Iraq - 1958
- Cuban Revolution -- (1959) -- Peasant-led rebellion against US-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
- 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