While I am the one who asked this question, and it has generated a number of answers, I think it should be closed and edited because it is not a quality question.

Has a book ever caused the ousting of a dictator?

It suffers from being a list question. Quite simply, there isn't a definitive answer.

Any ideas on how to improve this question? Because I still like the idea and believe an answer will be of use here, but I don't think it can stay in its current state.

  • 2
    If it was a list question we probably would have closed it long ago, I early on proposed wiki type questions and I was told no. This is a community site, if the votes go down it will be closed, although we've had closed questions generate lots of good content. Personally I don't find it that bad, although you could edit it but considering the content there I'd let it go for now.
    – MichaelF
    Commented Mar 29, 2012 at 20:32
  • It should probably stay based on the responses currently there, I agree, but I think I just wanted to see whether anyone else was thinking the same thing (and whether I should adjust accordingly in the future). Thanks!
    – stevvve
    Commented Mar 29, 2012 at 20:56

1 Answer 1


Based on my answer to said question I obviously disagree with you when you say there is no definitive answer. The first problem with the question is on the emphasis placed on the tool rather than the actors and how they utilized the tool. Also, as it should be obvious from the variety of answers, virtually every revolution and rebellion had a philosophical justification outlined in a document like Tom Paine's Common Sense or Voltaire's Declaration of the Rights of Man, and educational works like those mentioned in Sardathrion's answer and mgb's answer.

I think a better formulation of the question is not "what books have resulted in the overthrow of a dictator", but "how are books and pamphlets used to justify revolution". The latter is a question that isn't asking for a list of answers, but rather a specific answer (which can be justified) that impacts all the instances where books and pamphlets have been used effectively to that end.

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    I like 'How are books and pamphlets user to justify revolution?' 100x better! But being that "...virtually every revolution and rebellion had a philosophical justification outlined in a document...," to me that screams multiple answers unless one answer contains all (or a large sample of) possible examples.
    – stevvve
    Commented Mar 29, 2012 at 20:14
  • In the context of the question it doesn't really matter how philosophies differed. The justifications may be worlds a part, but revolutionary tactics involving the dissemination of said justifications are not. The bigger issue would be the technological level of printing at the time, for example it was the lack of the printing press that was sophisticated enough to allow cheap printing that stalled mass worker ideologies such as socialism and anarchism. Commented Mar 29, 2012 at 20:33

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