Today I came across this sentence in a political essay by Harold James:

As in France in the 1790s, the revolution always eventually devours its own children.

What does "children" of a revolution mean? Is it simply used to refer to the revolutionaries?

It seems more natural to me that "children" should refer to the effects of an event, not to its causes. For example, we use "the father of modern linguistics", not "the child of modern linguistics", as a title for the founder of modern linguistics.


1 Answer 1


Children of the revolution :

is a concept associated with the generation growing up after revolutionary activity. It refers to the first generation of persons born after a revolution. The children of the revolution are a blank slate on which the values of the revolution are imposed. Because the generation have no shared memory of the prior world they cannot compare the new system with the old and will uncritically accept the new system as the natural order.

The phrase usually refers to political revolutions,but is also applied to revolutions in culture, science, or art.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.