Politics in Minutes (2016)


When the government of a democratic state loses popular support, it can be removed in an election. But if a government holds on to power when a significant proportion of citizens are impatient for change, the protest may escalate and force the overthrow of the regime, more often than not with a radical shift in the social order. Such socio-political revolutions have occurred throughout history, but became more prevalent in the 18th and 19th centuries when monarchies were toppled and colonial rulers ousted in the establishment of democratic republics, such as France and the USA.

In some cases the movement for change is great enough for revolution to be swift and bloodless, in others the state is so divided that there is a civil war, or a substantial faction at war. The term ‘revolution’ is generally used to refer to a popular revolt against a despotic ruler or government, in contrast to the ‘top-down’ seizure of power from a democratic government, a coup d’état, by a dictator or military force (see here).