An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown





I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.


John Adams (1735-1826, American President (2nd))


The Revolution was effected before the War commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations. This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution.


John Adams (1735-1826, American President (2nd))


The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.


Hannah Arendt (1906-1975, German-born American political philosopher)


In revolutions the occasions may be trifling but great interest are at stake.


Aristotle (BC 384-322, Greek philosopher)


Thinkers prepare the revolution and bandits carry it out.


Mariano Azuela (1873-1952, Mexican novelist)


Revolution begins with the self, in the self.


Toni Cade Bambara (1959-, American writer)


Revolution is an abrupt change in the form of misgovernment.


Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914, American author, editor, journalist, "The Devil's Dictionary")


So they united, and the Communist revolution took the chain from their legs and wound it around their necks.


Samuel Bonom


I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with Blood.


John Mason Brown (1800-1859, American militant abolitionist)


Men are made uneasy; they flinch; they cannot bear the sudden light; a general restlessness supervenes; the face of society is disturbed, or perhaps convulsed; old interests and old beliefs have been destroyed before new ones have been created. These symptoms are the precursors of revolution; they have preceded all the great changes through which the world has passed.


Henry Thomas Buckle (1821-1862, British historian)


I had such a wonderful feeling last night, walking beneath the dark sky while cannon boomed on my right and guns on my left; the feeling that I could change the world only by being there.


Viorica Butnariu


The dead have been awakened -- shall I sleep? The world's at war with tyrants -- shall I crouch? the harvest's ripe -- and shall I pause to reap? I slumber not; the thorn is in my couch; Each day a trumpet soundeth in mine ear, its echo in my heart.


Lord Byron (1788-1824, British poet)


Every revolutionary ends up by becoming either an oppressor or a heretic.


Albert Camus (1913-1960, French existential writer)


The revolutionary spirit is mighty convenient in this, that it frees one from all scruples as regards ideas. Its hard absolute optimism is repulsive to my mind by the menace of fanaticism and intolerance it contains. No doubt one should smile at these things; but, imperfect Esthete, I am no better Philosopher. All claim to special righteousness awakens in me that scorn and anger from which a philosophical mind should be free.


Joseph Conrad (1857-1924, Polish-born British novelist)


The scrupulous and the just, the noble, humane, and devoted natures; the unselfish and the intelligent may begin a movement -- but it passes away from them. They are not the leaders of a revolution. They are its victims.


Joseph Conrad (1857-1924, Polish-born British novelist)


More and more, revolution has found itself delivered into the hands of its bureaucrats and doctrinaires on the one hand, and to the enfeebled and bewildered masses on the other.


Albert Camus (1913-1960, French existential writer)


Revolution, in order to be creative, cannot do without either a moral or metaphysical rule to balance the insanity of history.


Albert Camus (1913-1960, French existential writer)


A revolution is not a bed of roses. A revolution is a struggle between the future and the past.


Fidel Castro (1927-, Cuban President)


I began revolution with 82 men. If I had to do it again, I do it with 10 or 15 and absolute faith. It does not matter how small you are if you have faith and plan of action.


Fidel Castro (1927-, Cuban President)


I feel my belief in sacrifice and struggle getting stronger. I despise the kind of existence that clings to the miserly trifles of comfort and self-interest. I think that a man should not live beyond the age when he begins to deteriorate, when the flame that lighted the brightest moment of his life has weakened.


Fidel Castro (1927-, Cuban President)


You can never have a revolution in order to establish a democracy. You must have a democracy in order to have a revolution.


Gilbert K. Chesterton (1874-1936, British author)


Clemency is also a revolutionary measure.


Camille Desmoulins (1760-1794, French journalist, revolutionary leader)


Our cause is just. Our union is perfect.


John Dickinson


Disturbances in society are never more fearful than when those who are stirring up the trouble can use the pretext of religion to mask their true designs.


Denis Diderot (1713-1784, French philosopher)


I have been ever of the opinion that revolutions are not to be evaded.


Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881, British statesman, Prime Minister)


Normal life cannot sustain revolutionary attitudes for long.


Milovan Djilas (1911-1995, Yugoslav Vice-President)


Plots, true or false, are necessary things, to raise up commonwealths, and ruin kings.


John Dryden (1631-1700, British poet, dramatist, critic)


Every revolution was first a thought in one man’s mind.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


If there is any period one would desire to be born in, is it not the age of Revolution; when the old and the new stand side by side, and admit of being compared; when the energies of all men are searched by fear and by hope; when the historic glories of the old can be compensated by the rich possibilities of the new era?


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


To be a revolutionary you have to be human being. You have to care about people who have no power.


Jane Fonda (1937-, American screen actor)


The worst of revolutions is a restoration.


Charles James Fox (1749-1806, British statesman, foreign secretary)


The successful revolutionary is a statesman, the unsuccessful one a criminal.


Erich Fromm (1900-1980, American psychologist)


All successful revolutions are the kicking in of a rotten door. The violence of revolutions is the violence of men who charge into a vacuum.


John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-, American economist)


A revolution does not last more than fifteen years, the period which coincides with the flourishing of a generation.


Jose Ortega Y Gasset (1883-1955, Spanish essayist, philosopher)


The main object of a revolution is the liberation of man... not the interpretation and application of some transcendental ideology.


Jean Genet (1910-1986, French playwright, novelist)


A great revolution is never the fault of the people, but of the government.


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832, German poet, dramatist, novelist)


The surest guide to the correctness of the path that women take is joy in the struggle. Revolution is the festival of the oppressed.


Germaine Greer (1939-, Australian feminist writer)


The children of the revolution are always ungrateful, and the revolution must be grateful that it is so.


Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-, American author)


The spirit of revolution, the spirit of insurrection, is a spirit radically opposed to liberty.


Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot (1787-1874, French historian and statesman)


When people contend for their liberty they seldom get anything for their victory, but new masters.


Edward F. Halifax (1881-1959, British conservative statesman)


True revolutionaries are like God -- they create the world in their own image. Our awesome responsibility to ourselves, to our children, and to the future is to create ourselves in the image of goodness because the future depends on the nobility of our imaginings.


Barbara Grizzuti Harrison (1941-, American author, publicist)


Whether a revolutions succeeds or fails people of great hearts will always be sacrificed to it.


Heinrich Heine (1797-1856, German poet, journalist)


We have wasted our spirit in the regions of the abstract and general just as the monks let it wither in the world of prayer and contemplation.


Alexander Herzen (1812-1870, Russian journalist, political thinker)


The main effect of a real revolution is perhaps that it sweeps away those who do not know how to wish, and brings to the front men with insatiable appetites for action, power and all that the world has to offer.


Eric Hoffer (1902-1983, American author, philosopher)


We used to think that revolutions are the cause of change. Actually it is the other way around: change prepares the ground for revolution.


Eric Hoffer (1902-1983, American author, philosopher)


I was probably the only revolutionary referred to as cute.


Abbie Hoffman (1936-1989, American radical activist, author)


Revolutions are not made by men in spectacles.


Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894, American author, wit, poet)


He that goeth about to persuade a multitude that they are not so well governed as they ought to be shall never want attentive and favorable hearers.


Richard Hooker (1554-1600, British theologian)


The brutalities of progress are called revolutions. When they are over we realize this: that the human race has been roughly handled, but that it has advanced.


Victor Hugo (1802-1885, French poet, dramatist, novelist)


If we glance at the most important revolutions in history, we see at once that the greatest number of these originated in the periodical revolutions of the human mind.


Karl Wilhelm Von Humboldt (1767-1835, German statesman, philologist)


Oh, my friend, it's not what they take away from you that counts -- it's what you do with what you have left.


Hubert H. Humphrey (1911-1978, American Vice President)


Never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and truth.


Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906, Norwegian dramatist)


A man may build himself a throne of bayonets, but he can't sit on it.


Dean William R. Inge (1860-1954, Dean of St. Paul's, London)


Revolutions are notorious for allowing even non-participants -- even women! -- new scope for telling the truth since they are themselves such massive moments of truth, moments of such massive participation.


Selma James


The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.


Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826, American President (3rd))


And then, Sir, there is this consideration, that if the abuse be enormous, nature will rise up, and claiming her original rights, overturn a corrupt political system.


Samuel Johnson (1709-1784, British author)


Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.


Franz Kafka (1883-1924, German novelist, short-story writer)


Although a system may cease to exist in the legal sense or as a structure of power, its values (or anti-values), its philosophy, its teachings remain in us. They rule our thinking, our conduct, our attitude to others. The situation is a demonic paradox: we have toppled the system but we still carry its genes.


Ryszard Kapuscinski (1932, Polish report and foreign correspondent)


Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.


John F. Kennedy (1917-1963, American President (35th))


Revolutions are not made for export.


Nikita S. Khrushchev (1894-1971, Soviet premier)


In this Revolution no plans have been written for retreat.


Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968, American Civil Rights leader, Nobel Prize winner, 1964)


Riots are the voices of the unheard.


Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968, American Civil Rights leader, Nobel Prize winner, 1964)


The more there are riots, the more repressive action will take place, and the more we face the danger of a right-wing takeover and eventually a fascist society.


Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968, American Civil Rights leader, Nobel Prize winner, 1964)


You cannot make a revolution in white gloves.


Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870-1924, Russian revolutionary leader)


Revolution today is taken for granted, and in consequence becomes rather dull.


Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957, British author, painter)


Revolutionary politics, revolutionary art, and oh, the revolutionary mind, is the dullest thing on earth. When we open a "revolutionary" review, or read a "revolutionary" speech, we yawn our heads off. It is true, there is nothing else. Everything is correctly, monotonously, dishearteningly "revolutionary." What a stupid word! What a stale fuss!


Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957, British author, painter)


At the crash of economic collapse of which the rumblings can already be heard, the sleeping soldiers of the proletariat will awake as at the fanfare of the Last Judgment and the corpses of the victims of the struggle will arise and demand an accounting from those who are loaded down with curses.


Karl Liebknecht


It is not the insurrections of ignorance that are dangerous, but the revolts of the intelligence.


James Russell Lowell (1819-1891, American poet, critic, editor)


A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.


Zedong Mao (1893-1976, Founder of the People's Republic of China)


It is easier to run a revolution than a government.


Ferdinand E. Marcos (1917-1989, Philippine President)


In every revolution there intrude, at the side of its true agents, men of a different stamp; some of them survivors of and devotees to past revolutions, without insight into the present movement, but preserving popular influence by their known honesty and courage, or by the sheer force of tradition; others mere brawlers, who, by dint of repeating year after year the same set of stereotyped declamations against the government of the day, have sneaked into the reputation of revolutionists of the first water They are an unavoidable evil: with time they are shaken off.


Karl Marx (1818-1883, German political theorist, social philosopher)


Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose, but their chains. .Workers of the world unite!


Karl Marx (1818-1883, German political theorist, social philosopher)


Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose, but their chains. .Workers of the world unite!


Karl Marx (1818-1883, German political theorist, social philosopher)


It is not the first duty of the novelist to provide blueprints for insurrection, or uplifting tales of successful resistance for the benefit of the opposition. The naming of what is there is what is important.


Ian McEwan (1948-, British author)


Most revolutionaries are potential Tories, because they imagine that everything can be put right by altering the shape of society; once that change is effected, as it sometimes is, they see no need for any other.


George Orwell (1903-1950, British author, "Animal Farm")


Revolutions are not made, they come.


Wendell Phillips (1811-1884, American reformer, orator)


Revolutions never go backward.


Wendell Phillips (1811-1884, American reformer, orator)


The excessive increase of anything causes a reaction in the opposite direction.


Plato (BC 427?-347?, Greek philosopher)


One eats while another watches -- that is how revolutions are begun.


Turkish Proverb (Sayings of Turkish origin)


The word "revolution" itself has become not only a dead relic of Leftism, but a key to the deadendedness of male politics: the "revolution" of a wheel which returns in the end to the same place; the "revolving door" of a politics which has "liberated" women only to use them, and only within the limits of male tolerance.


Adrienne Rich (1929-, American poet)


One revolution is like one cocktail, it just gets you organized for the next.


Will Rogers (1879-1935, American humorist, actor)


All revolutions devour their own children.


Ernst Rohm


The differences between revolution in art and revolution in politics are enormous. Revolution in art lies not in the will to destroy but in the revelation of what has already been destroyed. Art kills only the dead.


Harold Rosenberg (1906-1978, American art critic, author)


No one makes a revolution by himself; and there are some revolutions which humanity accomplishes without quite knowing how, because it is everybody who takes them in hand.


George Sand (1804-1876, French novelist)


Revolutions have never lightened the burden of tyranny: they have only shifted it to another shoulder.


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950, Irish-born British dramatist)


A nation grown free in a single day is a child born with the limbs and the vigor of a man, who would take a drawn sword for his rattle, and set the house in a blaze that he might chuckle over the splendor.


Sydney Smith (1771-1845, British writer, clergyman)


Revolution is a trivial shift in the emphasis of suffering.


Tom Stoppard (1937-, Czech playwright)


If you want a symbolic gesture, don't burn the flag, wash it.


Norman Thomas (1884-1968, American socialist leader)


If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution.


Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862, American essayist, poet, naturalist)


In a revolution, as in a novel. the most difficult part to invent is the end.


Alexis De Tocqueville (1805-1859, French social philosopher)


It is almost never when a state of things is the most detestable that it is smashed, but when, beginning to improve, it permits men to breathe, to reflect, to communicate their thoughts with each other, and to gauge by what they already have the extent of their rights and their grievances. The weight, although less heavy, seems then all the more unbearable.


Alexis De Tocqueville (1805-1859, French social philosopher)


Revolutions are always verbose.


Leon Trotsky (1879-1940, Russian revolutionary)


Every successful revolution puts on in time the robes of the tyrant it has deposed.


Barbara Tuchman (1912-1989, American historian)


If not us, who? If not now, when?


Author Unknown


On the first day of a revolution he is a treasure; on the second he ought to be shot.


Author Unknown


People who talk about revolution and class struggle without referring explicitly to everyday life, without understanding what is subversive about love and what is positive in the refusal of constraints, such people have a corpse in their mouth.


Raoul Vaneigem (1934-, Belgian situationist philosopher)


Independence in the end is the fruit of injustice.


Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire (1694-1778, French historian, writer)


All partisan movements add to the fullness of our understanding of society as a whole. They never detract; or, in any case, one must not allow them to do so. Experience adds to experience.


Alice Walker (1944-, American author, critic)


You said, "They're harmless dreamers and they're loved by the people." -- "What," I asked you, "is harmless about a dreamer, and what," I asked you, "is harmless about the love of the people? Revolution only needs good dreamers who remember their dreams."


Tennessee Williams (1914-1983, American dramatist)


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