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42 Responses

  1. Arne at |

    Not sure what the criteria for selection and ranking have been, but I’m missing both the French and Russian revolutions from the list

    Reply
    1. VHP at |

      Same here. And also, most of the revolutions bring either Dictatorship or Communism, which I think is no better still. So, the revolutions only pays off when it is backed by people in such a huge numbers that no political party or military officials can use it to their personal gains.
      For me, if revolution doesn’t bring democracy, it is a failed revolution. See USSR for example.

      Reply
      1. Lee Standberry at |

        Revolution is about change and not necessarily the promotion of one ideology over another. As Americans we have a definite bias for democratic structured reforms. However, while our way may be the best way, it certainly isn’t the only way.

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        1. VHP at |

          I am aware of that. That is why I wrote my personal views instead of writing the comment in a general sense.
          Also, take into account former USSR and even today’s China. China executes more people annually than rest of the world put together. Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote extensively about USSR’s follies. But that’s other subject.
          I am a libertarian, so I would never agree on restrictions on freedom of thought and speech.
          But I seriously hope that the recent revolutions in some arab countries bring peace and justice for its people.

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        2. VHP at |

          O and I just saw that you wrote this list. Congratulations; writing is a rare gift and those who have it should use it extensively.
          I request you to do a follow-up list for other revolutions that has taken place. By looking at the comment section, I can see that this list is going to be debated for a long time. Even other commentators would agree on a follow-up list.

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          1. Lee Standberry at |

            Thanks for the great comments. I agree wholeheartedly with your last comments regarding the struggle for freedom taking place in the Middle East (the so-called Arab spring).

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      2. Anonymous at |

        Yeah ….. exactly ….. according to me, the French revolution is missing which is considered the world’s biggest revolution.

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    2. Kieran at |

      The French Revolution and the Russian Revolution by far are more important revolutions in shaping the world that the American revolution. For one the Cuban revolution would not have been influenced by communism and the French Revolution introduced ideas from the Age of Enlightenment (i.e. liberty, equality and brotherhood) to Europe. Europe has shaped the world more that America, and the list I believe are influence by american involvement.

      Reply
  2. Mike D. at |

    what about Prince & The Revolution?

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    1. Lee Standberry at |

      lol

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    2. YouRang? at |

      The Revolution rebelled. They wanted Democracy, not a Prince.

      Reply
  3. Nico at |

    A very subjective list, but that’s inevitable given the content. A couple of omissions were noted above, but what about the English revolution in the 1640s? A lot of the philosophy which we associate with the American and French revolutions had it’s origins there. Or the Haitian revolution? The only successful slave revolt in modern times and the second independent state in the Americas post colonisation.

    Now, a couple of points.

    Item 4: It was actually a couple of years after Castro came to power in what was an unarguably populist revolution (initially focused on land rights) that it was declared a Socialist revolution. Cuba (as mentioned early in the item, but then contradicted towards the end) has never been communist, and has never claimed to be. Moreover, Cuba did not cut diplomatic ties with the U.S. The U.S, severed ties with Cuba, much to the chagrin of Castro and his government. Placing the Cuban revolution in a Cold War setting is to miss the point. Only after the U.S. severed ties did Cuba actively side with the U.S.S.R., and after the missile crisis that relationship soured significantly. While Cuba did play a huge role in supporting leftist groups in Latin America and Africa, the fact that they were, for much of the duration of the Cold War, allied with neither the U.S. and NATO or the U.S.S.R. or China, makes associating them with the tensions between these parties useless.

    Item 3: ‘Civil war is just another way of saying revolution’. No it isn’t. For a start, the term ‘revolution’, even when used in a political sense, originally meant to return to a previously achieved status. Further, a revolution does not have to be violent and a civil war does not necessarily result in revolution. A fine example would be the civil war in the Soviet Union shortly after the end of WW1.

    Item 2: By the authors own apparent criteria, this should not be on the list. It was a civil war and, as stated above, the two terms are not interchangeable. Also, to distill this incredibly complex war down to the single issue of slavery is a terrible piece of historical airbrushing. While this played a large role, it was probably outweighed by economic issues, and if any single cause is to be taken as the primary one, surely it would be the issue of State authority vs Federal authority, which went far beyond the issue of slavery.

    Item 5: ‘The Middle East has always been a hotbed for revolution’. No, it hasn’t. This statement has absolutely no basis in reality. Certainly, over the last hundred years, there have been several revolutions in the middle east (nowhere near as many as in Europe), but for the previous five hundred years the Middle East and North Africa were arguably the most politically stable regions in the world.

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    1. Lee Standberry at |

      Great comments. You present a number of items that beg for further discussion. However, for the sake of brevity I am only going to address two issues that stood out for me.

      First, you are technically correct in your definitions of civil war and revolution. However, I will counter (and this was my point in the list) that both actions are forms of change that can dramatically alter the political and social landscape of a nation and its people. Contextually, revolution connotes the over-throwing of a governmental body; while civil war is a conflict between factions of the same country (or ethnicity, religion, whatever). Arguably, you could, for example characterize the American Revolution as a civil war – British citizens taking up arms against other British. In fact, one of the comments of this list took exception to the Bosnian civil war being absurd as such. Though he would agree that it was a revolution of sorts. I hope you can see what I am getting at here.

      Secondly, in regards to your comment concerning the cause of the civil war being inaccurately reduced to the issue of slavery; I find this assertion totally off base. In fact, slavery was the exact genesis of the conflict – though morality of slavery was not an issue. Rather, the economic impact of slavery as well as the political ramifications revolving around slave vs non-slave states were the predominant issues at hand. Make no mistake, however, that the issue of slavery tainted and influenced virtually all of the reasons generally put forward explaining what led to the war between states.

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  4. 5minutes at |

    I’ll echo Arne’s and VHP’s comments. There are dozens of other revolutions – true revolutions – that were more impacting, more meaningful, and had larger implications than much of the list. Besides the already-mentioned American and French Revolutions and the tragedy that was Red October in Russia, you could include the near-complete Fall of Communism from 1989-1992, several African revolutions, the Mexican Revolution, a ton in South America, etc.

    Additionally, you could roll 7-8 together as a single event (the larger Yugoslav conflict), combine the Egyptian uprising with the dozen or so other Islamic world revolutions over the past 2-3 years, etc.

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    1. Lee Standberry at |

      Yep there are definitely a lot of revolutions from which one could choose from making the decision of what to include on the list challenging. If nothing else it definitely opens the door for interesting discussions.

      Reply
  5. DonDon at |

    Great list except one problem. The Bosnian civil war as you call it was not a civil war, it was an aggression from the JNA (Jugoslavian national army) that was carried out with the help of Bosnian Serbs.

    U have a great site and loads of information but I beg please get it right because u have a high number of daily readers and this is a significant fact to get wrong. Imagine someone saying that east cost of the USA attacked Pearl Harbor and thus making it a civil war.

    And yes I am from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    Reply
    1. Lee Standberry at |

      I would certainly agree that the conflict in Bosnia was an act of aggression of one party on another. Nevertheless, I would still characterize it as a civil war based on that aggression and the response to it; which was carried out primarily by Bosnians of different ethnicities.

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      1. DonDon at |

        Well call it revolution if you like, it was not a civil war do to the fact that Bosnia already became independent and was recognized by the UN as an independent country and after that moment the JNA attacked and made an act of aggression.
        True the JNA was in cooperation with the bosnian serbs and thus small elements of inter-country conflict are there, but be sure that there was a numerous amount of people of serb or croat ethnicity fighting with the bosnian muslims against the aggressors because they had common sense to know what is right and wrong.

        I honestly don’t care about the title or the text because it is a bit wrong but the fact that a lot of people read this makes it misleading and incorrect

        The definition of civil war does not fit in the situation that happened in Bosnia in the 90s

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  6. Robman82 at |

    A bit too American orientated for my liking. A lot of European revolutions were left out in particular the 1916 revolution in Ireland against the British that started Irish independence.

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    1. Lee Standberry at |

      Guilty, I am an American.

      Reply
  7. Wombat at |

    No mention of the French, Irish and Russian revolutions? Surely they were “Notable”, and nothing about the major contribution by the French army and navy in the American revolution is a major oversight.

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  8. Andre Duarte at |

    Yes, we know. No matter what, the top two must be American. Where’s the French? Where’s the Portuguese Revolution, the world famous bloodless coup d’etat??

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  9. JBHenfMKDEW at |

    French Revolution>Russian Revolution>American Revolution.
    People need to learn before they list.

    Reply
  10. Conor at |

    what about the Spanish civil war which had several military significance such as Nazi Germany testing carpet bombing and other air warfare not to mention the international involvement in the civil war and the Easter risings in Ireland

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  11. Lee Standberry at |

    The French Revolution was a strong consideration; however, I wanted to stick with conflicts that were contemporary and still resonate in the conscience with most Americans to some degree (with the exception of the American Civil War and American Revolution).

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    1. Sam at |

      So, basically, this is not the most notable at all but just what your countrymen might remember from the news. And what your learned in primary school.

      Very poor.

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      1. Lee Standberry at |

        Well you know Americans do have short-term memories.

        Reply
  12. Crazzy Serbs at |

    The first casualty of War is Truth.

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    1. Lee Standberry at |

      This can definitely be true – to the victor goes the spoils. Unfortunately, this can result in revisionist history.

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  13. Crazzy Serbs at |

    Classic propaganda… 8 and 7.

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    1. Lee Standberry at |

      Uh, meaning?

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      1. Crazzy Serbs at |
        Reply
  14. me at |

    I would say that the french and russian revolutions are probably of the utmost notable, considering the communist revolutions were set off by the Bolsheviks seizing power, and the French Revolution led to Napoleon who would conquer most of Europe and spread the liberal ideals throughout, thus the failed liberal revolutions of 1848, which prevented the Prussians and Russians from modeling their countries into a democracy.

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  15. YouRang? at |

    Japan could probably have been on this list as well, but I don’t have enough information to really make aAs a bonus, we could include mankind n informed decision on that. Certainly, North Vietnam rising up against the French and soundly kicking their derrierres in the 1950s deserves to be here, despite any little things that might have happened later.

    As a bonus, we could include mankind fighting back against SKYNET. It hasn’t happened yet, but…

    Reply
  16. Mark M at |

    This site is so bias towards the south. Always with the no chance against the larger north population, supplies, industry, blah blah blah. The south, in the end, lost because Lee made some bad choices.

    Reply
  17. Michael at |

    10,9 and 8 are terrorist acts commited by muslims againts other non muslim people.It’s not revolution it’s chaos
    and murder!

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    1. Lee Standberry at |

      The British probably had the exact same sentiment regarding those pesky American colonists. As the saying goes one man’s rebel is another man’s patriot. It is all about perspective.

      Reply
  18. Marcelo at |

    A lot of people has said this already but, no French revolution???

    Reply
  19. PragmaticStatistic at |

    If you want to see all the battles of the American Revolution and the American Civil War in a Google Map that enables you to zoom in close on hundreds of actual battle fields and forts, and has a legend that puts it all in the proper timeline, go to:

    http://myreadingmapped.blogspot.com/2012/02/civil-and-revolutionary-war-battle.html

    Reply
  20. Luke Seamus Betts at |

    you missed out the english civil war and the french revolution, there would have been no american revolution without them.

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    1. Luke Seamus Betts at |

      and even i forgot the russian revolution

      Reply
  21. Saun at |

    You shouldn’t miss the Algerian Revolution against the 130 years French occupation. It lefted behind 1,5 million killed people in seven years of hot war.

    Reply

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