Military History - Revolutions and revolts

In the struggle for economic and political control, a subordinate group has often rebelled against the group in power. As shown in historical pictures, this has been particularly true during colonialism. An example was the American Revolution which pitted British subjects against the mother country. Historical pictures of colonists protesting taxes such as the Stamp Act show the escalation of dissent. Armed conflict began at the battles of Lexington and Concord, and culminated in the Declaration of Independence in 1776. After many other Revolutionary War battles, the British surrender at Yorktown ended the uprising. However, the new United States had to defend its sovereignty again in the War of 1812. Some other colonial revolts were India's Sepoy Rebellion, the Boxer Rebellion in China, and the Cuban insurrection against Spain in the 1800s.

The French Revolution, by contrast, was not a colonial revolt but citizens' overthrow of their own government, in this case, an hereditary monarchy that had become extravagant and out of touch. Class warfare was the underlying cause of other European uprisings, as well.

Civil War is another form of revolt, dating at least to the time of the Romans. The English Civil War was a series of conflicts about the form of government--monarchy or parliamentary. Historical pictures of events leading to the US Civil War show a nation culturally and economically divided. The South's secession from the United States, largely over the debate between slavery versus abolition, led to ouster of US forces holding Fort Sumter and formation of a separate Confederate government of seceding staes. Some important Civil War battles were at Shiloh, Antietam, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. Monuments to Civil War soldiers from both sides are found on virtually every Civil War battlefield, as these photographs show.

Other US uprisings seen in historical pictures include Shays's Revolt, the Whiskey Rebellion, and the many Native American uprisings against white encroachment, including King Philip's War, the Pequot War, Pontiac's Rebellion, the Seminole Wars, the Black Hawk War, the Sioux Wars which featured Custer's Last Stand, Chief Joseph's War, the Apache Wars, and many other conflicts and battles between natives and settlers or US Army troops. In Canada the Riel Rebellion had similar themes, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police often played a military role in checking Aboriginal unrest.

Historical pictures show that some revolts and revolutions were successful in changing the government, but many failed. Leaders of uprisings were often imprisoned, exiled, or executed, as pictured in many historical eras. Some clashes, such as violence associated with labor strikes, were forcibly quelled but succeeded in bringing about eventual reforms.


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