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HISTORICAL EXAMPLES OF NONVIOLENT STRUGGLE
494 B.C. The plebeians of Rome withdrew from the city and
refused to work for days in order to correct grievances they
had against the Roman consuls.
1765-1775 A.D. The American colonists mounted three major
nonviolent resistance campaigns against British rule (against
the Stamp Acts of 1765, the Townshend Acts of 1767, and the Coercive
Acts of 1774) resulting in de facto independence for nine colonies
1850-1867 Hungarian nationalists, led by Francis Deak,
engaged in nonviolent resistance to Austrian rule, eventually
regaining self-governance for Hungary as part of an Austro-Hungarian
1905-1906 In Russia, peasants, workers, students, and the
intelligentsia engaged in major strikes and other forms of nonviolent
action, forcing the Czar to accept the creation of an elected
1917 The February 1917 Russian Revolution, despite some
limited violence, was also predominantly nonviolent and led to
the collapse of the czarist system.
1913-1919 Demonstrations for woman's suffrage in the United
States led to the passage and ratification of the Constitutional
amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote.
1920 An attempted coup d'etat, led by Wolfgang Kapp against
the Weimar Republic of Germany failed when the population went
on a general strike, refusing to give its consent and cooperation
to the new government.
1923 Despite severe repression, Germans resisted the French
and Belgian occupation of the Ruhr, making the occupation so costly
politically and economically that the French and Belgian forces
1920s-1947 The Indian independence movement led by Mohandas
Gandhi is one of the best known examples of nonviolent struggle.
1940-1945 There are many examples of nonviolent resistance
to Nazi occupation during World War II, especially in Norway,
Denmark, and the Netherlands.
1944 Two Central American dictators, Maximiliano Hernandez
Martinez (el Salvador) and Jorge Ubico (Guatemala), were ousted
as a result of nonviolent civilian insurrections.
1953 A wave of strikes in Soviet prison labor camps led
to some limited improvements in living conditions of political
1955-1968 Using a variety of nonviolent methods, including
bus boycotts, economic boycotts, massive demonstrations, marches,
sit-ins, and freedom rides, the U.S. civil rights movement won
passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights
Act of 1965.
1968-69 Nonviolent resistance to the Soviet invasion of
Czechoslovakia enabled the Dubcek regime to stay in power for
eight months, far longer than would have been possible with military
1986 The Philippines "people power" movement
brought down the oppressive Marcos dictatorship.
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