Coup d'etat

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Fri Apr 19 10:24:08 MDT 2002

 Coup d'etat
Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2002 16:08:15 -0700
From: "Alternative" <alternative at>

Dictionary definition: "Coup d'etat: a sudden stroke of state policy
involving deliberate violation of constitutional forms by a group of
persons in authority."

It could be violent or not. Not necessarily implies the physical or
juridical elimination of the existing executive power or even the
government as a whole(the example of Uruguay in the 1970s comes to mind)
Could have mass support or not. Usually replaces or fundamentally
changes the existent political regime, since political regimes are based
on mechanisms (constitutional or otherwise recognized as "normal" ones)
that need to be violated by those organizing the coup.

The assassination of a President does not constitute a coup, unless is
part of a successful plot producing a "sudden stroke of state policy." A
coup d'etat are not always reactionary, but they are always bonapartist.

The replacement of an state policy for others maybe reactionary, but not
necessarily constitute a coup d'etat.


CB: Here's a different dictionary definition that includes use of force. Using it would change your analysis above. 

coup d'état 
- n. (kü-dA-'tä)-a sudden and decisive exercise of force in politics; especially the overthrow of a government by a small group of persons in positions of authority.
[French - literally, a "blow to the state

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