Reasons Behind Violence During Revolutions

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INTRODUCTION This essay will try to analyze reasons behind violence during revolutions as studies have shown that peaceful revolutions are more successful than violent ones (53% vs 26%) (Lakey, 2012). It is necessary to point out where exactly violence comes into action so the essay will deal with six possible causes that startle violence amongst demonstrators: inequality/class conflict/instability, individual(public) desire for leadership, lack of dialog/compromise, lack of democracy, violation of human rights/extremism and lastly, escalation. “Since the source of violence rests with reaction, whether or not it will appear depends not so much upon the will to use it but rather upon the capacity to use it.” (Aptheker, 1967) It is important to study why are people behaving violently in order for the government or anyone with influence to take precautions reducing forceful actions. INEQUALITY, INSTABILITY (CLASS CONFLICT) Edward N. Muller says that since ancient times (Aristotle up to de Tocqueville) social philosophers thought that economic inequality (hand in hand with relative deprivation and resource mobilization) causes revolutions and political violence. (Muller, 1985:47) However, latest researches suggest that the importance is lower but still significant and it also takes regime repressiveness into account. (Muller, 1985:48) “A high level of inequality and a regime structure that is neither democratic nor totalitarian appear to be two potent ingredients of a recipe for political instability.” (Muller, 1985:60) Class conflict, associated with the above-mentioned, is the division between the poor and the rich –the gap is increased during revolutions, social order breaks down, chaos follows, citizens feel less se... ... middle of paper ... ...s of civil war [Online] Microcon. Available from: [Accessed 04/01/2014] Sutherland, C. (n.d.) Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) [Online] Available from: [Accessed 05/01/2014] The Economist (2011) The economics of violence [Online] The Economist, 16th Apr. Available from: [Accessed 05/01/2014] World Health Organization (2002) World report on violence and health: summary [Online] WHO. Available from: [Accessed 04/01/2014] Zagorin, P. (1973) Theories of Revolution in Contemporary Historiography. Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 88, No. 1 (Mar., 1973), pp. 23-52. Available from: [Accessed 03/01/2014]

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