Four classic cases fit virtually all definitions of revolutions, such as the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, the Xinhai Chinese Revolution, and the American Revolution.
The term revolution has also been used to denote great changes outside the political sphere. Such revolutions transformed society, culture, philosophy, and technology, and are known as social revolutions.
A revolution is a fundamental change in political power that takes place in a short period of time when the population rises up in revolt against the political power. Revolution in the sense of representing abrupt change in a social order has been in history.
Marxist typology divides revolutions into pre-capitalist, early bourgeois, bourgeois, bourgeois-democratic, early proletarian, and socialist revolutions. Political and socioeconomic revolutions are studied in social sciences, like sociology, political science and history. Ideology and culture are important in shaping revolutionary mobilization and objectives. Revolutions and social movements have much in common.
The Greek philosopher Aristotle (384–322 BC) described two types of political revolution: Complete change from one constitution to another, and modification of an existing constitution.
Political usage of the term 'Revolution' had been well established by 1688 in the description of the replacement of James II with William III. This incident was termed the "Glorious Revolution".