Theoretic and Methodological Debates from the 20th Century
November 11, 2011
“The preconditions for revolutionary victory are forged in the historic school of harsh conflicts and cruel defeats” - Leon Trotsky
The conflict between opposing economic and political systems was clearly one of the defining aspects of the second half of the 20th Century. The establishment of the Soviet Union as the standard bearer of communism was largely a reaction to the lack of modernization, in a political sense “democratization”, that had taken place in that country leading up to overthrow of the Romanoff Monarchy. While the October Revolution of 1917 is usually seen as the key event in the chain of events which led to the profound social change that occurred, its precursor in 1905 offers an interesting look into both what was happening at that time, and why it happened. This paper uses the basic thesis and structuralist framework presented by Acemoglu and Robinson in their book “The Economic Roots of Democracy and Dictatorship” to examine the events leading to (and the repercussions of) the Russian Revolution of 1905. It considers the general context of the socio-political situation in Russia leading up to the revolution, the changes in that country’s political system that were a result of the revolution, the events that took place following the end of the movement, and how all of this coincides with Acemoglu and Robinson’s structuralist theory on political and economic development. I argue that the Russian Revolution of 1905 closely follows the path predicted by Acemoglu and Robinson’s model, and was the historic precursor that effectively planted the seeds for the much more tumultuous and decisive Bolshevik revolution which followed it twelve years later. Additional factors which are considered include the weaknesses of the structuralist approach for analyzing this topic,
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