7 responses

  1. Danny
    March 4, 2018

    Higher ideals like communism and socialism? What makes the higher ideals. Are you serious?

    Reply

    • Albert
      July 2, 2018

      Communist and socialist ideals are social ownership of the means of production; production for human need; social equality and the elimination of exploitation.
      Compare to private ownership; production for profit; class privilege and exploitative relationships.
      Is that serious enough?

      Reply

    • michael nolan
      July 4, 2018

      One might quibble about the word “higher,” but there is no doubt that socialism and communism are ideals that place the good of society above the good of the individual. One can also argue that those are not the best, or even desireable, ways of organizing society, or that most attempts to bring about these societies have failed. Yet, one cannot deny the idealism.

      Reply

    • michael nolan
      July 4, 2018

      The article doesn’t look into purely social and economic revolutions, such as the Industrial Revolution. Also, many revolutions, such as the Russian, Mexican, or Cuban Revolutions emphasize the continuing aspect of the revolution. And many civil wars do involve outside groups and even foreign governments, including the current conflict in Syria.

      Reply

  2. Steven
    June 12, 2018

    More simply, a civil war is when two or more factions are fighting for control of a single, central government. A revolution is when one or more factions are fighting to replace the ruling regime. The American War Between the States was neither. Like the American War of Secession from the British Empire, it was fought to dissolve the political bonds between two groups of people.

    Reply

  3. Mark Powell
    September 16, 2018

    Seems to me that the best, simplest answer to the difference between a Civil War and a Revolution is that a Civil War is factions of the ruling elite in opposition for control of the established government, and a war of Revolution is when the common populace of either faction go against the ruling elite. Both seek to supplant the dominant paradigm with their own ideology, but the difference is at what level.
    The American Revolution was the non-ruling, but wealthy Americans, who considered themselves British until that point, throwing off the oppression of King George’s tyrannical policies to become self-governing, thereby separating themselves from Britain. The American Civil War differed in that the elected ruling elite of the states that became the Confederacy were, until secession, part of the ruling elite of the United States. That they were attempting to schism off to become their own nation, does not change that this was taken from a group that was already part of the ruling class, not from outside it, as happens in a Revolution.
    As for those pointing to things like the Industrial Revolution, where the Revolution was of a purely technical and economic nature, these are not a combat against, or between, the ruling elite. No great societal overthrow was required. It was a massive change in how mostly manufacturing businesses were operated. This spread out to cause great social change.
    Gandhi’s non-violent Revolution in India was no less a Revolution than the US or French Revolutions, but the manner in which he “fought” his battles was VASTLY different. That his tactics and strategy differed in no way lessens that he was just as eager as our Founding Fathers to free themselves of an oppressive British influence.
    The block at the end of the article seems to be including some of the basic confusion of the difference in them. The Syrian conflict seems to have started as a revolution, but outside influences from other nations have propped up Assad on one side and a “civil” government on the other, into more of a Civil War now.
    Either way, win or lose, Civil Wars and Revolutions will bring great change, change that is not always beneficial to all involved.

    Reply

  4. Gregory Zeigler
    October 20, 2019

    All of this talk seems to me far more complicated than necessary. It may be fun to discuss if you are particularly interested in types of revolutions or the reasons for a particular civil war, etc., but as an ESL teacher just trying to get my students to understand the basics of the words’ meanings, I tell them that BASICALLY, a civil war isn’t successful and a revolution is. Had the Communists in China failed to usurp the Kuomintang, it would have been remembered as one of many Chinese civil wars; as it turned out it is known as the Communist Revolution of China. If the CSA had been victorious in the US Civil War, it would likely be remembered as the Confederate Revolution. Then I go on to point out that “revolution” has at least a couple of different meanings, one of which is a war within a country to change its government while another is a basic and relatively quick paradigm shift within a society (the Industrial Revolution, the Digital Revolution, etc.). Pretty easy to distinguish the difference just by context.

    Reply

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