Revolution and Public Happiness

Commentary, November 1960.


The purpose of the following reflections is to rehabilitate the word “revolution.” No other word, except perhaps “freedom,” will be more urgently needed in the years to come, and no other word, without exception, has been more gravely compromised by the events of the 20th century. The end of colonialism and imperialism is leading one people after another “to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them.” And although natural law, right reason, and the inalienable rights of man no longer carry the weight of self-evident truth, yet wherever political bands of subordination and servitude are dissolved, in peace or in war, by violence or by mutual agreement, in rebellion against a foreign or a native ruler, a “revolution” has taken place.

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