Revolution is an extremely broad term. Like… EXTREMELY. What first comes to mind for me are events like the Boston Tea Party which is arguably one of the great revolts in U.S. history. But what about the earth’s path around the sun, and The Beatles’ top hit ‘Revolution’? Surely, these must also define the word as well, right? And what about American TV series, ‘Revolution’? There’s meaning in that too. So… how are we meant to go about this word? 

Let’s say we keep defining this with a list. So far, we have this:

  • Boston Tea Party
  • Beatles’ song
  • American TV series

Ah yes, and of course “Revolution: the earth’s orbit around the sun” as discussed in a literal manner in Professor Robb’s Unit.

For the fun of it, I’ll add these terms: 

  • Cosmetics company
  • Restaurant in my hometown
  • Industrial revolution!

So. We made our list. Now what? What do all of these share in common?

Well, to be honest, nothing. A cosmetic store doesn’t quite align with the ideals of the Boston Tea Party, and an American TV series doesn’t have anything to do with the industrial boom in the late 1700’s. 

OK. So we tried a list. How about we break it up into its roots?


RE is the latin prefix for “again”

VOL is the latin root for “to wish/will”

TION is the latin suffix for “the action of”

So Revolution literally means… “The action of willing/wishing again.” While I’m sure this could suffice as my definition, I’m still not quite pleased with it. 

While skimming through the pages of Lapham’s Quarterly, I stumbled upon a section regarding Guy Fawkes. Prior to reading said section, I was clueless as to the story behind him, or how it related in any way to the term Revolution. On page 41, I saw a mask that is depicted to be of Guy Fawkes, a man who attempted “The Gunpowder Plot” that if successful, would have completely destroyed the House of Lords. He was caught, tortured, and narrowly escaped execution, though to his demise he fell of a balcony to his death. In my notebook, I drew a photo of this mask.

A different idea of ‘revolution’ came to me when reading page 90. Upon discussing the idea of the body in Prof. Tamura’s Unit, I was taken aback when truly thinking about the idea of a suicide bomber. This is surely the most brutal form of revolution, one that I have a difficult time justifying. This concept of taking your own life for a cause is an extraordinary way to define the importance of it. 

Prof. Wills, as well as the vast majority of people would agree with the statement that the Civil Rights Movement is a grand revolution. Which, of course, it was! A mass gathering of humans fighting for a cause with risk to their lives surely can be defined as a Revolution. 

Therefore, my take is that the POWER of this word, Revolution, speaks for itself. To have a singular word so widespread in our society is surely indicative of the POWER it holds. But, Revolution doesn’t equal power. Power is but a part of Revolution that drives it. Think of it like soup. 

Here’s my recipe.

So there it is. Revolution. It’s quite a dense soup, eh? After the revolution is over, it relies on the stories of others to carry its grandness on. Prof. Quillen discussed this idea of storytelling in Unit 1. After all, a Revolution can’t be considered a Revolution if not for the impact it has on society.