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Revolution Weekly
Spring 2014 Issue
March 16, 2014
Leah Foodman, Gabi Agnes
Ever wondered why certain revolutions were successes whilst others failed? Check out Revolution Weekly's six keys and unlock the secret to a successful revolution!
2. Revolution is about showing up:
1. Change doesn't happen overnight:
Many events in history show us that this is true. Whenever something important needs to happen in the United States of America, it takes a while to figure it out. For example, fifteen years prior to the Declaration of Independence (1761), and before America was established, present day Maine-Georgia was colonized by England and the colonists were British loyalists. It took the US 15 years to gain independence for the colonies. It took a while for the people to start getting the idea that things needed to change and even though only 1/3 of them originally felt that way, the numbers eventually changed. In conclusion, the US took many years to stand up and say that the British did not own them any more and that the colonists wanted freedom and independence.
The thought of a revolution is a great for those who are oppressed, but unless people are willing to dedicate themselves to the cause and stand up for what they believe in, nothing will ever happen. During the American Revolution, some colonists were ashamed by how they were being treated and chose to fight back for their independence. People in Britain thought that the colonies could not pull together and become organized enough to even pose a threat the their respected army, but each of the colonists who "showed up" made a big impact and eventually they formed militias strong enough to defeat their mother land.
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3. Start by changing the narrative:
If a revolution is going to be started then it cannot be in the perspective of the few wealthy people who write it, but in the opinion of the people who will uphold it. Originally, the Bill of Rights contained very few individual rights, and mostly regulations on how to run the country. “Principal architect”, James Madison, designed the document to limit power of government and regulate how the country is run in order to prevent oppression. The publishing of Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" sparked the colonist's minds and got them thinking about independence - which led them to start to change. As a result, they wrote the Articles of Confederation, which gave limited power to the federal government, as the colonists were fearful of empowering their authorities to a detrimental extent. They did not want to replicate the situation in England. However, rather than protecting themselves from oppression, they denied the colonies and the nation room to grow. To resolve the issue, the first three articles of the Constitution established the three branches of government – executive, legislative, and judicial. Each minor change led to reform that helped improve the effectiveness and success of the US government!
4. It’s not about Democracy vs. Islam:
Another main principle in the US is the separation of Church and State. The American Revolution taught us that we do not have to choose between religion and nationalism – you can have the best of both worlds! Although the colonists were primarily Christian, the founding fathers did not want to involve religion in the government they were building. They did not want to leave their beliefs behind, nor force people to accept them. Rather, they recognized that a line could be drawn between religion and government, and allowed people freedom. Unlike under Islamic “Sharia” Law, the rules set by United States authorities are meant to govern a body of people, not spiritually guide an individual.
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5. Human rights violations affect us all:
6. If you want a story, go to the people:
The United States of America was built on the concept that each individual has a set of inalienable rights that no one should be able to take away, because any violation or seizing of these human rights affects everyone. Although life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness are commonly considered the three main inalienable rights, a human rights violation also encompasses injustices. The government cannot just make declarations and “boss around” people who don’t give them permission to do so. In the arrangement between Britain and the colonies, there was a definite breach of power. The King was so advantageous that the colonists learned to resent power and quickly learned that it can easily be detrimental to one’s inalienable rights. There is an undeniable social contract between any ruler in any type of government and the people they rule. Without the permission and respect of the people, a government will not be able to effectively function. When establishing a government, Jefferson argued that any lack of consent for the government by the governed is a clear violation of human rights. When this occurs, it is up to the people to speak up and make a change. A prime example: Even though the inhabitants of the colonies were not in England, they were still required to honor the Magna Carta, a document that established the idea that no individual is above the law. So, when the King of England required that the colonists pay taxes to cover the Seven Years War, they protested and invoked their rights as free men. After ten years of protest, they finally decided to separate from the motherland, even though it meant they had to resort to armed conflict.
They always say that the true story comes from those who have experienced, not just speculated. In order to fully understand anything, one must acquire information from a primary source, someone who has been at the heart of the situation. This concept is especially true for the founding of the United States. Think about the Revolutionary War: A bunch of militias from the colonies fought an armed war with the highly trained and esteemed British army- and won. The British were not impacted by the situation the way the colonists were; they were not passionate about their freedom. The colonists, on the other hand, were at the heart of the issue, and understood what it was like to be governed by authorities who they did not consent to be governed by. Ultimately, this lead to the failing of a majorly important social contract and the colonist’s passion and deep understanding of the issue won them victory and freedom.