Difference Between Civil War and Revolution

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: October 19, 2022


Difference Between Civil War and Revolution Difference Between Civil War and Revolution

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Both the Civil War and the Revolution have occurred several times over the past decades and centuries. Some of those wars made history and, for a brief moment, altered the course of the nation, religion, and culture. War has an impact on everything in those societies because it is a conflict between two groups of people, whether they are political parties or intelligent groups. The wars set the boundaries for politics, and the population of the world is affected. Many people even lose their lives in the process. Many others are injured and remain handicapped for the rest of their lives.

Some physical damage can be looked after and can be taken care of, but what of the freedom of thought? The war even takes into the mind of the people included in either party. Both people standing for their party of communism is a believer in something firm. Their people lose the freedom of thought and come under the influence of ideology so much so that they could care less to kill or be killed by anyone who doesn't value the same ideology.

Hence, it is essential to learn history and understand how the war has changed the world so far. And how can any further war be prevented from happening? The wars take place due to changes in thoughts between one group of people and another. The group is political, anti-slavery, religious, cultural, or a group of people against a political party.

But that's not all, the socio-economic stability is also affected, which in the modern world holds a good amount of value. The economy of any country in a given period should be strong. If it falls below the level of its people's daily requirements, then the country or state might end up having a civil war or revolution.

Civil War Vs. Revolution

As previously stated, wars can change the world for the better or the worse depending on the perspective of people. Here we are about to see how the Revolution and Civil War have effects on the future and also what could cause them and caused them in the past. And how long they would possibly last and to what extent one or group of people could go just to prove the righteous thought they have in mind.

People so far in terms of psychology give more importance to their thought than others yet they keep dwelling on what other people would think. This is the root cause that starts the war, the human mind which races with society without having a clear mind for himself. The ability to conquer and control everything has been buried in the human mind for as long as we can remember.

Hence, these civil wars and revolutions will continue to happen so long as people exist. With wars, there is also an obvious change in the hold of power in a nation. A new person or group deposes those who rise to positions of power, and those who follow are deposed by another group. This cycle has continued until now and will continue until the human soul dies.

The revolution brings a change in the economic, cultural, and socio-political life of the region. The important revolutions that took place in the past are the Glorious Revolution in 1688, the Russian Revolution in 1917, and the Chinese Revolution – starting from 1927 till 1949. These brought a huge transformation in the culture and philosophy of society. The revolution happens fast, and they change everything in a very short period.

The Civil War, on the other hand, takes place between two organised groups within the same nation or region. One of the best examples of the Civil War is the American Civil War, which lasted four years starting from 1861 to 1865. Just like the Revolution, the Civil War brought a drastic change in the cultural and economic system of the state. These wars restore the balance of power in the country. It depends on whoever wins the conflict. The best example of the Civil war is the American Civil war which lasted four years starting from 1861- 1865. Just like the Revolution, the Civil wars brought a drastic change in the cultural and economic system of the state. These wars restore the balance of power in the country. It depends on whoever wins the conflict.

Difference between Civil War and Revolution in Tabular form

Table: Civil War Vs. Revolution
Civil War
The Civil War is a conflict between two powerful political and economic factions in the country. 
The two equally strong parties fight for the freedom or rights of the people against the government.
Parties involved  
Two equally strong socio groups within a state or nation fight for the position of power.
Two unequal factions battle; one is the government, and the other is a group of people attempting to overthrow the social order or act. 
A civil war has no specific length. It can last for even decades.
The Revolution lasted for a short period. Once the government has taken steps to settle the public demand.
Violence is involved, and even the use of weapons is done. 
Violence is comparatively less or no violence that takes place when everything is settled in a short period.
Due to the involvement of the armed forces, the number of casualties could be limitless or could even be a minimum if the issue isn't farfetched. 
As the violence is less, the casualties are also fewer.
This causes many changes in a country, such as political, economic, and socio-political changes, which improve or deteriorate depending on who wins the war.
There is a change in the status quo or the same government trying to do the needful for the people for whom they started the revolt.
There can be some unbalance in economic interest, cultural values or change in view by two political parties or it could just be a fight for a position of power.
There could be uncertainty in people's rights. A leading political party may have an unfair tax code, rigid class structure or unfair land distribution.

What is a Civil War? 

As you can see, there is no specific definition for the Civil War, just different perspectives or theories for each explanation. The one that explicates most of the Civil War is that the two factions' parties are just as equally strong in power fights for the nation's economy, culture, philosophy, and religion. The reason could be anything from the past or even some minor inconvenience that could sometimes cause a major dispute in the mind, which further leads to the civil war.

The Civil War could last for almost a year or it could even end in a month or so. The two groups, or factions, want to be in power, which leads to them controlling the government and having an organised military. As previously stated, the Civil War may result in the restoration of balanced power in the country, but it may also result in the opposite. Everything could also go south for the nation, mostly depending on who wins the war.

Due to organised military involvement in the Civil War, there are a large number of casualties, and even the resources are drained. In the modern civilised world, every country tries to poach in by showing their support for whom they see fit. In this case, most of the time, the wars are settled down to one agreement on a surface level. Because if all other countries were involved too, it could cause a world war.

The various factor contributing to the Civil Wars are poverty, inequality, grievance, population size, military advantage, bargaining problems, and Governance. Some minor changes in all this could initiate a war between nations.

What is a Revolution? 

The Revolution is a term derived from the Latin word "revolution," meaning "a turnaround. This is the exact definition of revolution in political science: a change in political organisation caused by a variety of factors. The people of a nation turn against the leading democratic government for any number of reasons. They could be political, regional, cultural, or economic.

The above is one definition of the revolution; another is the gradual transformation of the entire region by successive generations of the time. Both types of revolutions have occurred in history and they will keep on appearing even in the future. 

Revolutions are started by ordinary citizens in a country against the government that has been in power for years or decades. They could be violent too, but through history, most revolutions have turned out to be non-violent.

The cause of the formation of a revolution consists of many possibilities, considering one of them is that the government is trying to change the laws, acts, or something that could affect the common citizen or the dictatorship. Most dictatorships cause revolutions because democratic countries have had very few revolutions in the past.

Main Difference between Civil War and Revolution in Points

  • Depending on the subject of the matter, it is derived whether it will last longer or finish shorter. If revolution is the subject, then it is a sudden change that happens quickly and things are settled within a month. But if it is a civil war that is underway, then it could last as long as a decade or even settle down in several months.
  • When two equally strong and intelligent groups are against each other in a nation, it could be termed a civil war. When a common citizen is speaking up or taking several actions against a leading political party or any other political party, it is termed a revolution.
  • In the Civil War, both sides were powerful and equally resourceful. In the case of the Revolution, the general country's citizens are against the government, which quite balances out the equation of power. But even ordinary citizens could bring immediate change.
  • Violence most probably takes place when there is a civil war between nations. These days, even other foreign countries take part to fulfil their agenda or just to support one ideology. When a revolution occurs, there is comparatively little violence. 
  • As there is an inclusion of violent acts in the civil war, there are also large-scale casualties involved. Comparatively, a smaller number of casualties were reported during the revolution.
  • The number of resources that were used during the Civil War is far greater. Due to the engagement of foreign countries, the number of resources being used to kill, feed, revive and everything else is in excess quantity. Fewer resources or no resources are required during the revolution.
  • The causes of the civil wars are slavery, sectional disagreement, failed compromises, ineffective decisions, economic crises, and lots of similar problems. Due to this, the other ethnic groups try to overthrow the existing political leading party. The causes of the revolutionary act are unfair tax codes, restrictions on certain acts, inflation, autocracy, and dictatorship. Such an immense act causes people to revolt against the leading political party.
  • By the end of the Civil War, the results or the effects could be the death of numerous people, the use of infinite resources, the struggle to live with everyday battles, the economy of the nation that keeps riding a roller-coaster, and the reconstruction of damaged infrastructures and buildings. The revolutionary war brought several effects: there could be a change in government structure, independence for citizens, slavery ending, and the economy could be in debt.


Civil war and revolution have many similarities while also having many differences. Both the Civil War and the Revolution were fought to alter the current state of affairs in a given situation. An economic crisis, erratic behaviour by the ruling political party, or unfair restrictions on ordinary citizens in the country could all be factors. And every war has one thing in common: neither side is willing to compromise on non-essential restrictions and molestation. 

However, civil war involves bloodshed and violence, which is upsetting, and revolutions can bring about change without jeopardising human life. This everlasting change will continue to appear in nations and around the world as long as intelligent beings exist. 

Change is an important ingredient for improvising and growing. But history shows us that none of us would be suppressed by a dominating government.


  • The Difference Between Civil War, Revolution, and Rebellion - Fact / Myth (factmyth.com)
  • Civil war - Wikipedia
  • Revolution - Wikipedia



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"Difference Between Civil War and Revolution." Diffzy.com, 2023. Sun. 02 Apr. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-civil-war-and-revolution-1048>.

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