3 THE MEANING OF THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION.
forms, at different periods, but always found expression in the same
ways: in civil wars, robberies, murders, executions, and finished
with the fall of the old power and the accession of a new one.
And when the new power became as oppressive to the people as
that which had been overthrown, it too was upset, and another new
one was put in its place, which by the same unalterable nature of
power, became in due course as harmful as its predecessors. Thus,
for instance, in France there were eleven changes of power within
eighty years : the Bourbons, the Convention, the Directory,
Bonaparte, the Empire, again the Bourbons, a Republic, Louis
Philippe, again a Republic, again a Bonaparte, and again a
Republic. The substitution of new powers for old ones took place
among other nations too, though not so rapidly as in France.
These changes in most cases did not improve the condition of the
people, and therefore those who made these changes could not help
coming to the conclusion that the misery they suffered did not so
much depend on the nature of the persons in power as on the fact
that a few persons exercised power over many. And therefore
the people tried to render the power harmless by limiting it. And
such limitation was introduced in several countries in the form of
elected Chambers of Representatives.
But the men who limited the arbitrariness of the rulers and
found the Assemblies, becoming themselves possessors of
power, naturally succumbed to the depraving influence which
accompanies power, and to which the autocratic rulers had succumbed. These men, becoming sharers in power even though not
singly, perpetrated, jointly or separately, the same kind of evil, and
became as great a burden on the people as the autocratic rulers
had been. Then, to limit the arbitrariness of power still more,
monarchical power was abolished altogether in some countries, and
a Government was established chosen by the whole people.
In this way Republics were instituted in France, America and
Switzerland ; and the Referendum and the Initiative were introduced, giving every member of the community the possibility of
interfering and participating in legislation.