Quotes About Revolution

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Writer Jean Genet

Prudence ... will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.—THOMAS JEFFERSON, Declaration of Independence

The revolution you dream of is not ours. You don't want to change the world, you want to blow it up.—JEAN-PAUL SARTRE, Dirty Hands

A people contending for life and liberty are seldom disposed to look with a favorable eye upon either men or measures whose passions, interests or consequences will clash with those inestimable objects.—GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to General Thomas, July 23, 1775

Revolutions have never lightened the burden of tyranny. They have only shifted it to another shoulder.—GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, Man and Superman

It's the well-behaved children ... that make the best revolutionaries. They don't say a word, they don't hide under the table, they eat only one piece of chocolate at a time. But later on they make society pay dearly. —JEAN-PAUL SARTRE, Dirty Hands

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure. —THOMAS JEFFERSON, letter to W.S. Smith, Nov. 13, 1787

Make the Revolution a parent of settlement, and not a nursery of future revolutions.—EDMUND BURKE, Reflections on the Revolution in France

9th Circuit Laugher

Some People Prefer Government Endowments

That humanity and sincerity which dispose men to resist injustice and tyranny render them unfit to cope with the cunning and power of those who are opposed to them. The friends of liberty trust to the professions of others because they are themselves sincere, and endeavour to secure the public good with the least possible hurt to its enemies, who have no regard to anything but their own unprincipled ends, and stick at nothing to accomplish them.
WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characters of Shakespeare's Plays

Do people demand a really just system? Well, we'll arrange it so that they'll be satisfied with one that's a little less unjust ... They want a revolution, and we'll give them reforms -- lots of reforms; we'll drown them in reforms. Or rather, we'll drown them in promises of reforms, because we'll never give them real ones either!!—DARIO FO, Accidental Death of an Anarchist

If we behave like those on the other side, then we are the other side. Instead of changing the world, all we'll achieve is a reflection of the one we want to destroy. JEAN GENET, The Balcony

A little rebellion now and then is a good thing and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. —THOMAS JEFFERSON, letter to James Madison, Jan. 30, 1787

I can imagine no man who will look with more horror on the End than a conscientious revolution­ary who has, in a sense sincerely, been justifying cruelties and injustices inflicted on millions of his contemporaries by the benefits which he hopes to confer on future generations: generations who, as one terrible moment now reveals to him, were never going to exist. Then he will see the massacres, the faked trials, the deportations, to be all ineffaceably real, an essential part, his part, in the drama that has just ended: while the future Utopia had never been anything but a fantasy. —C.S. LEWIS, The World's Last Night

They never fail who die
In a great cause: the block may soak their gore:
Their heads may sodden in the sun; their limbs
Be strung to city gates and castle walls—
But still their Spirit walks abroad. Though years
Elapse, and others share as dark a doom,
They but augment the deep and sweeping thoughts
Which overpower all others, and conduct
The world at last to Freedom.

—LORD BYRON, Marino Faliero

The right to rebellion is the right to seek a higher rule, and not to wander in mere lawlessness.—GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

Resistance to improvement contradicts the noblest instincts of the race. It begets its opposite. The fanaticism of reform is only the raging of the accumulated waters caused by the obstructions which an ultra conservatism has thrown across the stream of progress; and revolution itself is but the sudden overwhelming and sweeping away of impediments that should have been seasonably removed.—HORACE MANN, Thoughts

The history of the human race always has been, and most likely always will be, that of evolution and revolution.—LEWIS F. KORNS, Thoughts

It is far more easy to pull down, than to build up, and to destroy, than to preserve. Revolutions have on this account been falsely supposed to be fertile of great talent; as the dregs rise to the top, during a fermentation, and the lightest things are carried highest by the whirlwind. And the practice of this proposition bears out the theory; for demagogues have succeeded tolerably well in making ruins; but the moment they begin to build anew from the materials that they have overthrown, they have often been uselessly employed with regard to others, and more often dangerously with regard to themselves. CHARLES CALEB COLTON, Lacon

A constitution imperiled justifies revolution.—EDWARD COUNSEL, Maxims

As to the history of the revolution, my ideas may be peculiar, perhaps singular. What do we mean by the Revolution? The war? That was no part of the revolution; it was only an effect and consequence of it. The revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected ... before a drop of blood was shed. —JOHN ADAMS, letter to Thomas Jefferson, Aug. 24, 1815

If we would trace our descents, we should find all slaves to come from princes and all princes from slaves: But fortune has turned all things topsy-turvy, in a long story of revolutions.—WELLINS CALCOTT, Thoughts Moral and Divine

Revolution does not insure progress. You may overturn thrones, but what proof that anything better will grow upon the soil? —E.H. CHAPIN, Living Words

Some men hope for revolution but when you revolt and set up your new government you find your new government is still the same old Papa, he has only put on a cardboard mask.CHARLES BUKOWSKI, Notes of a Dirty Old Man

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