Definitions and Validation in the Study of Revolutions*
Nothing is more difficult than to formulate a general proposition about historical events which is both new and true. Consequently, very few dare to try. Most of those who want to theorise about society steer clear of historical data and remain in the realm of vague tautologies not open to a confrontation with facts, or translate platitudes into scientific-sounding jargon. In contrast to many other writers on the subject of revolutions the author makes no a priori presupposition that they are either desirable or undesirable. All these virtues do not guarantee, unfortunately, that his general propositions are correct because nobody has yet succeeded in putting forth a theory of such a scope which is not open to reservations and modifications, while people can find demonstrable and serious errors even in the works of the greatest thinkers who have ventured into such fields.