Nomads and Commissars: Mongolia Revisited

By Owen Lattimore | Go to book overview

6
The Real Revolution Begins

IN THE HISTORY of revolutions, it is only after the Revolution has triumphed that the real revolution begins. This proposition is not hard to understand. For Americans, it is classically stated in Charles A. Beard's theory of the American Revolution--that when it began about onethird of the people of the thirteen colonies were in favor of it, about one-third were loyal to the British monarchy, and about one-third undecided, and that it took the British seven years to make enough mistakes to force the undecided third over to the side of the revolutionary third. The typical revolution is in fact not so much won by the winners as lost by the losers. The winners are a coalition, and only in part a coalition of groups which have freely joined with each other to carry out a common purpose; in large part the members of the coalition have been forced to travel in company with each other by a government which they would have liked to reform, not to overthrow, but which by its blundering misuse of its own waning power has left them no choice but rebellion.

-92-

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