A revolution (from the Latin revolutio, "a turn around") is a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time.
There are several kinds of revolution:
•Political revolutions (American Revolution)
•Great revolutions which are sudden and violent and seek not only to establish a new political system but to transform an entire society (French and Russian Revolutions)
•Social revolutions which are slow but sweeping transformations of the entire society that take several generations to bring about (Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions)
CAUSES OF REVOLUTION
There are a number of things that can cause the kind of unrest that leads to revolution: poverty and a lack of power amongst the masses, d
iscontent with the way things are and a desire to create change, and a
feeling of personal powerlessness
Political Revolution (American Revolution)
•Britain imposed a series of arbitrary taxes on the colonists.
•The colonists had no vote in the British parliamentary system so they had no recourse when they were unhappy – they felt powerless.
•When the British dissolved local governments and sent troops, the colonists created their own militia to fight for their rights. Fighting broke out in 1775.
Great Revolution (French Revolution)
The French Revolution (1789-1799) brought the end of the monarchy in just three years. These are the causes:
•There was widespread famine, malnutrition, disease and death amongst the peasantry.
• France was nearly bankrupt for two reasons – Louis XV had involved France directly in many wars and France had provided the Americans with support for their own Revolutionary War.
•France had lost many of its military battles and did not provide services for its veterans.
•The nobility continued to openly live lives of conspicuous consumption.
•The Catholic church began to tax crops.
•The cost of bread rose astronomically and many people were unemployed.
•The peasant class was angry and felt powerless to change things in a peaceful way.
The French Revolution did not just change the political situation in the country – it brought a complete political and social change including attitudes towards the peasantry and the role of women. The cry of the French Revolution was “Liberté, égalité, fraternité”. This represented a shocking (for the nobility) change in philosophy and attitude.
Social Revolution (Industrial Revolution)
The Industrial Revolution actually began with the Agricultural Revolution. Both the Industrial and Agricultural Revolutions happened without war but we cannot say without bloodshed. These revolutions were spurred on by discoveries made by explorers and scientists. The changes began in Britain but spread throughout the world and the scientific and social changes have ramifications still today.