Author: NPR Staff
Author: Stephanie Jeffery L. Watkins
Change in Management
Many governments have grown and fallen since the start of the Agrarian Era, each with their own backgrounds and process. Governments can fall due to internal crisis', external pressures, or simply through social evolution. Governments can be overthrown peacefully through non-violent protests and demonstrations, or violently through revolutionary conflicts and guerrilla tactics. The overthrowing of governments is a way for people to attempt to make their own life better by replacing one existing institution with another, in the hopes that the new system will be better and more beneficial. Revolution can also be a tactic to remove one's enemies through ridding them of their power or status. Revolution and the toppling of governments is a topic which can occur in a number of ways, and cannot be tied to a single reason, nor does it occur in the same way two times. Many people seek to explain revolutions, stating that the social movement of a revolution can spark others in different nations, often citing the French and American revolutions as examples. Usually these "waves" of revolutions can be tied to a concept or ideal which has grabbed hold of its people at the time. The French and American revolutions were both revolutions attempting to create democracies which could replace the current monarchies and grant more rights to the common people. Several other parts of the world have attempted to explain series of revolutions as well.
A region which has experienced large amount of turmoil during the Modern Era is the Middle East and northern Africa. The nations of these regions are relatively young in their current state, as many of them were created during the Cold War, and in the years directly following WWII. The regimes of these young nations started out as either democratic-republics or parliamentary republics, however over time, due to different factors in each nation, many became equivalent to dictatorships who had characteristics similar to those found during the old dynasty stage of the Dynastic Cycle. The causes for these revolutions have been described as similar across the Arab Spring, as it is called,
The Arab Spring is a broad term for different movements in an attempt to explain and categorize the revolutions happening at around the same time in that area. It is, however, not a justification for these revolutions, unlike the Mandate of Heaven and the Dynastic Cycle. This is what makes the Mandate of Heaven so unique, is that it isn't an attempt to just explain the revolutions, but instead a tool and spark for the revolutions. The Arab Spring and Dynastic Cycle differ in several other ways as well. The Arab Spring is an attempt to change the form of government within the nations that the movement is occurring, while the Dynastic Cycle is a cycle which creates a government system that is more or less the same as before, just with different rulers and possibly different philosophies. The Dynastic Cycle is a cycle for this reason, because inevitably a hereditary system will create a poor leader who will cause the populous and nobles to revolt. The Arab Spring, on the other hand, wishes to create a new system which will cause their to be no need for future revolutions. The Arab Spring is also a term which is used for different types of protests and movements, as there have been peaceful and violent revolutions. The Dynastic Cycle, however, is a cycle specifically built around the idea that out of the ashes of a violent civil war, the winner shall have proven their possession of the Mandate of Heaven, and their divine right to rule all of China. The Dynastic Cycle is also centered around religion, as the Mandate of Heaven is a concept based around divine rule, while the Arab Spring is a concept based around freedom and human rights. The differences between these two attempts to explain revolutions shows historians can and will attempt to explain revolutions, as well as the people who live during them, however inevitably revolutions differ from each nation. There is no universal explanation for all revolution, and in order to understand the social complications behind a revolution, the unique situation and facts must be analyzed. This is an important fact for current leaders to realize, as they cannot fix civil unrest and prevent a revolution with a fix-all solution, and that they must attempt to find the background to their specific issues.