In the year 1815, a man called Napoleon Bonaparte returned from his exile on Elba for one hundred days. During these one hundred days Napoleon Bonaparte led his Grande Armée into their last battle; the Battle of Waterloo.
It was a summer's day. The summer solstice was only three days away but the ground was wet. Napoleon decided to delay his attack until noon to allow the ground to dry. This proved to be a fatal decision as Wellington's army was able to withstand his attacks until, in the evening the Prussians arrived and broke through Napoleon's right flank.
Legend has it that when the English General Colville called on the last of Bonaparte's Old Guard to surrender, their excessive devotion to Napoleon and their exaggerated patriotism showed in their reply: Merde! (Go to hell!)
Napoleon Bonaparte was the first Emperor of France. He had played a key part in the French Revolution (1787-1799).
In 1799 Napoleon managed to seize political power in a coup d'état. In 1802 it was decided that the people should vote whether Napoleon should be in power for life. An overwhelming vote granted him this as well as the right to designate a successor. Three years later he declared himself Emperor Napoleon I of France.
This was 15 years after The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen proclaiming Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, 12 years after the abolishment of the French monarchy and 11 years after King Louis XVI, the last king of France, was guillotined on charges of counterrevolution.
Ten years after Napoleon declared himself Emperor he was forced to abdicate due to a series of military defeats and go into exile on Elba from which he returned for his final battle in 1815.
All historical changes finally boil down to the replacement of one ruling class by another.
All talk about democracy, liberty, equality, fraternity, all revolutionary movements, all visions of Utopia, or the classless society, or 'the Kingdom of Heaven on earth', are humbug (not necessarily conscious humbug) covering the ambitions of some new class which is elbowing its way to power.
The English Puritans, the Jacobins, the Bolsheviks, were in each case simply power seekers using the hopes of the masses in order to win a privileged position for themselves.
Power can sometimes be won or maintained without violence,
but never without fraud, because it is necessary to make use of the masses,
and the masses would not co-operate if they knew that they were simply serving the purpose of a minority.
In each great revolutionary struggle the masses are led on by vague dreams of human brotherhood, and then,
when the new ruling class is well established in power, they are thrust back into servitude.
George Orwell in his essay 'Second Thoughts on James Burnham', 1946.