Segments in this Video

Revolution Defined (03:26)


Although revolution can mean violence and breakdown, it can also mean hope. The word "revolution" links the ideas of revolt and evolution and ultimately changes us profoundly.

Hunter Gatherer Societies (04:07)

The first revolutions in human history were technical. The discovery of fire and tools lead to the development of agriculture. The hierarchy of human politics develops based on survival.

First Recorded Revolution (02:33)

In the ancient city of Lagash, Sumer 2500 years ago, kings and priests imposed high taxes on the poor until they revolted and established government reforms.

Democracy in Ancient Greece (04:18)

Solan helped give birth to democracy in Greece almost 2600 years ago by helping abolish slavery for indebted men, thus establishing the roots of individualism.

American Revolution (02:11)

Revolution implies a massive transfer of power and a profound change in society. In the seventeenth century, the British treatment of the American colonists caused a deep sense of dissatisfaction.

French Revolution (03:13)

In seventeenth century France, aristocratic ignorance and poverty lead to the French Revolution. France's Declaration of Human Rights is based on the American Constitution.

Conditions for Revolution (03:05)

A revolution needs a revolutionary avant-garde, a charismatic leader that expresses the people's desires and can lead the revolt. An incendiary incident, or catalyst, sparks the revolution.

France's Bloody Coup (02:54)

In France, storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution was a political act by a desperate people. It takes France a century to establish democratic practices.

Industrial Revolution (04:02)

The invention of the steam engine closes the loop of the Industrial Revolution by providing transport for goods to the markets. Farmers moved into the factories creating a profound shift in society.

Marxism (01:44)

Another outcome of the Industrial Revolution is the invention of the working class. Marxism, which sprang from the working class, is the greatest revolution of the twentieth century.

Sexual Revolution, Feminism, Ecology (03:37)

The sexual revolution is a profound change in mentality and lifestyle. This revolutionary change began with feminism and the reconceptualization of the human being and our relationship with nature.

Global Village (02:43)

A political, social, or cultural vision propagates itself through print media, radio, and TV. When revolutionaries use technology, oppressive regimes are less likely to be successful.

Information Revolution (04:48)

In post-industrial societies, the information framework is changing toward computers. Computers can be used to share more information, but people still want face-to-face interaction.

Do We Need Revolution? (04:13)

For most of human history, people have lived in small groups as hunter gatherers picking berries and hunting game rather than creating revolutions. There are pros and cons to revolution.

Consequences of Democracy (02:42)

People living in post-industrial democracies often ignore the plight of people in third world countries. Even in democracies like the U.S., the gap between the rich and poor is widening.

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By definition, a revolution is an abrupt and usually violent change in the political and social structure of a country, occurring when people are pressed to the very limits of tolerance. In this program, historian Michel Guay and sociologists Alain Touraine and Jack Goldstone discuss the preconditions necessary to ignite a rebellion and present possible outcomes, drawing on historic examples such as the American, French, Russian, and Chinese Revolutions. Nonmilitary revolutions are considered as well, including the industrial, feminist, and information revolutions. (53 minutes)

Length: 54 minutes

Item#: BVL10461

ISBN: 978-1-4213-0626-1

Copyright date: ©1998

Closed Captioned

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Only available in USA and Canada.