political upheavals, and historical transformations) for generations. Faced with Western imperialism, which may have created the most serious challenge ever faced by these societies, mass religion was again called upon as an aid in defining an appropriate response to the sociopolitical and economic crisis this intrusion engendered.
The people of these three societies did not go out and willingly risk their lives in a violent revolution simply because the price of bread had gone up a few percentage points. Rather, they mobilized because their "sense of right and wrong, justice and injustice, legitimacy and illegitimacy -- in short their moral economy -- had been flagrantly violated" 8 by forces that were both superior and alien. Such feelings induced a profound collective indignation that led to political violence and, ultimately, revolution. In this process, these people perceived their present political leadership as both agents and accomplices of alien influence.
Stripped of their identity to an important extent and faced with the possibility of the complete destruction of their way of life, the people of these societies drew upon their powerful and pervasive chiliastic beliefs, shaped and transmuted them into a form that would suit the exigencies of modern circumstances, and began the process of resurrecting, revitalizing, and renewing their societies. In each case this process required a violent revolution to achieve such goals.