Last week in class, we learned about Crane Brinton, a 20th century historian whose rise to fame peaked when he wrote a book called “The Anatomy of a Revolution”. In his book, he outlined the steps needed to form a political revolution, and compared it to a disease.

The steps in Brinton’s theory are as follows:

1. The incubation stage, in which flaws in the current political system would start to show.

2. The moderate stage, where moderates would attempt to compromise a reform.

3. The crisis stage, when radicals would gain governmental control.

4. The recovery stage, which is the end of the reign of terror. The government returns to a system almost identical to the previous system with minor compromise.


The inquiry question I chose to research was ‘Are there any exceptions to Brinton’s theory?’

As Brinton himself has said, revolutions shouldn’t be expected to be identical, but many have very similar characteristics. However, sometimes, there are exceptions to this theory. Some revolutions haven’t been brought upon by violence, which differs from part of the theory. Sometimes revolutions can be peaceful, but these ones are usually on a lesser scale than revolutions over a large population of governing. Some revolts can also be brought upon by consent, such as the government election in the UK in 1945. Often times multiple different smaller revolts can form a larger revolution to overthrow a body of government. The last way that a revolution can differ from Brinton’s theory is that politics are not always rising in a steady fashion.

In conclusion, the theory of a revolution was a very thought out theory, but with any theory, they’re always exceptions.

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