Read On Revolution by Hannah Arendt Online

on-revolution

Tracing the gradual evolution of revolutions, Arendt predicts the changing relationship between war and revolution and the crucial role such combustive movements will play in the future of international relations. She looks at the principles which underlie all revolutions, starting with the first great examples in America and France, and showing how both the theory and praTracing the gradual evolution of revolutions, Arendt predicts the changing relationship between war and revolution and the crucial role such combustive movements will play in the future of international relations. She looks at the principles which underlie all revolutions, starting with the first great examples in America and France, and showing how both the theory and practice of revolution have since developed. Finally, she foresees the changing relationship between war and revolution and the crucial changes in international relations, with revolution becoming the key tactic.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators....

Title : On Revolution
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ISBN : 9780143039907
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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On Revolution Reviews

  • Hadrian
    2018-11-01 13:53

    "It is too early to say."-Zhou Enlai (1898-1976), when asked on the implications of the French RevolutionGiven the number of uprisings, rebellions, and revolutions which have sprung up over the past years, (not to mention one this week), it would be fair to give them their proper attention. Hannah Arendt focuses her study in a history and comparative analysis of three revolutions: the American, the French, and the Russian.Revolution, like war, is violent. If we speak broadly and use 'revolution' as violence used for political and social ends, is not new. Plato and Polybius describe processes by which one form of government change into another, but these are part of a fixed cycle. (The term Polybius uses is anacyclosis.) However, violence used to replace not only leaders, but to destroy and recreate an entire social system, is new. This is Arendt's typology of 'revolution'. In Arendt's view, there are two motivations for domestic revolution: 'liberation', which involves social mobility, and 'freedom', which is political agency and autonomy. 'Liberation' is possible with multiple forms of government, but 'Freedom' is only possible with more democratic forms of government, and was the form of government adopted more permanently by the Americans, haphazardly after the French, and nominally by the Russians.Furthermore, in her view, all revolutions are either 'French' or 'American': the American type strictly adheres to its political aims, but the French type abandons its original goals as a response to 'historical necessity' - e.g., when a Robespierre takes over, and commands state terror in the name of humanity. Furthermore, the American is a success because it achieved its goals (liberty for those who revolted), and the French a failure not only in its original case, but from the turbulent actions of the next two centuries in order to establish a stable republic (See also French History until the establishment of the Fifth Republic in 1956).The American-type of revolution was based from an Aristotlean 'elite' conception of political actors in human nature. The French Revolution, a 'mass' form of revolution later became the basis of Marx's idea of what a revolution should become. However, what was the cause of the 'failure' of the French-type of revolution, and the Marxist ones which came after? Where the revolutionary forces did not represent the popular will, or in their attempts to use violence to achieve happiness. Now, using political means to achieve happiness is not a new idea, as seen from Plato's eudaimonia, but Arendt claims that only in relative modernity was the political sphere used as an attempt to mandate happiness, instead from democratic efforts.In some cases, the revolutionaries' newly acquired political power was often used to suppress the developing democratic institutions which they claimed to support, all of this in the name of a common good. For example, the central Soviet government quickly suppressed and controlled the democratic village 'soviets' which had formed a grassroots democracy. (Or, if I might venture a more contemporary example, Mohammed Morsi's abortive attempts to censor the press during his brief tenure).What made the American revolution a success was peaceful experimentation of popular democracy, and their eventual collaboration into a more coherent government. For example, the transition from the Articles of Confederacy to a modern constitution. Only the people's interest and citizenship can properly sustain a revolution, and not an enforced top-down measurement. Now this book is staggering, and the depth and breadth of Arendt's research is complex. I'm only familiar enough with the American Revolution to even attempt to critique it, but I'm largely in agreement with her arguments on it, favoring her ideological conception over Charles Beard's economic arguments. Maybe somebody who studied the French Revolution could chime in here? Her narrative there is compelling, but I have very little idea of its historical accuracy.I would also have loved her take on the Hungarian Revolution or the Cuban, but perhaps these were not included because it was too early to tell. A greater analysis of 1848 would have been nice too. Furthermore, a revolution is not only 'old' versus 'new'. We now all know the French revolution had multiple factions; but then again so did the Chinese, the Russian, and the Mexican and Spanish Civil Wars too.However, her advocacy of political freedom over political happiness is part of a controversy which remains wholly unresolved today. She does, however, recognizes one of the great flaws of modern American constitutionalism today, in that the people regard the Constitution as a 'finished product' and are becoming distant from the details of political affairs, and where some demands and special interests take precedence over the public good. In any case, I am largely in agreement with her conception on the great contradiction of revolutions. They are violent and stormy in nature, but the great task is for them to establish a new peace and order. Arendt's argument, despite being couched in modern terms, is again quite old. It is a return to the classical res publica, of representatives and republics, the public sphere, and an active citizenry in public participation. When the passions of war die down, it is necessary for the people to want to preserve their hard-fought gains and prevent corruption from seeping in once more. It is a lesson which applies not only to the peoples in those nations which continue to fight so hard for freedom today, but those which take for granted their stability and ignore the importance of continued debate. History is not something that can be predicted, nor can our ideas about the past so completely describe what will happen later. In any case, this is a valuable and intricately detailed book, and is worth the time of any person who is interested in modern political theory.

  • Edward
    2018-11-11 18:20

    Introduction--On RevolutionNotesBibliographyIndex

  • Fatema Hassan , bahrain
    2018-10-21 16:56

    " سوء الفهم يجعل العالم يدور " مقولة لازمتني خلال شهور قرائتي لهذا الكتاب ، فبيننا وبين العالم سوء فهم كبير يجعلنا في حالة حراك متمرد وثوري معه ، نحن نسعى لنزيل سوء الفهم هذا ؛ الأمر المثير للسخرية أننا ونحن نحاول إزالته .. نحن نخلق سوء الفهم من جديد ! الباحثة السياسية و الفيلسوفة الأمريكية من أصل يهودي ألماني " حنة آرندت " المتهمة بمعاداة السامية إثر كتابتها ل " إيخمان في القدس " وهو عبارة عن تحقيق حول قضية الضابط النازي إيخمان المتهم ب ارتكابه قضايا قتل جماعي بحق اليهود وعنونة تقرير الكتاب الفرعية ب" عاديّة الشر " إثر رصد عينيّ استنتجته من خلال المحاكمة آثار سخط اليهود عليها ، آرندت خلقت هالة سوء الفهم بهذا التقرير إذ كانت تبرر أمر لا يقبل التبرير من وجهة النظر اليهودية .." في الثورة " هو بمثابة دراسة لأهم ثورتين في التاريخ ( الفرنسية و الأمريكية ) و التاريخ الثوري المحاكي الممتد في أعقابهما من خلال الثورات المتعاقبة و خصوصًا الثورة الروسية بقيادة لينين الذي تحققت نبؤته من خلال تلك المجريات في القرن العشرين ، تناقش آرندت مدى صحة مقولة " الثورة لا تكون إلا بصيغة فرنسية " و تشرح لنا كيف نالت الثورة الفرنسية تلك الشهرة المثالية والتي لا يزال الإعلام يتطرق لها قبالة التهميش للثورة الإمريكية رغم نجاحها من وجهة نظر آرندت . من خلال الفصل الأول " الحرب والثورة " تناقش أثر كل منهما على تحديد ملامح القرن العشرين و التحكم بفكر العلاقات السياسية فيه وامتداد علاقتهما ( الحرب و الثورة ) عبر القرن الثامن عشر فالتاسع عشر ومدى عكسية تلك العلاقة أو تصالحها ، والجدال الذي أفضى للوجود السياسي و القضية التاريخية الأقدم " الحرية إزاء الإستبداد " ، الحرب والثورة التي بقيتا الشغل الشاغل و القضيتين المركزيتين كان لهما مايبرر وجودهما في القرون الماضية ولكنها بقيتا رغم إنتهاء مبرراتهما العقدّية كما ترى آرندت و تستشهد بالثورة التقنية التي طالت بشتى أوجهها القرن العشرين فلو كان الصاروخ مدمرًا ( مثلًا ) فيما سبق لم يعد مبررًا لشن حرب دفاعية في وقتنا الحالي فلكل صاروخ تم اختراع صاروخ مضاد ، الصاروخ هنا هو تصغير لحقيقة تعرض الشعوب للإبادة في الحرب فماعاد هاجس الخوف من الإستبداد و الإبادة قائماً بوجود للمراوغة و الإكتشافات النظيفة و الكثير من السبل الإحترازية و الوقائية التي تقوم باقتلاع بذور الحرب ، تتطرق آرندت كذلك لمفهوم الحرية و نظرية الثورة كي تغيرا جذريًا في ظل معطيات مختلفة سياسيًا كسباق التسلح و مناورة زمن السلم و الحروب الباردة و الحالة المعنوية للجنود و تغير مواقف الجنود والمدنيين و الدولة والجيش وظهور الرادع الذي يقلب المعادلات كما في حالة الجيش والشعب وكيف بات المفهوم الحالي لهما متقلقلاً فبعد أن كان الجيش يحمي الشعب أصبح يردع الشعب و ما ينطوي عليه موقفه الرادع من تبديل لطبيعة الحرب و الثورة ، كل حرب تكون بمثابة تهديد مباشر بإبادة كلية وكل ثورة تكون قيادة هدفها الحرية لذلك كانت " الحرية إزاء الإستبداد " الثورات تتعاقب يتزعمها من يزعم أنه الأقدر على تحقيقها وتوزيع السلطات الدنيوية وفق قوانين طبيعية وإلهية منوطة به وحده .. هكذا تفسر آرندت مبدأ " الحرية إزاء الإستبداد "هذا . و قياسا بقِدم الحروب فالثورة وليدة عصرنا الحديث ومن أهم مبررات الحرب القديمة و التقليدية والتي لم تكون بالضرورة تهدف للحرية إل ما ندر ( ١- الإعتقاد ان العلاقات السياسية في سياقها الإعتيادي لا تقع تحت رحمة العنف حيث كان الاقناع بديل وارد ، ٢-حروب عادلة وغير عادلة و العادلة فيعود ذلك لقداستها / السلاح مقدس بمعنى إن الدفاع حق مشروع / فالحروب في القرون الماضية لم تكن تضع حدّ فاصل يحمل أدنى أهمية بين كونها دفاعية أو عدوانية )من أبرز الفروق التي تلمّح لها آرندت في هذا الكتاب بين الثورتين .. الثورة الفرنسية التي أسقطت الباستيل و قامت لما عاناه الشعب من إظطهاد و جوع و ظلم في المرتبة الأولى كانت حركة من الداخل المطلق نحو الخارج المطلق وهذا مابرر سقوط الباستيل قبل ثورة الشعب ، الثورة الفرنسية لم تكن تملك ذات السلاح والآلة القمعية و عنف ما تلاها من الثورات فالتطور الذي باغت الثورات التي تلت الثورة الفرنسية جعل التدمير يستبعد أي عقلانية في الإستخدام إلى حدّ ما ، ولكن بالعودة لوقت حدوثها ( الثورة الفرنسية ) كانت تعتبر كحالة تمرد من قبل النظام وذلك من خلال الحوار القصير بين لويس السادس عشر و ليانكورت حين آتاه يخبره بسقوط الباستيل فصاح لويس السادس عشر ( إنه تمرد ) فرد عليه ليانكورت ( لا ياصاحب الجلالة ، إنها ثورة ) بحسب آرندت هذا دليل على قدم الحرب و حداثة الثورة ، فكان التمرد وارد ولكنه يدل على قوة النظام على إي حال لكن بمجرد إلباسه لهذا المسمى الجديد ( ثورة ) فهو يتحول لكيان سياسي يسقط سيطرة إي نظام ، مصطلح الثورة من خلال هذا الحوار و بجِدّته قبل أن يتخذ شكل هجوم شعبي ويقود لحرب كان مدويّا كفاية ليترسخ في عقلية التاريخ ، بعد نجاح الثورة الفرنسية و من خلال ثورة الشعب بزغ رجال الثورة الذي تسلقوا على أكتاف الثورة و التفوا على انجازاتها ومن أشهرهم المحامي مكسمليان روبسبير الذي حول فرنسا لمجازر يومية مستغلاً سلطته وكان خطيبًا مفوهً سيطر على عقل الشعب وكان يقتدي ويعمم مبادئ جان جاك روسو الذي يؤمن بنظرية العدو المشترك ليبقي الثورة مستمرة في أوار حماسها و الغريب أنه ينادي بمبدأ أن العدو المشترك الذي يجب التنبه له موجود بكل شخص وهو مصلحته الخاصة وبهذا كان هناك فصل بين هاجس الفرد و هاجس المواطن لتبقى إنجازات الثورة تحت سلطة روبسبير وحكمه ، تجنبًا لإي هيجان شعبي مما من شأنه تحويل الثورة لثورة مقابلة أو مضادة تستخرج رجال ثورة مضادين لرجال الثورة ( روبسبير ) وبهذا الثورة الفرنسية / افترست أبنائها / و انتهت بشكل كارثي سوّغت العنف و مجدته و ولدت الشفقة و تعكزت على الثورة لتصفية الثورة و ظهرت طبقة البرجوازيين و أصبح الرعب أداة لتسريع زخم الثورة وانتشر الفساد والبؤس كما تبين آرندت . الثورة في مسماها الحقيقي مصطلح فلكي لكوبر نيكس مفاده شرح للحركة المستمرة والدائرية للنجوم و حين نزلت هذه الحركة كمفهوم من السماء للأرض لم تتعدى حدود المصطلح المجازي فكانت تشير لحركة مستمرة يستعيد الشعب الذي يرزح تحت الظلم والقهر من خلالها السيطرة على مصيره من بين براثن النظام السلطوي المتجبر سياسياً كان أو ديني ، بهذا تفند آرندت كون الثورة مسيحية الأصل إذا إنها تهدف لفصل السياسية عن الدين و تعطي الأفضلية للمصلحة العامة وهذا كما تراه آرندت قمة العلمانية ، الثورة الأمريكية التي لم تفترس أبنائها على غرار الثورة الفرنسية فهي قائمة أساساً في بلد جديد لتفرض سلطة جديدة ثارت على مصطلح الثورة ذاته فلم تعد تنتزع السلطة من أحد ( بحسب آرندت رغم ان الثورة الامريكية تعتبر استعمارية وقائمة على إنكار صاحب الأرض و اضطهاد المختلف في العرق و اللون ) كما دعمتها إمكانيات الرخاء والسعي وراء السعادة على عكس الحالة الإجتماعية المزرية التي انتفض بها الثائرون الفرنسيون ( الحرية ثمرة الضرورة ) و نتيجة لضغط الظروف الإقتصادية في فرنسا و أوروبا ككل نشأت حركة الهجرة لإيجاد البديل من خلال كيان جديد انفصلت المعنى في الثورة عند الفرنسيون والأمريكيون وبقى الروس مغفلي التاريخ كما تسميهم آرندت .كما أشارت آرندت لدور فلاسفة عصر التنوير الأوربيون الذي نهضت فلسفتهم بالحراك الثوري و لكنها ترفض فكرة كون فلسفتهم هي من أشعل فتيل الثورة ، الثورة الفرنسية ك ( ضرورة تاريخية ) في مواجهة الثورة الأمريكية التي كانت ( تحسين ) تحول ل( حاجة ) .. فهل تتساوى الضروريات والحاجات ؟ العقول المهووسة بالتحرير مقابل العقول الحضارية والتأسيسية و دحرالبؤس مقابل السعي وراء السعادة .. تكوين الحرية كهدف نهائي للثورة هل يتساوى مع تعويض الحرية ؟ الرابح هو من يفهم الثورة ويقرأها قراءة صحيحة بينما يفشل من لا يفقه ذلك الفن . مقتطفات هامة :" إن الحروب والثورات قد حددت اليوم ملامح القرن العشرين "" لم تعد هناك من قضية سوى القضية الأقدم ألا وهي قضية الحرية إزاء الاستبداد " " إن الحروب من الناحية التاريخية هي أقدم الظواهر في الماضي المدّون ، في حين أن الثورات بنوع خاص لم تكن موجودة قبل ظهور العصر الحديث ، لا بل إنها من أحدث الوقائع السياسية الرئيسية " من المهم أن نتذكر أن فكرة الحرية إنما أدخلت في النقاش الجاري بشأن مسألة الحرب بعد أن اتضح إننا قد بلغنا مرحلة من التطور الثقافي ، حتى غدت وسائل التدمير بشكل يستبعد استخدامها العقلاني " " إن الإفصاح بصراحة و بهجة عن القول المأثور ( أعطني الحرية أو أعطني الموت ) بوجه التدمير الشنيع للحرب النووية فهو كلام أجوف لا بل كلام سخيف"" الحقيقة التي مفادها أن العلاقة المتداخلة للحرب و الثورة و التبادل المشترك بينهما ، وقد تزايد باطراد ، كما إن التأكيد في العلاقة قد انتقل تدريجيا من الحرب إلى الثورة " " يجب علينا ملاحظة أن الثورات و الحروب لا يمكن تصورهما خارج نطاق العنف " ـ ـ ـ " العنف نوع من أنواع القواسم المشتركة بينهما " " بسبب الصمت يكون العنف ظاهرة هامشية في الميدان السياسي، ذلك أن الإنسان وبقدر كونه كائنا سياسيا ، مزود بالقدرة على النطق. إن التعريفين المشهورين للإنسان اللذين وضعهما (أرسطو) ، الأول هو أنه كائن سياسي ، و الثاني أنه مزود بالنطق إنما يكمل أحدهما الآخر ، وكلاهما يشير إلى التجربة نفسها في حياة المدينة ـ الإغريقية " " من الحقيقة البديهية أن تقول إن التحرر و الحرية ليسا مثل بعضهما ، و ان التحرر قد يكون شرط الحرية ولكنه لا يقود إليها آليا ، وان فكرة الحرية التي ينطوي عليها التحرر لا يمكن أن تكون إلا سلبية ، لذا فحتى النية بالتحرر لا تتشابه مع الرغبة في الحرية . " " إن مكيافيللي كان أول من تصور نشوء ميدان علماني صرف قوانينه و مبادئه للعمل مستقلة عن تعاليم الكنسية على وجه الخصوص ، وتتجاوز مستوياته الأخلاقية مجمل الشؤون الإنسانية عموما ، لذلك أصر مكيافيللي على أن الذين يريدون دخول السياسة ان يتعلموا أولا ( كيف يكونون غير طيبين ) "" إن كلمة "ثورة " كانت بالأصل مصطلحا فلكيا اكتسب أهميته المتزايدة من خلال كتاب كوبر نيكوس " " لقد كانت الضرورة و الحاجات الملحة للناس هي التي أطلقت العنان للرعب و أدت بالثورة إلى مصيرها المحتوم "" إن الفكرة القائلة بان الفقر ينبغي أن يساعد الناس على كسر أغلال الاضطهاد و ذلك لان الفقراء ليس لديهم ما يخسرونه سوى أصفادهم ، هي فكرة غدت مألوفة من خلال كتابات ماركس ، حتى أننا كدنا ننسى أنها فكرة لم تكن معروفة قبل اندلاع الثورة الفرنسية " " إن كلمة الشعب هي الكلمة المفتاح لفهم الثورة الفرنسية " " يجب إرجاع كل التعاريف إلى الوعي ، إما الفكر فهو سفسطائي يقود كل الخصال إلى المقصلة ـ روسو " " إن الشفقة تلغي المسافة ، أي الحيز الدنيوي بين الناس ، حيث تقع الأمور السياسية و يقع ميدان الشؤون الإنسانية بأسره "" لعل الإشفاق هو تحريف للشفقة ، ولكن بديله هو التضامن ، وانه من خلال الإشفاق يغدو الإنسان منجذبا نحو الناس الضعفاء ولكن من خلال التضامن يقوم الإنسان عمدا وبهدوء بإقامة مجموعة من المصالح مع المضطهدين و المستغلين" " إن الرعب بصفته أداة مؤسسية استخدمت عمدا لتسريع زخم الثورة "" إن الضرورة و العنف كلاهما جعل البؤساء لا يقاومون قوة الأرض "

  • Sean Chick
    2018-10-18 15:01

    Hannah Arendt was a much more perceptive critic of the French Revolution than Burke, although she had the virtue of hindsight. In On Revolution (1963), Arendt made the provocative claim that the American Revolution was actually more ambitious than the French Revolution, although it failed to set the world ablaze. On Revolution is a work of dichotomies. Arendt claimed that the French Revolution was a struggle over scarcity and inequality, while the American Revolution was quest to secure political freedom. The Americans were more civic minded, while the French were obsessed with liberation, which is simply freedom from a tyrant. The French were driven by desperation, for while the French Revolutionaries were sincere men, they had set themselves the impossible task of alleviating the misery of the masses through political means. The Americans, living in a land of plenty and having a tradition of freedom, were trying to create a unique state, making their revolution far more civic. It was these more purely public goals that Arendt preferred to the more material goals of the French Revolution.On the surface, Arendt offered a modern recasting of Burke, for she found the violence of the French Revolution to be inevitable and she confirmed Burke’s fears that the revolution would have a baleful influence upon later generations. Yet, at the heart of it the two were very much in disagreement. Burke’s continuing appeal lies in his reputation as the founding intellectual of conservatism. Arguably the ultimate connecting thread in all conservatism is an abiding faith in the “natural” inequality of the universe. For this reason, Burke was antidemocratic, because such a system rejects the hierarchy of life, as ordained by god and nature. To Burke aristocrats, because of the training and experience they receive, are the proper rulers of men. This is why conservatives, from George Fitzhugh to Russell Kirk, have found Burke beguiling, even as they lived in democratic societies. Conservatism, by simply having a respect for inequality, can survive and even thrive in a democracy, where once conservatives could not stomach the thought. Arendt, by contrast, argued for more peaceful means to achieve revolution and had a far greater affection for democracy. Arendt, while not a radical, was clearly not in favor of Burke’s unequal society where change occurred slowly. If anything, Arendt rightfully feared that Burkean societies actually bred the conditions that led to the French Revolution. Arendt may not share the optimism of Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man (1792), but they both share a belief that government is a construct of man, not an organic system ordained by god and shackled to tradition.Arendt’s work is more in line with that of Tocqueville. Like Tocqueville, Arendt found material goals in revolutions to be odious. In this way she supports Tocqueville’s assertion that if people want freedom not for its own sake, but for material reasons, then freedom will fall to tyranny. If material, self-interested behavior is the sole inspiration for action then people may vote for a government that gives them economic stability at the price of political freedom. Arendt’s contribution was that she saw this material motive as the true basis for the French Revolution, and therefore the reason why it turned towards terror and tyranny. Also, Arendt believed that ward republics in the tradition of Jefferson were a means to maintain civic virtues and a healthy dose of local government. She had perhaps noted Tocqueville’s distaste for centralization, who believed that it made the French Revolution’s turn toward tyranny all the more inevitable. Tocqueville had seen and generally admired the local governments of America, something Arendt wanted to see restarted in her day, when more central authority held sway in America. By contrast Burke ignored the American experience in his work, for while he famously supported the American Revolution, he ignored its course after 1776. As R. R. Palmer pointed out, Burke never bothered to examine the new state constitutions in America, documents that the nascent French Revolutionaries poured over.

  • blakeR
    2018-10-31 20:02

    As difficult as The Human Condition (see my review), and it takes longer to pick up steam. Luckily though, Arendt keeps the momentum building until the end, starting around Chapter 3. Overall, Arendt spends too long discussing abstract philosophical ideas and linguistic origins and not enough time discussing the practical distinctions among revolutions, and what makes them work or fail. When she does this, the book becomes much more interesting, although any enjoyment is still hampered by the almost unbearably long sentences, each filled with as many as five different ideas punctuated by hyphens, colons, commas and parentheses. Some sentences take several re-readings just to wrap your mind around everything she is trying to say. It is obvious the woman is brilliant (I've already used adjectives like "astounding" and "staggering" to describe her intellect in other reviews), but it's equally obvious that she either doesn't give a darn about bringing her ideas to a wider (read: "stupider") audience, or she's just not capable of adopting a more accessible writing style. I'm tempted to cite the former, just because Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil did not suffer from the same shortcoming. As far as content, I can only give a partial rundown since the entire book is so dense. Her discussion of the differences between the American and French Revolutions was illuminating and persuasive. She posits that the success of a revolution depends on 1) it being free of the misery surrounding an impoverished populace and 2) its success in finding a sufficient authority to replace the deposed one. America got lucky, starting from scratch, and the success of their and any revolution was dependent upon a foundation -- in the American case, the foundation of a constitution and new form of government, which is something the French and most subsequent revolutions failed to do. At the same time, The American revolution dwindled and the "revolutionary spirit" eventually died away because the founders did not do enough to protect it when enshrining the Constitution. She says they could have done this by protecting the political rights and freedom of the townships and town meetings. These small groups or "councils," she claims, are vital aspects that spring organically from any revolutionary movement and are the only outlet for true political expression by the common citizen. They therefore must be nurtured in a symbiotic relationship with the state if freedom is to be preserved. The conclusion is particularly impressive, when she actually suggests a return to the ancient Greco-Roman political system in which not everyone votes, only those who are sufficiently interested in the political process. This government would inherently be both self-chosen and self-including. In this way, people not concerned with their public freedom are not forced to participate and can instead focus on their private lives, while people to whom politics does indeed matter will never be excluded from political decisions (as they inevitably are in our current representative system). I honestly don't know enough about political or revolutionary theory to agree or disagree with her authoritatively, and their are obvious obstacles to implementing this plan in our current climate (cough cough -- corporate money). But despite leaving herself open to charges of elitism I can say at least that her arguments are persuasive, even intuitive despite their complexity.The ideas here are essential, but the packaging is unfortunately repellent. I would not recommend starting your exposure to Arendt with this book. Probably better to start with the far easier Eichmann, and then move onto the more important Human Condition. But this one is important nonetheless, especially for anyone interested in political theory or the concept of freedom.Not Bad [email protected]

  • Mamdouh Abdullah
    2018-10-23 17:08

    أمضيت سنوات كثيرة من عمري، بالتحديد: ثلاثين سنة، في دراسة الشر !حنة أرندتحنة أرندت، فيلسوفة أمريكية من أصل ألماني. ولدت عام 1906 وتوفيت 1975. تخصصت في الفلسفة في جامعة مدينة ماربورغ، وخلال الدراسة ارتبطت بعلاقة غرامية مع الفيلسوف الألماني مارتن هيدغر. اضطرت إلى ترك ماربورغ، لأن هايدغر الذي اعتبرته ملكاً خاصا في مملكة التفكير، كان متزوجاً في محيط كاثوليكي محافظ، لتكمل دراستها عند الفيلسوف كارل ياسبرز في جامعة هايدلبرغ، التي قدمت فيها أطروحة الدكتوراه عام 1928. جاءت صدمة وصول النازيين إلى الحكم في ألمانيا عام 1933 لتشكل نقطة تحوّل مركزية في حياة أرندت دفعتها إلى الابتعاد عن الفلسفة بمفهومها النظري البحت والتوجه إلى العمل السياسي بشكل عملي. ولأنها يهودية، كانت الحياة في ألمانيا ضيّقة عليها إبان صعود القوى النازية فهاجرت لفرنسا، وفي عام 1941 انطلقت للولايات المتحدة. بدأت فيها عملها السياسي الحقيقي، حيث عملت صحفية، ومراجعة لغوية ومحاضرة جامعية. لكن المكانة المرموقة، التي تبوأتها أرندت في حقل العلوم السياسية، تعود في المقام الأول إلى كتابها الموسوعي: أسس التوتاليتارية, والذي ترجم جزء منه إلى العربية عن دار الساقي.صدر عن المنظمة العربية للترجمة كتاب في الثورة لحنة أرندت، لمن يريد القراءة عن الثورة بشكل عام, عن ماهيتها وأفكارها ونتائجها, وعن الثورة الفرنسية والأمريكية والفرق بينهما, هذا الكتاب قد يقدم لك ما تحتاج إليه. أحب القراءة عن الثورة الفرنسية, قرأت كتاب لويس عوض الثورة الفرنسية قبل سنتين, وقرأت فترة الثورة في موسوعة قصة الحضارة للمؤرخ ويل ديورانت, ولكن أي من الكتابين لم يستطع أن يسبر غور الثورة الفرنسية بمثل ما استطاعت حنة أرندت. في كتاب في الثورة تحليل ذكي جداً للظاهرة السياسية الحديثة نسبياً، وفيه تنظر أرندت في المبادئ التي تشكل أساس الثورات جميعها، بدءاً من الأمثلة الأولى في أميركا وفرنسا، مروراً بكيفية تطوّر نظرية الثورة وممارستها، وصولاً إلى توقعات التغيير في العلاقة بين الحرب والثورة، وما ينتج من هذا التغيير على صعيد العلاقات الدولية.كل ظهور جديد للناس, كل فكرة جديدة تحدث تأثيراً مدوياً تحتاج إلى كلمة جديدة, سواءً جرى صياغة كلمة جديدة للتعبير عن التجربة الجديدة, أو تم استخدام كلمة قديمة وجرى إعطاؤها معنى جديداً تماماً. كانت الكلمات التي تخطر على البال لوصف الثورة هي العصيان Rebellion أو التمرد Revolt. ومعناهما قد تحدد و معروف منذ العصور الوسطى المتأخرة. ولكن هاتين الكلمتين لم تشيرا أبداً إلى تأسيس حرية جديدة. كانت النظرية في القرون الوسطى تعرف العصيان المشروع, والنهوض ضد السلطة القائمة, وتعرف التحدي والتمرد. ولكن الهدف من كل هذا لم يكن اعترضاً على السلطة أو النظام القائم, بل كان دائماً تبادلاً مع الشخص الذي في السلطة. كتبادل المغتصب بالملك الشرعي أو تبادل المستبد الذي أساء استخدام سلطته بالحاكم القانوني.كلمة ثورة في الأصل كانت مصطلحاً فلكياً اكتسب أهميته المتزايدة من خلال العالم الفلكي نيكولاس كوبرنيكوس في كتابه De revolutionibus orbium coelestium. في الشئون العملية احتفظت كلمة الثورة بمعناها اللاتيني الدقيق, مظهرة بوضوح الحركة الدائرية للنجوم, وبما أن ذلك هو خارج تأثير الإنسان, وبالنتيجة فهو لا يقاوم. الكلمة لا تشير إلى العنف, بل تشير إلى حركة دائرية متكررة. كان أصل الكلمة قد نشأ في علم الفلك واستخدم على سبيل التشبيه في السياسة, فإذا استخدمت الكلمة للتعبير عن شؤون البشر على الأرض, فهي إنما تفيد بأن أشكال الحكومة القليلة المعروفة تدور بين البشر الفاني بتكرار أزلي وبالقوة ذاتها التي لا تقاوم, وتجعل النجوم تسير في الدروب المرسومة لها في السموات. حين نزلت كلمة الثورة من السماء لأول مرة وأدخلت في الاستعمال لتصف ما حدث على الأرض بين بني البشر الفانيين, فقد بدت بوضوح كمجاز أو استعارة, وهي تحمل الفكرة التي تفيد بحركة أزلية متكررة باستمرار لتقلبات المصير الإنساني صعوداً وهبوطاً, والتي شُبهت بالشروق والغروب للشمس والقمر والنجوم منذ الأزل.هذه قراءتين للكتاب من المدونة من زاوية الثورة الفرنسية والثورة الأمريكية http://wp.me/p28q6M-2i http://wp.me/p28q6M-4h

  • Josh
    2018-11-13 15:10

    Brilliant and unexpected -- focuses on French and American revolutions to explore not what revolutions have been historically so much as what they were intended as, or ought to be. Her argument is that revolutions are essentially political events, that are sidelined by the need to address the immediate concerns of the poor through redistribution. The unique success of the American revolution was due, first, to the "natural abundance" of America, which allowed the revolution here to complete its political course. The success of the American revolution was also due to the practical experience of self-government that Americans had accumulated through their unique system of self-governing towns, and of colonial governments created more or less de novo. And this brings us to the other main theme of the book:The ultimate test of a revolution is the construction of "public freedom" or "public happiness", that is the ability of ordinary people to be active participants in self-government. (She has a moving quote from Jefferson at one point where he imagines heaven as an endless series of debates with his old comrades.) Here the American revolution has failed as well. The question is whether the sort of active, self-determined political life that is possible during a revolution can be maintained without constant new revolutions as Jefferson (and Mao, tho Arendt doesn't go there) believed. Her conclusion is that the "lost treasure" of the revolutionary tradition is the conciliar form of government. Local councils have self-organized in every revolutionary setting from France in 1789 o Hungary in 1956, emphatically including Russia 1917 -- taht's after all what the Soviet in Soviet Union referred to. Local councils allow everyone to experience self-government directly, and by delegating power upward can constitute regional and national governments. Councils, she argues, have the same lineage as representative government and are a more genuinely democratic system.It's Arendt, so it's long on persuasion through classical quotes and elegant rhetoric, and short on evidence or step by step argument. But if nothing else, it's refreshingly orthogonal to the vast majority of what's written on revolutionary politics. Highly recommended.

  • Justin Evans
    2018-10-22 19:20

    If you know nothing about Arendt, I imagine this book will be incomprehensible and at the same time seem really radical. Knowing a little bit about her, as I do, rather undermines that. Perhaps if you know a lot about her, you can swing back round to radical? That would be nice. Arendt argues that the American revolution should have been the model for the 20th century revolutions in, e.g., South America and Africa, but instead the revolutionaries took the French revolution as their model. At the same time, she's not interested in pretending that 20th century America has anything to do with Revolutionary America (the best thing about Arendt, by far, is that she just doesn't say what you expect people to say. Defenders of the American Revolution today say that America is more or less a fulfillment of the 'founders'' intentions, but needs to be more like them (either by being more democratic, or by being more libertarian). Arendt says America today is really pretty unpleasant. Refreshing). Why take the U.S. revolution as a model? Because it was not concerned with the 'social question.' The U.S. revolution, on Arendt's understanding, was entirely concerned with *creating* a strong state, which could hold together the various colonies, and provide an enduring space of political action. It was primarily a political, not a social, revolution. The French revolution took place in a very different context: mass impoverishment. Once the revolutionaries had taken power, their attention was naturally diverted to this enormous inequality. They started to see themselves as defenders of The People--not a polity. And once you're on the side of the people, Arendt argues, you naturally accept no limitations on your own power. Hence, the terror. Weird as this is, it gets even weirder when she explains why the U.S. revolution did not ultimately succeed: because poor people immigrated to the U.S. from Europe. Poor people don't care about 'politics,' so the space for discussion the founders set up was allowed to atrophy. In other words, she wants to say that there can be no successful revolution where there are poor people. Why would you want a revolution where there are no poor people? So a self-chosen elite (her term) can talk about things rationally in a space set up for such discussions. What would they talk about? It's unclear. How can Arendt combine great analytical rigor and an understanding of historical context (e.g., the American revolution could call on pre-existing legal and political systems at the state and municipal level, and needed only to replace the 'crown' as the sovereign, whereas the French revolution did not have such a history to draw upon, and felt the need to create everything anew, with terrible consequences) with claims as erroneous as her suggestion that the U.S. formalized and institutionalized the idea of political opposition (there is no 'opposition' in the U.S., as far as I can tell, whereas there is in Westminster-derived systems), and as horrific as "poor immigrants ruined America"? As ever, her fear of structural *explanations* pushes her into political and even moral turpitude. The American revolution was not set up to deal with mass capitalist society, and so its institutions struggle in the present. But those concepts (mass, capitalist, society) aren't allowed into Arednt's analysis. To account for the failure of the American revolution--as interpreted according to Arendt's key concept of 'action'--she has to find an agent on whom to pin the blame. It must be the poor Europeans, because if you admit that there are poor Americans, you would have to explain how poor people came to exist in a country that, according to Arendt, lacked poverty until the 19th century. Don't tell the slaves.

  • Aubrey
    2018-10-25 14:54

    2.5/5The Greeks held that no one can be free except among [their] peers, that therefore neither the tyrant nor the despot nor the master of a household—even though [they were] full liberated and [were] not forced by others—was free.As no [one] shall show me a Commonwealth born straight that ever became crooked, so no [one] shall show me a Commonwealth born crooked that ever became straight. –James HarringtonContrary to appearances, I don't regret reading this. True, it took forever, but that's what happens when you start a densely theoretical book around the same time you begin studying for a standardized evaluation of all of English literature (impossible as it is). Also true is that I didn't get much out of it, proportionate to its word count, but if all I had gotten out of it had been compacted into 20 or 30 pages or so, I would count it as one of the most valuable pamphlets I had ever read. I disagreed with around 60% of what I read, couldn't fully translate 2% (my modicums of French and German helped, but I have no Ancient Greek to my name, and acknowledge that the remaining 38% needs to be wrenched out of its context to serve any purpose, but the important thing is that I'm done and ready to move on.Only where the majority, after the decision has been taken, proceeds to liquidate politically, and in extreme cases physically, the opposing minority, does the technical device of majority decision degenerate into majority rule.If Marx helped in liberating the poor, then it was not by telling them that they were the living embodiments of some historical or other necessity, but by persuading them that poverty itself is a political, not a natural phenomenon, the result of violence and violation rather than of scarcity.The trouble was that the struggle to abolish poverty, under the impact of a continual mass immigration from Europe, fell more and more under the sway of the poor themselves, and hence came under the guidance of the ideals born out of poverty, as distinguished from those principles which had inspired the foundation of freedom.For those who need a map, I found the first quote immensely valuable, the second workable when removed from Arendt's attempt to discredit it, and the third trash. There are many people who need the image of the hierarchy of needs shoved in their faces on a daily basis. In the case of Arendet's much rhapsodized on United States, this regimen should be accompanied by a firm dose of this country's actual history, genocide and enslavement and all. Otherwise, you're going to get mystical nonsense such as the poor must exist, they will be inevitably and permanently corrupted by their poverty, and those who are not poor are in no way enabling the existence of their antithesis through the various means of corruption, greed, and capitalism. I don't know about the 1960's when this book was first published, but today, it's a fact that the world produces more than enough food for all its citizens, there are more houses than homeless people in the US, and that grocery marts and restaurants and elementary school kitchens would rather punish poor people with the destruction of food than feed those who need it with the excess. As such, people starve in the streets while scarcity is nowhere to be found. When considering all the piled on myths I've had to pull myself out from under since grade school, I am doubtful that the implication that this state of potential anti-poverty wasn't possible till recent times is valid. Disabled people received more care in Neolithic societies than they are, on average, considered worthy of today, so progress is only a thing if brainwashing's your style.What [Jefferson] perceived to be a mortal danger to the republic was that the Constitution had given all power to the citizens, without giving them the opportunity of being republicans and of acting as citizens. In other words, the danger was that all power had been given to the people in their private capacity, and that there was no space established for them in their capacity of being citizens…For just as there could not be much substance to neighborly love if one’s neighbor should make a brief apparition once every two years, so there could not be much substance to the admonition to love one’s country more than oneself unless the country was a living presence in the midst of its citizens.When the most valuable concept in a work is derived from a historically racist rapist, you know something's wrong. Nevertheless, I'm not saying you shouldn't read Clotel: or, The President's Daughter if you refer to an idea credited to the book's infamous inspiration. There's nothing new under the sun, so the only solution is to critically engage with that which was spawned from vile sources and attempt to pay reparations for said vileness by seeking a newly humane world order. Jefferson imagined councils made up of a hundred citizens with the entirety of the US' population divided into said hundreds, through which elections would be rendered far less inadequate and politics would be, for the first time, handed to the citizens. It all seems very unrealistic when capitalism is considered, but the fact that classes on government are shunted off till the period after students are accepted into college, voting is set on working weekdays, and work in and of itself does not set aside time for debate, dialectic, and direct involvement with legal concerns can't all be chalked up to an unconscious inevitability of the free market, aka your money or your life. I don't know how it would work, but considering the existence of the Internet, modern technology, the We the People website, and how much money Big Brother already spends stamping out today's "little republics", it would be possible if all the whiny brats still clinging to their capitalism would grow up and start paying it forward till the point that this necessary political work could be done.[Rousseau] took his cue from the common experience that two conflicting interests will bind themselves together when they are confronted by a third that equally opposes them both. Politically speaking, he presupposed the existence and relied upon the unifying power of the common national enemy. Only in the presence of the enemy can such a thing as la nation une et indivisible, the ideal of French and of all other nationalism, come to pass. Hence, national unity can assert itself only in foreign affairs, under circumstances of, at least, potential hostility. This conclusion has been the seldom-admitted stock-in-trade of national politics in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries[.]Fear of revolution has been the hidden leitmotif of postwar American foreign policy in it desperate attempts at stabilization of the status quo, with the result that American power and prestige were used and misused to support obsolete and corrupt political regimes that long since had become objects of hatred and contempt among their own citizens.[I]n politics, obedience and support are the same.The record of the secret police in fostering rather than preventing revolutionary activities is especially striking in France during the Second Empire and in Czarist Russia after 1880. It seems, for example that there was not a single anti-government action under Louis Napoleon which had not been inspired by the police; and the more important terrorist attacks in Russia prior to war and revolution seem all to have been police jobs.The rest of these quotes display how Arendt knew what she was doing when she wasn't busy ignoring pretty much everything that interfered with her solipsistic philosophical discussions (such as the fact that a lot of countries hated the UK and were more than willing to help its errant colonies out, whereas France was a much closer and much scarier radical threat that had to be suppressed posthaste). I'm also a lot more intrigued by the idea of reading all the ancient Greeks and Romans and less ancient French and German sources that she derives her thinking from, especially when considering how the infamous Plato and Aristotle are a mere drop in the pond and are only focused on because they fit the 'Western' agenda of oligarchy masquerading as democracy the best. However, I have to say: I'm just real fucking glad to be done.

  • Micah
    2018-11-01 21:16

    a lot of people told me this book is very bad. turns out, they're correct

  • sidana
    2018-11-02 18:56

    "En radikal devrimci bile devrimin ertesi günü muhafazakar olacak."“Devrimler daima, başlangıç aşamalarında hayret verici bir kolaylıkla başarılı olurlar; çünkü devrimleri başlatanların yaptığı, düpedüz dağılma içindeki bir rejimin iktidarını toplamaktan ibarettir. Devrimler, asla siyasal otoritenin çöküşünün sebepleri değil, aksine sonuçlarıdır.”“Kendini kandırma ve iktidar dürtüsü, profesyonel devrimcileri halkın devrimci organlarına düşman eden nihai unsurlar değildi; devrimci partilerin diğer partilerle paylaştığı şeyler, daha ziyade temel inançlardı. Yönetimin amacının halkın refahı olduğu noktasında ve siyasetin özünün de eylem değil idare olduğu konusunda anlaşmışlardı. Bu bağlamda, sağdan sola bütün partilerin birbirleriyle olan ortak noktaları, devrimci grupların konseylerle bugüne dek kurabilmiş oldukları ortaklıktan daha fazladır."

  • Leticia
    2018-11-08 17:17

    (Li em português - Hannah Arendt - Sobre a Revolução) O livro não é exatamente o que eu esperava (talvez eu esperasse uma abordagem mais "romântica" da revolução...), ele aborda o tema da revolução principalmente a partir da Revolução Francesa e da Revolução Americana, mas achei bem legal. Recomendo muito o último capítulo, que é a parte que achei mais interessante no livro, com uma diferenciação legal sobre o sistema de conselhos e o sistema de partidos e como o cidadão é representado (ou não é) em cada um.

  • Aziz
    2018-10-26 21:18

    رائع حد الدهشة

  • Jonathan Norton
    2018-11-15 14:03

    This is mostly a comparative study of the American and French revolutions, and Arendt tries to discern the reasons why the former succeded and the latter didn't (the Russian revolutions are seen as essentially recapitulating the failures of the French model). The ideas of the Founding Fathers are compared with what they claimed to be their classical inspirations, and divergences pointed out. In view of the recent breakdown of confidence between Congress and the President it is possible that the stability she praised is now breaking down, the end of a process that started with the executive demanding ever-greater freedom of action (and higher budgets) to deal with world affairs in the post-war era.

  • Nuno
    2018-11-01 12:55

    This book is about the American and French Revolutions of the XVIIIth century , always with an eye on the Ancient Greeks and the Roman Republic . The Russian Revolution appears once in a while , but only once in a while . The main characters are : John Adams , Thomas Jefferson , Montesquieu , Rousseau , Robespierre , and fellows . The book is full of quotes and notes , and the quotes of John Adams are the best ones . Adams was the second president of USA . I don't know his writings , but looking at the quotes in this book , they must be remarkable .Do you want to know more ? Read the book . But be prepared , this book is an overdose of intelligence .

  • Ian Rogers
    2018-11-04 21:02

    I really enjoy Arendt's writing - accessible, thorough, and incredibly in-depth. My only complaint about this book is that it focuses specifically on the US and French revolutions to the point of exclusivity, and I think that many of the points that she makes in comparing the two could have been well-served by exploring other revolutions like Russia, China, and Cuba. In this sense it's a bit unnecessarily Cartesian in tone, which saddens me as Arendt is certainly capable of comparing and contrasting the richer subtleties of a number of revolutionary contexts.

  • Paul
    2018-10-20 16:12

    "The momentous role that hypocrisy and the passion for its unmasking came to play in the later stages of the French Revolution, though it may never cease to astound the historian, is a matter of historical record. The revolution, before it proceeded to devour its own children, had unmasked them, and French historiography, in more than a hundred and fifty years, has reproduced and documented all these exposures until no one is left among the chief actors who does not stand accused, or at least suspected, of corruption, duplicity, and mendacity."

  • l.
    2018-10-16 20:05

    The style makes it a bit of a slog tbh. As to the ideas, they're interesting. I've never known much about the American revolution and my knowledge of the French revolution from my obsession with it in highschool has faded but I feel that a lot of the broad strokes that she makes aren't quite right, and that it would be a better book if it the comparisons between French and American revolutions were less abstract.

  • Josh
    2018-10-18 20:11

    It is a must read for all Leftist, and especially Anarchists. I am so happy I read this. I need to read more by her. It gives so much more depth to thoughts I've already thought. Way more depth. It also sheds light on organizations and I found it interesting to apply the ideas to the establishing of authority and community ethics at Apro. It is making me think politically in a new way, and I'm grateful to have read this in South Africa right around election time 15 years post-liberation.

  • John Doe
    2018-11-16 16:16

    Arendt argues that the American revolution is not sufficiently understood, and that contemporary events are all too often styled after the french revolution which was a failure. Arendt believes the American revolution was a success because it established political, rather than social, equality in America.

  • Krysten
    2018-10-26 21:18

    Oh wow I do not have the attention span for this.

  • Seth Reeves
    2018-10-31 17:04

    I'd call this a good comparison of the French and American revolutions as well as analysis of why the latter was a far greater influence in future revolutions than the former. Arendt does have profound things to say about hypocrisy as a political sin and a human psychological necessity and the nature and origin of revolution in the modern sense of the word but I felt she went more off base with her praise of the American political system versus the more multi-party systems of continental European countries. She didn't make much mention of the deep inequalities on which this country was founded, a quick mention of slavery in the first part of the book but no mention of the civil war or civil rights movement that she must have been witness to, and didn't mention countries whose pluralistic governments were neither authoritarian tyrannies or semi-oligarchic two-party systems. I'm fascinated by how Arendt looks at the world and look forward to reading some of her other works. I don't think it's necessary to agree with all of her opinions to be able to glean wisdom from much of what she says in the book. I think it's interesting to apply what she wrote to the Arab Spring where the spontaneous political uprisings quickly gave way to either a new authoritarian rule or sectarian violence with no clear objective from any party. She is very clear in the text that it's extremely rare for people to form a government, as we did in the US, that is designed to strengthen its constituent parts by putting them in opposition to each other with the goal of tempering the short term wants and needs of the general public against the practical reality that you can't make everyone happy all the time. The people forming it don't want to set up their own opposition that will actually be able to oppose them as evidenced by Lenin and the Bolsheviks' taking the name 'Soviet' for their union while excluding any actual communal discussion and influence from affecting their one-party rule. Basically the revolutions of the past make us think everything is possible and that a mass uprising can change the political machinery of a country. However, when the ball gets rolling and all the people from the rallies and protests realize what will really go into this massive overhaul, they either give up completely and rush back to the devil they know or polarization is so strong that different factions kill each other until the most violent and brutal party wins and is authoritarian once again.Maybe people can't have a true revolution if everyone is miserable. The needs can't help but elicit promises that can't be met without violence or the massive loss of liberty.

  • Ben Cullimore
    2018-11-11 21:04

    In On Revolution, one of her finest and most important works, Hannah Arendt focusses with wonderful attention on the American and French revolutions, arguing with great clarity that the former was a success and the latter a failure.In relation to the American Revolution, Arendt claims that its success came from the fact that it was a "political revolution" concerned with creating a strong and stable state, whilst the French Revolution that arose soon after was, in stark contrast, a primarily "social revolution" that strove for liberation from tyranny in a society that was plagued by widespread inequality and impoverishment. The French Revolution, Arendt argues, failed because its leaders had set themselves the impossible task of ridding these problems by political means, resulting in anger, terror, and, ironically, a return to despotism due to their inability to replace the deposed authority with a suitable alternative.The American Revolution, on the other hand, succeeded because it was concerned with securing political freedom rather than a cure for the misery of the impoverished masses. Furthermore, the leaders of the revolution were blessed by the abundance and plentiful nature of eighteenth-century America, and their experience of both freedom and self-rule through townships and local councils, which influenced their thinking.It is on the issue of councils that Arendt's arguments are particularly interesting, as she suggests in the closing chapter of On Revolution that a conciliar form of government is the most democratic system to adopt, arguing that they allow each and every citizen to experience self-government directly in a structure that presents them with the opportunity and environment in which they can best express themselves.

  • Leonardo
    2018-11-03 15:20

    Hannah Arendt celebró sin reservas a la democracia Americana como el propio lugar de invención de la política moderna. La idea central de la Revolución Americana, sostuvo, es el establecimiento de la libertad, o, en verdad, la fundación de un cuerpo político que garantice el espacio donde pueda operar la libertad. Arendt acentuó el establecimiento de esta democracia en la sociedad, es decir, la fijeza de sus cimientos y la estabilidad de su funcionamiento. La revolución tiene éxito, según ella, en la medida que le pone fin a la dinámica de los poderes constituyentes y establece un poder constituido estable. Imperio Pág.125Hannah Arendt proclamó que la Revolución Americana era superior a la Francesa porque era una búsqueda ilimitada de libertad política, mientras que la Francesa era una lucha limitada sobre la escasez y la desigualdad, no sólo celebró un ideal de libertad que los europeos desconocían desde mucho tiempo atrás, sino que también lo reterritorializó en los Estados Unidos. Imperio Pág.282

  • Andrew
    2018-11-06 14:58

    This is an excellent meditation on the meaning, possibilities and consequences of modern revolutions. It is also Arendt further working out her political philosophy, begun in The Human Condition, in a more concrete context.I think she's probably right in her general assessment of the French and American Revolutions. However I found her imperative to maintain a strict division between the private affairs of the household and the political or public realm to be problematic. The boundaries of these realms are not as clear cut as Arendt is prone to making out. And moreover, her idealisation of various council systems as never entering into the word of economic betterment or "private happiness" probably won't stand up to empirical scrutiny. It's difficult to imagine "the people" settling for a form of politics which sees itself as a public performance and stops short of addressing economic issues.There was also a very tendentious reading of Marx's changing attitude to the French commune which rested on an incorrectly dated quote.All in all this was a wonderful book. Probably my favourite of hers. But these issues stop me from giving it five stars.

  • Rianor
    2018-10-30 17:17

    How come this isn't one of the most influential books of 20th century is a mystery to me. It deals with two major political events of modern time and tries to put them in modern perspective. Every political issue of our time can be traced back to those as Arendt diligently describes. For the beginning is thought to be more than half of the whole, as old adage quoted by Aristotle says. This is no small feat and this work should be very important for society movements that awaits us. Style is very thorough, this is a broad subject and she describes it to the fullest. But her ideas are still crystal clear, which distinguishes her from her fellow philosophers. Naturally, she backs her claims with quotations from works and correspondence of major figures of both american and french revolutions, so readers can make better picture of their thoughts and motives.Arendt's major theme, authority and its origins is in full display here and we can see how it was revolutionized in 18th and 19th century. Readers are left to ponder what it means for our society ...

  • Joseph
    2018-10-22 21:08

    Hanna Arendt is one of the more brilliant minds of the last century. Her historical and insightful breakdown of the revolutions of the world is prodigious. Describing the merits and flaws of the Russian, French, and American revolutions, she discusses the sociopolitical nature of the revolutionary process, it's lamentable link to violence, briefly shares her hope of severing revolutionary thought with violent action, and in layman's terms at the end of the book, she describes the fundamental principles and wellsprings of law, authority, and power in our modern governments, and how they can changed for the worse or the better.Even for a student of history, it can sometimes be a slow read as it was based of of her lecture series, but it is filled with incredible gems of insightful thought, and it is worth it to continue full steam ahead.

  • Chris
    2018-11-12 21:02

    I've forgotten all but the basics on the American Revolution and know very little about the French Revolution, so am not well qualified for a critical review of Arendt's theory. I will say that this is a book of many profound ideas that will persist in the way I think about government and philosophy. These include, working with more precise definitions of power, authority and violence as well as considering the distinction between political freedom and civil liberties. Arendt has moments of pith, profound and highly quotable passages. But other passages are quite convoluted, made much worse because the book is not particularly well structured. Sections do not have a stated thesis, and it was often challenging to bridge the meaning of one page into the meaning of the next.

  • Mark Valentine
    2018-10-19 16:12

    Arendt answers the question: Why did the American Revolution succeed while the French Revolution led to the Reign of Terror and the despotism of Napoleon? with the thoroughness and patience of a monument builder. She searches as far back as Plato for rationales, then studies Macchiavelli, Hobbes, Montesquieu, Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Hamilton, Robespierre, Burke, Tocqueville, and Marx for insight.I recommend reading it for anyone who has an interest in reading Madison, Jefferson and Adams. And I recommend it for anyone interested in reading thorough scholarship and insightful writing.

  • Knut
    2018-10-16 15:02

    reading this book as the latest shanghai bookclub assignment. disappointed, because i don't see what point arendt tries to make. sure she has a brilliant intellect, but i miss the message. i happen to be recommended another read, almost at the same time: the mindfulness revolution. perhaps this is also an expression of my personal state of mind, but i feel that the message of this book does make much more sense: man does not improve by violently changing the masses but by peacefully changing himself.