armed rebellion against a constituted authority when those taking part in the rebellion are not recognized as belligerents

An Insurrection is a violent uprising of part or all of a national population against the government.


  • INSURRECTION, n. An unsuccessful revolution. Disaffection's failure to substitute misrule for bad government.
    • Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Dictionary (1906); republished as The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
  • An insurrection is a general uprising against the power structure. It is usually a sustained rebellion over the course of days, weeks, months or even years. It is a type of class war that involves a whole population in an act of armed or semi-armed resistance. Sometimes mistakenly called a rebellion, its character is far more combative and revolutionary. Rebellions are almost totally spontaneous, short-term affairs. An insurrection is also not the revolution, since revolution is a social process, rather than a single event, but it can be an important part of the revolution, maybe its final phase. An insurrection is a planned violent protest campaign which takes the spontaneous revolt of the masses to a higher level. Revolutionaries intervene to push rebellions to insurrectionary stage, and the insurrection an to a social revolution. It is not small, isolated pockets of urban guerillas taking actions, unless those guerillas are part of a larger revolt.
  • We must calm the mind of the common man, and tell him to abstain from the words and even the passions which lead to insurrection. ... Insurrection ... never brings about the desired improvement. For insurrection lacks discernment; it generally harms the innocent more than the guilty. Hence, no insurrection is ever right, no matter how right the cause it seeks to promote.
    • Martin Luther, A Sincere Admonition to All Christians to Guard Against Insurrection and Rebellion (1522), in Luther's Works, vol. 45 (1962), pp. 62-63
  • There is no need for you to develop an armed insurrection. Christ himself has already begun an insurrection with his mouth. ... An armed insurrection ... would hinder and bring into disrepute this spiritual insurrection.
    • Martin Luther, A Sincere Admonition to All Christians to Guard Against Insurrection and Rebellion (1522), in Luther's Works, vol. 45 (1962), p. 68
  • He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian Savages, whose known form of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.

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