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Wars and Unsuccessful Revolts

"...throughout history, the misfortune at an interval after an unsuccessful revolt has normally taken the form of a military reversal, the death of a sovereign, the end of a dynasty, or a combination of these."

An agitation of a physical nature that Lindsay spends a fair amount of time discussing is that of unsuccessful revolts. These intervals are looked upon from the view of the successful sovereign. Repercussions after the standard interval tend to hurt the party in power that had suppressed the revolt. Consequently, the intervals are described as easy (suppression of the rebellion) to difficult ("victory" for the rebels). "According to my theory, the losers of unsuccessful revolts gain their ends, to some degree at least, after the lapse of one or more of the three intervals."

A well-known example of an unsuccessful revolt is the American Civil War, 1861–65. It is also an example of multiple cycles overlapping and exerting their effects. When viewed as a simple rebellion, the progression goes from easy to difficult.

"Not only does the party which puts down the rebellion suffer misfortune after the lapse of an interval; the losing side usually achieves at least part of its aims." Of all the aims of the South during this time, the most infamous was to keep African-Americans in subjugation. In May of 1896, 35 years after the start of the Civil War, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a decision in the case of Plessy v Ferguson that upheld the constitutionality of state laws requiring racial segregation under the doctrine of "separate but equal."

In September of 1901, 40 years after the beginning of the Civil War, President McKinley was shot and killed. McKinley was the leader of the side that had quelled the revolt. Lindsay wrote that in deciding whether there will be recognizable effects from assassination attempts, we must examine whether the counts agree with intervals from other agitations and gauge the impression an attempted assassination makes on contemporaries.

Finally, 56 years after 1861, Germany announced its policy of unrestricted submarine warfare (January 1917), forcing the United States into World War I. Again, one might think that America, being at a moment of difficulty, would lose the war. Not only was America at a juncture of both difficulty and ease, but Germany found itself at a juncture of difficulty.

"We have seen that two developments can normally be detected at the intervals after an unsuccessful revolt. The rebels, or their successors, gain a portion of what they had struggled for. Sometimes they realize the original aim in a positive fashion; in other cases, the best they can do is, in effect, wreak vengeance on the party that suppressed the revolt. The faction which quelled the disturbance, or its lineal successor, suffers a misfortune in its turn. It may be particularized in a head of state, someone close to him, or an individual to whom he has delegated powers. On other occasions, the disaster is visited on the nation as a unit, and it has most often taken the form of a military defeat at the hands of a foreign power. When misfortune does not come in this obvious way, it is likely to come in that field or endeavor at which the winners of the earlier contest have tried hardest to succeed."

An excellent example of different progressions overlapping can be seen in 18th- and early-19th-century Germany. A period of difficult to easy (from the viewpoint of the German states) began with the defeat of Prussia, by Napoleon, in 1806 at the Battle of Jena. The 57-year interval in 1863 appeared to mark a turn in fortunes and culminated in the establishment of the German empire in 1871, 69 years after the Battle of Jena. The year 1871 marked the start of another count of 64–69 years of positive time. Count the 69-year interval from the establishment of the German empire in 1871 and you come to 1940. Hitler reached his apogee with the defeat of France in June 1940, and his fortunes began to wane when he lost the Battle of Britain that fall. At the same time, a progression of easy to difficult was occurring. Nationalistic revolts had occurred in both Berlin and Vienna in 1848. Both revolts were put down, starting a period of easy to difficult for German authorities. Then, 69 years later was the end of World War I, a period of difficulty that was offset somewhat by the period of ease that was to culminate in 1940.

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