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Rebellion vs Revolution vs Uprising vs Revolt vs Insurrection vs Mutiny vs Putsch vs Coup

Rebellion, revolutionuprisingrevoltinsurrectionmutinyputschcoup can all denote a war or an armed outbreak against a government or against powers in authority.

Rebellion implies open, organized, and formidable armed resistance to constituted authority or to the government in power; the term is usually applied after the event to an instance of such resistance as has failed to overthrow the powers that be.

Revolution applies to a rebellion that has been successful to the extent that the old government is overthrown and a new one substituted.

The term, however, does not invariably imply a war or a warlike outbreak. The words are often applied to the same event according to the point of view of the user or sometimes according to the time in which it is used; thus, the American Civil War of 1861-1865 was called the “War of the Rebellion” by Northerners, not only during its progress but for a long time after; a revolution is often called a rebellion by the overthrown government or its supporters until bitterness has faded.

Uprising is a somewhat general term applicable to an act of violence that indicates a popular desire to defy or overthrow the government; it is often used in reference to a small and ineffective movement that flares up suddenly and violently among an insurgent class or section of the people but it is applicable also to the first signs of a general or widespread rebellion.

Revolt and insurrection apply to an armed uprising which does not attain the extent of a rebellion, either because it is quickly put down or is immediately effective.

Revolt, however, carries a stronger suggestion of a refusal to accept conditions or continue in allegiance than does insurrection, which often suggests such a seditious act as an attempt to seize the governing power or to gain control for one’s party.

Mutiny applies chiefly to an insurrection against military or especially maritime or naval authority.

Putsch may apply to a small popular uprising or demonstration, or a planned attempt to seize power.

Coup, in full coup d’etat, applies to a sudden overthrowing of a government by other than normal constitutional means; typically it implies careful planning on the part of a comparatively small opposition that usually has such backing from the military forces as insures the success of its effort, often without the need for bloodshed.