"This country, with its institutions belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it."
(Inaugural address 1861)
"On this day at this place, a new era opens in the history of the world. "
September 20 , 1792
"Revolution begins within the consciousness of men."
"All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to and to resist the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable."
-Henry David Thoreau
"Revolution is, in the order of moral facts, an act of sovereign justice proceeding from the necessities of things. Consequently it is self-justifying, and it is a crime for any statesman to oppose it."
"Revolution first entered the English language as a political term around 1600, and implied restoration of the old order."
Time Mar 12 1979
"The Revolution would have carried me along....but I saw the first head paraded on the end of a pike, and I recoiled. I shall never look on murder as an argument in favor of liberty. I know of nothing more servile, more cowardly, more obtuse than a terrorist. Did I not find, later on, that entire race of Brut uses in the service of Caesar and his police?"
"All modern revolutions have ended in a reinforcement of the State."
"Every revolutionary ends by becoming either an oppressor or a heretic."
"I began revolution with 82 men. If I had to do it again, I do it with 10 or 15 and absolute faith. It does not mater how small you are if you have faith and plan of action."
-Fidel Castro New York Times 22 April 1959
"To ruin those who possess something is not to come to the aid of those who possess nothing; it is merely to render misery general."
."….These people do a lot of squealing so long as you allow them to squeal. But when you say "Shut up!" they shut up. ….They are mostly half-wits, and what’s more, they’re hardly more courageous than the bourgeois-which is saying a good deal, my word! The thing that gives people courage is ideas. But these revolutionaries of yours have about as many ideas as my boots. Envy and resentment-that’s all they’ve got. That sort of thing doesn’t take you very far. I saw them during the war; I talked with them, I tried to find something in them; it’s pitiable. I never had the smallest difficulty with these creatures."
"We deplore the outrages that accompany revolutions. But....the final and permanent fruits of liberty are wisdom, moderation and mercy. Its immediate affects are often atrocious crimes, conflicting errors, skepticism on points the most clear, dogmatism on points the most mysterious. It is just at this crisis that its enemies love to exhibit it. They pull down the scaffolding from the half-finished edifice: they point to the flying dust, the falling bricks, the comfortless rooms, the frightful irregularity of the whole appearance; and then ask in scorn where the promised splendor and comfort at to be found. If such miserable sophisms were to prevail, there would never be a good house or a good government in the world."
"Simpletons and hypocrites urge us to keep within legal limits....One would think our lungs infected with an irresistible desire to breathe the atmosphere of solitary dungeons.....We love our underground as little as the drowning person loves the bottom of the sea....But it will not choke us....History is a tremendous mechanism serving our ideals. its work is slow, barbarously slow, implacably cruel, yet it goes on. We believe in it. Only at moments, when this voracious monster drinks the living blood of our hearts as its nourishment, we wish to shout with all our might: What thou dost, do quickly!
(From the Preface to Trotsky's My Round Trip)
"The simple fact of the matter is that the real forces behind the world revolutionary movement are not the tattered Hippies and Yippies, the Jerry Rubins or the Eldredge Cleavers. They are the properly educated tycoons, the Brooks Brothers suited barons of International Finance."
"Most revolutionaries are potential Tories, because they imagine that everything can be put right by altering the shape of society; once that change is effected, as it sometimes is, they see no need for any other."
Inside the Whale and Other Essays
"The revolutionary spirit is mighty convenient in this, that it frees one from all scruples as regards ideas. Its hard absolute optimism is repulsive to my mind by the menace of fanaticism and intolerance it contains. No doubt one should smile at these things; but, imperfect Esthete, I am no better Philosopher. All claim to special righteousness awakens in me that scorn and anger from which a philosophical mind should be free."
A Personal Record
"The revolutionary is a doomed man, he has no interests, affairs, feelings, attachments, property, not even a name that he can call his own. Everything in his is absorbed by one exclusive interest, one thought, one passion-the revolution….He has severed all ties….with laws, decorum, all the generally accepted conditions and morality of this world. He stands as its relentless enemy and, if he continues to live in it, then it is only in order to be more certain of its destruction….Day and night he must have but one thought, one single goal-merciless destruction. Striving only for this aim, coldly and tirelessly, he must be prepared to perish himself and to destroy with his own hands all that hinders its realization."
"This irrepressible violence is neither sound and fury, nor the resurrection of savage instincts, not even the effect of resentment: it is man recreating himself....The native cures himself of colonial neurosis by thrusting out the settler through force of arms. When his rage boils over, he rediscovers his lost innocence and he comes to know himself in that he himself creates his self."
"When the peasant takes a gun in his hands, the old myths grow dim and the prohibitions are one by one forgotten. The rebel's weapon is the proof of his humanity....to shoot down a European is to kill two birds with one stone, to destroy an oppressor and the man he oppresses at the same time: there remains a dead man, and a free man...."out of darkness, light."
"Whoever coined the slogan of the French Revolution must have been a person of rare insight. To the pair of opposites, Liberte and Egalite, irreconcilable in logic, he added a third force- Fraternity-brotherliness-which comes from a higher level."
The Nature of Problems
Quest Sept/Oct 7
"All I know is that people who come to power have to eat-and these people, being younger, will probably eat more."
(Upon the occasion of the fascists
March on Rome)
""Disturbances in society are never more fearful than when those who are stirring up the trouble can use the pretext of religion to mask their true designs."
Observations on the Drawing up of Laws (written in 1774 for Catherine the Great)
"Every major horror of history was committed in the name of an altruistic motive. Has any act of selfishness ever equaled the carnage perpetuated by disciples of altruism?"
"Revolutionaries do not make revolutions. The revolutionaries are those who know when power is lying in the street and then they can pick it up."
"The crisis is approaching, and we are on the edge of revolution. Who can answer for your fate? What man has made, man may destroy….This farmer of the Taxes, who can live only on gold, what will he do in poverty? This haughty fool who cannot use his own hands, who prides himself on what is not really his, what will he do when he is stripped of all? But he who loses his crown and lives without it, is more than a king; from the rank of a king, which may be held by a coward, a villain or a madman, he rises to the rank of a man, a position few can fill."
"The social condition and the Constitution of the Americans are democratic…But they have not had a democratic revolution."
Alexis de Tocqueville
"Call this war by whatever name you may, only call it not an American rebellion; it is nothing more or less than a Scotch/Irish Presbyterian rebellion."
-anonymous Hessian officer (1778)
"The most obvious peculiarity of our American Revolution is that, in the modern European sense of the word, it was hardly a revolution at all. The Daughters of the American Revolution, who have been understandably sensitive on this subject, have always insisted in their literature that the American Revolution was no revolution but merely a colonial rebellion. The more I looked into the subject, the more convinced I have become of the wisdom of their naiveté."
Daniel J. Boorstin
"A thousand men who fear not for their lives are more to be dreaded than ten-thousand who fear for their fortunes."
"What is a rebel? A man who says no."
(19th Century prototype Bolshevik)
"The revolutionary despises public opinion….for him morality is everything which contributes to the triumph of the revolution…He is merciless toward the State and the educated classes….all soft and tender affections arising from kinship, friendship and love, all gratitude and even all honor must be obliterated….Night and day he must have but one thought, one aim-merciless destruction."
Nechaev (Russian revolutionary 1870)
The Revolutionary Catechism
"O, you wish to cross this threshold, do you know what awaits you?
-Do you understand that yours will be a life of cold, hunger, hatred,
ridicule and scorn, insult, imprisonment, sickness, even death?"
-Can you face complete alienation, utter loneliness?"
-"I can….I am ready to endure it all."
-"Even when this will come from family and friends?"
-"Yes, even them."
-"Good. But are you ready to make any sacrifice?"
-Even if your sacrifice shall be nameless?" Are you prepared to die even if no one-not one soul-will remember or even know that you died?"
"I need no thanks, no mourning. I need no monuments to my name.
-"Are you prepared to resort to crime if necessary?"
-"Even for that I am ready."
-"Do you realize that some point you might lose faith in your beliefs?"
That you might come to think that you were deceived and gave your life in vain?"
-"I understand. Even so, I want to cross the threshold."
-Fool!" someone in the background muttered through clenched teeth.
-"Saint! The echo replied."
Poems in Prose (1870)
"A revolution is an opinion that has acquired some bayonets."
"Typical women! Not very smart, but what fanaticism, self-assurance and willpower, the latter to be sure in its lowest denominator: obstinacy."
(description of female revolutionaries by Russian male 1870)
"The social compact was dissolved long before the revolution, because things and words had ceased to coincide."
"All modern revolutions have ended in a reinforcement of the power of the State."
"An oppressed class which does not strive to learn to use arms, to obtain arms, deserves to be treated as slaves."
"If it’s a despot you would dethrone, see first that his throne erected within you is destroyed."
Kahlil Gibran 1923
"Of his fellow men-at-revolutionary-arms, San Martin, of Argentina, went into a very long Old World exile; Jose Gervasio Artigas, creator of the republic of Uruguay, spent his last thirty years as a farmer in Paraguay; Bernardo O'Higgins, the father of Chile, retired to Peru, and died in Lima with nobody's noticing; Sucre, of Bolivia, was murdered; likewise shot, in Mexico, were Hidalgo and Morelos, and in Costa Rica ...
Book: "Sandino" by Robert Edgar Conrad
"The world's first children's revolution broke out in France in 1990. Simply by demonstrating in the streets, about 100,000 teenagers were able to force a government to surrender four and a half billion francs. No group of adults had ever achieved a triumph so quickly, so completely. Schoolteachers have been protesting for decades, in vain. Nurses who went on strike, even though they held the power of life and death, were not able to achieve as much. But the children were neither grateful nor impressed.
Mandarine Martinon was regarded as the leader of the school-children of Lyon. The newspapers were amazed that such a frail blonde girl of sixteen could have so intimidating to the authorities, but for her part, she could see that the government was frightened of her and her friends. The politicians who attempted to flatter the children by inviting them to the ministry, and even the presidential palace, seemed contemptible: their speeches, she says, were 'very cunning, giving the impression that they understood everything, but we were not taken in'. Alone, each child might have felt overwhelmed; together they dismissed the rhetoric as demagogic. The politicians are not stupid, thinks Mandarine, but they are schemers, intent on doing underhand deals. There is not a single one of them who 'reflects my ideals. I will find it difficult to vote when I get a vote.' Above all, the children are determined not to be used by the politicians, nor even by their elders in the universities, with whom they carefully avoided making common cause. They want their world to remain independent, because the adult alternative is no longer attractive."
An Intimate History of Humanity
Book: "The Encyclopedia of Political Revolutions" by Ed Jack A. Goldstone
Book: "The First Bolshevik" by Albert L. Weeks
Bertram D. Wolfe "Three Who Made A Revolution"
Book: "The American Revolution: The Global Struggle for National Independence" by Brendan Morrissey
Book: "Holy Madness: Romantics, Patriots and Revolutionaries, 1776-1871" by Adam Zamoyski
Book: "The Doctors of Revolution…by Shlomo Barer
Book: "Religious Revolutionaries: The Rebels Who Reshaped American Religion" by Robert C. Fuller
Book: "Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation" by Joseph J. Ellis
Book: "500 Years of Revolution: European Radicals from Hus to Lenin" by Charles H. George
Book: "A Few Bloody Noses: The Realities and Mythologies of the American Revolution: by Robert Harvey
Book: "Tom Paine and Revolutionary America" by Eric Foner
Book: "Villa and Zapata: A History of the Mexican Revolution" by Frank McLynn
Book: "The Encyclopedia of Revolutions and Revolutionaries: from Anarchism to Zhou Enlai...by Martin Van Creveld
Book: "Out of Revolution" by Rosenstock-Huessy
Book: "THE SPIRIT OF 'SEVENTY-SIX: The Story of the American Revolution as Told by Participants" Ed. by H.S. Commager & R.B. Morris
Book: WHAT THEY DIDN'T TEACH YOU ABOUT THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION" by mike Wright
Book: "The American Revolution: The Global Struggle for National Independence" by Brendan Morrissey
Book: "Staging A Revolution: The Art of Persuasion in the Islamic Republic of Iran" by P. Chelkowski & H. Dabashi
Book: "Frantz Fanon" by David Macey
Book: "The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic" By P. Linebaugh & M. Rediker
Book: "Feltrinnelli: A Story of Riches, Revolution, and Violent Death" by Carlo Feltrinelli
Book: "Cursed Days: A Diary of Revolution" by Ivan Bunin
Book: "The First Salute: A View of the American Revolution" by Barbara W. Tuchman
Book: "A Few Bloody Noses": The Realities and Mythologies of the American Revolution" by Robert Harvey
Book: "Reading Revolutions: The Politics of Reading in Early Modern England" by Kevin Sharpe
Book: "Voices of Revolution, 1917" by Mark D. Steinberg
Book: "Holy Madness: Romantics, Patriots, and Revolutionaries, 1776-1871" by Adam Zamoyski