Do revolutions originate in oppression and injustice, in the weakening of political authorities, in new ideas, or in the activities of small groups?

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In a sense, this is a false dichotomy. Something as dramatic and complex as a revolution rarely has a single cause. Instead, for a revolution to occur, a significant group must both want change and see change as feasible.

Oppression and injustice are root causes of revolutions. If people feel that they are prospering and well governed, they would have no motivations to revolt. Social, racial, ethnic, religious, economic, and political injustice are all potential causes of revolutions. Colonized societies often eventually revolt against colonial powers.

Next, for a revolution to succeed, it must be feasible. For example, a well-run authoritarian society may be so effective at suppressing dissent that it is impossible to revolt successfully. Weakening of political authorities or internal dissensions among rulers can give revolutionaries opportunities to stage a successful revolt.

Often, in a situation of weakened political authority and widespread discontent, new ideas arise. Discontent...

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