The Text of Revolutions


Hannah Arendt on a German commemorative stamp from 2006.

“In recent times, when revolution has become one of the most common occurrences in the political life of nearly all countries and continents, the failure to incorporate the American Revolution into the revolutionary tradition has boomeranged upon the foreign policy of the United States, which begins to pay an exorbitant price for world-wide ignorance and for native oblivion.  The point is unpleasantly driven home when even revolutions on the American continent speak and act as though they knew by heart the texts of revolutions in France, in Russia, and in China, but had never heard of such a thing as an American Revolution.”

Arendt, “The Revolutionary Tradition” in On Revolution, 1962.  A little dated, perhaps.