When Is It Right (or Wrong) to Rebel?

Considering Syria Through the Writings of Thomas Hobbes Shows the Promise and Perils of Revolution

When protesters confronted the autocrats of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria early in 2011, many liberally minded people around the world hailed this Arab Spring as a moment of great hope, comparable to the velvet revolutions of 1989 in Eastern Europe. But the picture soon got complicated. Whereas the Tunisian and Egyptian regimes capitulated relatively peacefully, only the Tunisians secured democracy, as the Egyptian revolution was subsequently overturned.

Libya and Syria both descended into civil war. In Libya, the outcome has so far been an unstable political vacuum. In Syria, the …

How Young Armenians Forced Their President to Resign

A Disenchanted Generation Surprised Itself by Bringing Down a Corrupt, Incompetent Government

In February, if you’d asked me whether Armenia would have a democratic revolution this spring, I would have said no. So would have everyone I know. So what explains this …

How the Townshend Brothers Accidentally Sparked the American Revolution

The British Chancellor of the Exchequer and His Soldier Sibling Pushed the Interests of the Empire at the Expense of Loyal Colonialists

Americans normally see our Revolution as the culmination of a long period of gestation during which a free people finally threw off their colonial shackles and became what they were …

How Vain, Stubborn, Thin-Skinned George Washington Grew Up

Through the Trauma of War, and By Learning From His Mistakes, the First President Gained Empathy and Gravitas

At 21 years of age, George Washington was a very different man than the one we know and hold sacred, different from the stately commander, the selfless first president, the …

Mexico’s ’85 Earthquake Didn’t Start a Revolution

And Neither Will the 2017 Tremor—Unless Public Disillusionment Erupts

Can the shaking of earthquakes upend political power?

This question often has been answered by referencing Mexico. Political scientists often link Mexico City’s devastating 8.0 magnitude earthquake on September 19, 1985, …