A History of Repetition

As I was finishing up the final parts of the rough draft for our paper, I found it interesting how the French Revolution of 1848 modeled much of what would happen in future revolutions, after the fighting had finally settled down. More specifically, what would occur between the previously allied forces working together to overthrow the existing regime. In the February Revolution, the petite bourgeoisie and urban laborers of France were united against the July Monarchy, but almost immediately after Louis-Philippe had abdicated his throne, infighting broke out between the two factions. It seemed that the only thing that they ever actually agreed on was the removal of a common opponent; after that, they argued on almost every aspect of France’s political and social structure. This is a thing that has repeated itself again and again throughout the revolutions that we have studied. The factions may have been quite different, but the general pattern of alliance, overthrow, and then fighting once again still prevails. I find it interesting, if just a bit strange, how very different revolutions can have very similar paths, even is they are founded on completely unrelated grounds,  and fought for opposing ideals.

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4 Responses to A History of Repetition

  1. mcolbert says:

    I have noticed this pattern as well, as we’ve studied more and more revolutions. One thing I noticed was that no matter who is revolting, in the end there will always be a struggle for power. It does not matter if it is salves rebelling, peasants rebelling, workers rebelling, or intellectuals rebelling, once they gain power they will fight amongst themselves for it. That is something that occurred even here in America. It wasn’t long after we successfully gained independence from Britain, when we began to savagely attack each other. I keeping thinking how eerie the similarity between the savage attack adds by Hamilton and Jefferson are to the attack propaganda from china and Russia. Though many people don’t want to admit it, we are awfully similar.

  2. KassieF says:

    I agree with both of you and have also noticed this pattern. As you said, Madeleine, it seems to be a common factor that during every revolution, someone loses power, and then remaining people struggle to gain that power for themselves. We are seeing this in the fall of communism as well. When Stalin died, there was somewhat of a struggle for power, and Kreshnev ultimately managed to take power and attempt to Destalinize. It is also interesting to think of how we struggle for power within our own country. As Madeleine said, soon after independent America’s founding, the country quickly split into two political parties and turned on each other. Struggle for power is inescapable in any type of revolution.

  3. Nick says:

    While I agree that disagreement does often occur after a revolution, I don’t believe that this always has to be the case. Out of the revolutions we have studied, from what I know the Indian revolution seems to be the only one where there wasn’t really any of the dissent you all have talked about. True, the Muslims and Hindus disagreed; however, the partition was expected and agreed upon before the British were ever removed from power, therefore making it substantially different than other instances you have mentioned. I wonder if this is at all connected to its uniqueness as a nonviolent revolution. While it may just be a coincidence, it’s interesting to me that that out of all the different revolutions and societies we have covered, the only one where internal squabbles didn’t erupt was the only one that was able to have a revolution without violence. Perhaps this speaks to the philosophy of the Indian government and citizens more than anything; it seems to me that it could be a cultural aspect of Indian society to approach things more rationally and to not anger as easily. This could all just be coincidental; however, I definitely think that there are some strong possible connections here. What do you all think?

  4. Pho says:

    I agree with Nick in that the Indian Revolution was the only revolution we’ve studied where a struggle for power does not occur following the revolution. I do think that this is connected with the fact that India led a nonviolent revolution, but I also believe that the absence or presence of a struggle for power relies mostly on the country’s leader or leaders. Gandhi was nonviolent by nature and employed nonviolent civil disobedience. In America, after the revolutionary war, the country was split into political factions because of its leaders Hamilton and Jefferson. I believe that a leader influences the rest of his country even after falling out of power. A country’s struggle for power relies on leadership. Their was no need for a struggle for power during the Indian Revolution because the Indians already had a strong, well-respected leader. In my opinion, there will always be a struggle for power when a leader is concerned only about consolidating his power (Khomeini, Stalin, Mao).

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