Rebellion is a refusal of obedience.It may therefore be seen as encompassing a range of behaviors from civil disobedience and mass nonviolent resistance, to violent and organized attempts to destroy an established authority such as the government. Those who participate in rebellions are known as "rebels".
- Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.
- Inscription at John Bradshaw’s final burial place near Martha Bay, Jamaica.
- When the sword of rebellion is drawn, the sheath should be thrown away.
- John Singleton Copley, letter on the subject of the American Revolution (Aug. 6, 1775)
- I hold it that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.... It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.
- The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, & what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves. Yet where does this anarchy exist? Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusetts? And can history produce an instance of a rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it's motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, & always, well informed. The past which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive; if they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13 states independent 11 years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century & a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century & half without a rebellion? & What country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is its natural manure.
- Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to William S. Smith (13 November 1787)
- The questioning spirit is the rebellious spirit. A rebellion is always either a cloak to hide a prince, or the swaddling wrapper of a new rule.
- Honoré de Balzac, About Catherine of Medici, first published in book form as Catherine de Medici expliquée (1843)
- Only the spirit of rebellion craves for happiness in this life. What right have we human beings to happiness?
- Henrik Ibsen, Ghosts (1881)
- Disobedience, in the eyes of any one who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.
- Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism, Fortnightly Review (London, Feb. 1891, repr. 1895)
- Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being.
- Analysis of rebellion leads at least to the suspicion that, contrary to the postulates of contemporary thought, a human nature does exist, as the Greeks believed. Why rebel if there is nothing permanent in oneself worth preserving? ... Rebellion, though apparently negative, since it creates nothing, is profoundly positive in that it reveals the part of man which must always be defended.
- Does the end justify the means? That is possible. But what will justify the end? To that question, which historical thought leaves pending, rebellion replies: the means.
- With rebellion, awareness is born.
- Albert Camus, as quoted in The Estranged God : Modern Man's Search for Belief (1966) by Anthony T. Padovano, p. 109
- Caprice, independence and rebellion, which are opposed to the social order, are essential to the good health of an ethnic group. We shall measure the good health of this group by the number of its delinquents. Nothing is more immobilizing than the spirit of deference.
- Jean Dubuffet, Asphyxiating Culture (1968)
- No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.
- Barbara Ehrenreich, “Family Values,” The Worst Years of Our Lives (1991)