[[quoteright:350:[[ComicBook/ChickTracts http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/FullCircleRevolution_5506.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[BookEnds The first and last panels]] [[ChickTracts from]] "[[http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0053/0053_01.asp Fat Cats]]"... in which JackChick pretty effectively says it all.]]

->''"Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."''
-->-- ''Literature/AnimalFarm''

They call it a ''revolution'' for a reason.

This trope refers to when a revolution loses revolutionary zeal and just repeats the pre-revolution business as usual, via [[ObstructiveBureaucrat bureaucratic inertia]]. Names and rhetoric change, [[StatusQuoIsGod the injustices stay the same]].

This generally happens, and for just the same reason that the phrase "The Revolution has been betrayed!" is such a cliché: egalitarian rhetoric is well and good, especially among those outside the establishment, but once an erstwhile egalitarian gets a taste of real power and discovers how sweet it is, he tends to get very willing very fast to remove, "by any means necessary", whatever obstacles stand between him and that power. This occurring not in a vacuum, but in competition with other revolutionaries who are making the same discovery at about the same time, the result generally is a multi-cornered dogfight in which the most ruthless bastard is extremely likely to be the last left standing -- which tends to have [[ThePurge unfortunate consequences]] for the masses, from whom said bastard will have risen, and which might just elevate someone else to supplant him lest he [[TheDictator ensure their loyalty]].

Compare ReignOfTerror; that, in fact, can naturally lead to this. Bloodbaths tend to make people lose fervor.

See also MeetTheNewBoss, for when the new villain doesn't even bother pretending to be any better than the one he's just deposed. For when the revolution was intended to place a new tyrant on the throne from the start, see StagedPopulistUprising. RevolvingDoorRevolution is when the new government is deposed by another, which is deposed by another ''ad nauseam''.

This trope has very strong RealLife connotations. Famous mathematician and physician Pierre-Simon de Laplace, who lived through the FrenchRevolution, coined the term ''parabola of Revolution'': it began with the reign of the Bourbons, ascended like a parabola through constitutional monarchy, republic, reign of terror and pinnacled at Napoleon's empire; then it descended again through military defeats, restoration of the Bourbons, the 100 days' empire and Waterloo, and descended back to the reign of the Bourbons, just like a parabolic arc.

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Advertising]]
* Parodied in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcC_iEHiFZs this advert]] for supposedly sophisticated vodka.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Anime]]
* ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'': This is basically Rossiu's character arc after the TimeSkip. While Simon's a popular figurehead, Rossiu is the one that gets things done. When the [[TheCallKnowsWhereYouLive plot restarts]], his HeroicResolve starts to buckle under the weight of TheChainsOfCommanding, and his decisions rapidly come to resemble those previously made by the Spiral King. He keeps [[ShootTheDog making unpopular decisions]] until [[spoiler:he reaches the DespairEventHorizon and [[DrivenToSuicide attempts suicide]].]] Luckily, he's shaken out of it by Simon through a [[GetAHoldOfYourselfMan time-tested technique given to him some years earlier.]]
* ''Anime/CodeGeass'' has an interesting subversion. [[spoiler:By the end of the series, Emperor Lelouch has become an even worse evil overlord than his social Darwinist father. But that was the ''point'', to [[ZeroPercentApprovalRating unify the world through its hatred of him]] and arrange it so he was overthrown at the last minute, thereby giving the good guys the opportunity and public support necessary to rebuild the world's various monarchies and dictatorships as democracies instead.]] Prince Schneizel's plans to overthrow his father, however, would most likely have been a case of this played straight.
* In ''SaintBeast'', Zeus overthrows the tyranny of TheOldGods and subsequently becomes a tyrant in their place leading to another (failed) rebellion by the protagonists.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Board Games]]
* ''Junta'', a satirical look at politics in [[BananaRepublic The Most Serene Republic of Los Bananas]], has a military coup occur approximately once every two turns. Of course, this just leads to one oligarch being shot by the firing squad and replaced by his cousin, and possibly a new Presidente and a reshuffling of cabinet posts among the oligarchs.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''Franchise/{{Tintin}}'':
** Executed subtly in ''Tintin and the Picaros'': during the course of the book, the heroes help Tintin's friend General Alcazar overthrow the despotic General Tapioca from the leadership of [[BananaRepublic San Theodoros]] (mostly because said despot imprisoned Madame Castafiore and sentenced Thomson and Thompson to death). However, the penultimate panel of the book is almost a carbon copy of an earlier one (showing soldiers patrolling a slum filled with starving people), only a sign now reads "Viva Alcazar" instead of "Viva Tapioca" and the police's uniforms are slightly different, hinting that nothing important has changed.\\
\\
Also, Alcazar wants to execute a whole lot of people, starting with Tapioca of course, and is only kept in bay because Tintin is his MoralityPet, showing that Alcazar and Tapioca are as bad as each other. Tapioca actually consoles Alcazar over being stopped -that is, ''the man who just overthrew him and wants to shoot him.'' Similarly, the only reason Tintin became Alcazar's friend in the first place was because he ended up as his lieutenant. A few hours of slippage and he could have ended up as Tapioca's lieutenant just as easily.
** Earlier books such as ''Broken Ear'' would depict Alcazar and Tapioca committing ''multiple'' coups on a ''daily'' basis against each other, running this straight into RevolvingDoorRevolution territory.
* There is an IncredibleHulk story where the Hulk (technically Bruce Banner who controlled his body as Hulk) was taken to a planet where a green race was enslaved by a red race. The Hulk helped the green people overthrow the rulers and before leaving asked them to live peacefully together. Looking through a telescope as he was getting far off he saw the red people enslaved by the green ones and wept.
* [[http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0053/0053_01.asp "Fat Cats"]], the ComicBook/{{Chick Tract|s}} pictured above, in which a communist revolution in a BananaRepublic turns into the same brutal oligarchy it had rebelled against. (It is, of course, leavened with Jack Chick's usual biases, particularly concerning Catholicism.)
* One {{Wolverine}} story concerned Wolverine going to a Central American dictatorship because their state super-soldier program was based on haunted cocaine, [[AndThatsTerrible and this worried him]]. By the end of the story, the dictator is dead and rebels are in power - but they ship the scientists of the super-soldier program off to the US in exchange for the CIA owing them a favor. As Wolverine is barging in to tell them off, the ruling council is discussing ways to be better than the old dictator, and shooting down every one because [[TheWorldIsNotReady the country is too fragile]].
* Inverted in ''ComicBook/KingdomCome'' in a sequence in the compilation where Superman goes to visit his old pal Orion for advice and finds him sitting on his father Darkseid's throne and fretting about how the downtrodden slaves refuse to free themselves. Orion explains that soon after he overthrew his cruel tyrant of a father, he instituted free elections in an effort to get the people of Apokolips to govern themselves democratically. Instead, they promptly elected him to be their new monarch. "Such was my reward."
* ''ComicBook/{{Sillage}}'' has one, where Nävis helps overthrow a government that uses widespread slavery. She comes back years later to find her revolutionary friends doing quite well for themselves, except for the whole rebellious uprising thing (of, you guessed it, freedom-hungry slaves).
* Arsenal from ''ComicBook/RedHoodAndTheOutlaws'' was a victim of one.
* According to [[Comicbook/WrathOfTheFirstLantern Valthoom]], had [[Franchise/GreenLantern Atrocitus]]' homeworld not been destroyed by the Manhunters, he would have led one of these, overthrowing the planet's corrupt leadership only to become such a tyrant that his own son eventually would have assassinated him.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* In ''FanFic/ZeroVsKira'' after [[Manga/DeathNote Kira]] overthrows the [[Anime/CodeGeass Britannian Empire]], Zero holds a press conference telling Kira that he has simply "substitute(d) the tyranny of the Britannian Empire with your own."
* ''Fanfic/{{Kage}}'': The successful Meridian Revolution is taking on shades of this in the methods it's taking to hunt down [[EvilOverlord Phobos']] remaining followers. It's gotten to the point that Raythor and Frost compare one of [[RebelLeader Caleb's]] public addresses to one given by [[TheDragon Cedric]].
* This is the story of [[spoiler:[[SociopathicHero Mercury]] ]]from [[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8100008/1/The-beginnings-of-the-Shadow The beginnings of the Shadow]]. He is introduced as a means to help [[LaResistance La Résistance]] overthrow the evil and corrupt [[TheEmpire Empire]], which is headed by [[BigBad Galbatorix]] who is trying to [[TakeOverTheWorld Take Over The World]](Or Alagaësia at least). Move along three stories and in [[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9998018/1/Phoenix-fire Phoenix-fire]], we have [[spoiler:Mercury]] leading [[TheEmpire The Empire]]/[[TheAlliance The Alliance]]([[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation depending upon your POV]]) and actually trying [[spoiler:and succeeding]] in [[TakeOverTheWorld taking over the world]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* Creator/WoodyAllen's ''{{Bananas}}'' parodies this; upon taking power, the leader of the revolution immediately starts making a series of ridiculous decrees. His underlings get rid of him and [[MightyWhitey make Woody Allen dictator]].
* At the end of ''{{Sleeper}}'', a sort of SpiritualSuccessor to ''Bananas'', the protagonist has deliberately facilitated a communist takeover but fully expects a follow-up revolution.
* ''Film/DuckYouSucker'': A Creator/SergioLeone SpaghettiWestern -- also known as ''Film/AFistfulOfDynamite''. The story focuses on an ex-IRB demolitions expert who goes to help the revolution in Mexico. His accomplice, a bandit named Juan, has a much more cynical outlook on revolutions:
-->'''Juan:''' I know what I am talking about when I am talking about the revolutions. The people who read the books go to the people who can't read the books, the poor people, and say, "We have to have a change." So, the poor people make the change, ah? And then, the people who read the books, they all sit around the big polished tables, and they talk and talk and talk and eat and eat and eat, eh? But what has happened to the poor people? They're dead! That's your revolution. Shhh... So, please, don't tell me about revolutions! And what happens afterwards? The same fucking thing starts all over again!
* ''LandOfTheBlind'' - LaResistance, after taking power, become just as bad or worse, prompting a restoration of the old regime.
* ''Film/LordOfWar'': {{Discussed}} by Yuri Orlov. "I guess they [African militants] can't own up to what they usually are: a federation of worse oppressors than the last bunch of oppressors. Often, the most barbaric atrocities occur when both combatants proclaim themselves freedom-fighters.”
* In the “Look Down” number from [[Film/LesMiserables2012 the 2012 film adaption of ''Les Misérables'']], Gavroche laments that although the people overthrew the oppressive monarchy during the FrenchRevolution, the current government which replaced it is equally as unjust. This is what drives most of the plot of the film’s second half, which is based off the real-life, ill-fated June Rebellion of 1832.
** More than one of the film’s songs allude to this feeling of repeated injustice:
--> “It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again…”
--> “Red, the blood of angry men; black, the dark of ages past; red, a world about to dawn; black, a night that ends at last…"
* In ''Film/MeanGirls'', Janis frames their smearing of Regina as "bringing down a dictator", and sure enough all they do is replace one Queen Bee with another one.
* Lampshaded a few times in ''Film/BloodDiamond'', summed up as "T.I.A". (This is Africa.) Which means the government is going to be bad and corrupt, the rebels are going to be worse, (and corrupt) and the MegaCorp and mercenary companies playing both sides [[XanatosGambit so that they win no matter what happens]] are possibly the worst of all. ([[RunningGag And corrupt]].) Sure enough, when the [[AfricanTerrorists RUF rebels]] take over, they make the previous government look downright good in comparison. AntiHero main character Danny Archer also mentions this happening in his backstory, when he was a child and watched rebels overthrow the government of Rhodesia and turn it into Zimbabwe.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Jokes]]
* One Soviet-era joke describes Leonid Brezhnev being visited by his mother and showing off his vacation dacha, his collection of luxury cars, etc. Noticing that his mother seemed troubled, he asked what was wrong. She replied, "I'm glad that you're doing so well, but I'm worried... what will happen to you if the Communists ever come back?"
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Creator/WilliamButlerYeats' poem "The Great Day": "Hurrah for revolution and more cannon shot!/A beggar upon horseback lashes a beggar on foot./Hurrah for revolution, and cannon come again!/The beggars have changed places, but the lash goes on."
* Subverted in ''[[Literature/TheHungerGames Mockingjay]]''. The President of freedom-fighting District 13 appears to be going the way of the old President, complete with a continuation of the Hunger Games which the old regime used to keep the populace in line, but [[spoiler:Katniss assassinates her before she comes to power.]]
* ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' has two fictional governments of this kind: the Committee of Public Safety (modeled exactly on the historical French dictatorship), which self-destructs spectacularly, and the restored constitutional Republic of Haven, which is mostly getting its act together but is still plagued by internal corruption.
** When the Audobon Ballroom gets an opportunity to get a planet of their own, W.E.B. du Havel (Head of the political wing) quickly realizes that there is a serious risk of this - sooner or later he will end up in a serious disagreement with Jeremy X (Head of the militant wing), at which point Jeremy and/or his supporters will consider using violence to get their point across, a fight which du Havel would pretty much be guaranteed to lose. He then proposes a system in which supreme authority is vested in a third party respected by both wings of the movement, who can hopefully keep the peace between them long enough for them to develop ways to resolve their disputes without tearing themselves apart. So far it's been working, but then again, Torch hasn't been independent for all that long.
* Terry Pratchett's ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':
** As noted in ''Discworld/NightWatch'', revolutions usually end up simply replacing one set of bastards with another set. "That's why they're called 'revolutions' -- they always come round again."
** And previously to that, in ''Interesting Times'', when Rincewind refuses to help the communist rebels against the Agatean Empire, one of the things he points out is that their plans amount to setting up exactly the same government that they're trying to overthrow, just with different names.
* Creator/GeorgeOrwell:
** ''Literature/AnimalFarm'' was all a big allegory for how it went down in Russia. One ominous sign is at the gruesome scene of ThePurge, where the animals consider that this is not what they had hoped to see after the revolution, and spontaneously start to sing the old revolutionary anthem "Beasts of England," only for the official propagandist Squealer to declare "Beasts of England" abolished. By the end of the tale, the pigs have become practically indistinguishable from their former human masters.
** ''Literature/NineteenEightyFour'': Emmanuel Goldstein describes society as being in a state of continual successful but inconsequential uprisings, with the middle class of the time using the masses as pawns in its (often successful) attempt to trade places with the ruling class, and the process repeating every few decades/centuries. The extraordinary repression in Oceania is partly an attempt by the DangerouslyGenreSavvy Party to prevent it from happening to them (largely, of course, they are just doing it ForTheEvulz).
* ''L'Engrenage'' by Jean-Paul Sartre is about a country whose reactionary government is overthrown by a revolution, but before long the new regime realizes that it is unable to fulfill its promises, and goes back to the previous one's methods. Eventually it is itself overthrown by a new revolution, and the cycle starts anew.
* ''Les Justes'' by Albert Camus, about a group of idealistic students who engage in terrorist acts in order to overthrow a despotic regime, features the famous quote "One begins by desiring justice, and one ends up setting up a police."
* ''Mirror in the Mirror'' by Creator/MichaelEnde contains a short story from the point of view of a tyrant who used to be one of these, while being chased through his crumbling palace by the men seeking to overthrow him.
* ''Literature/TheDispossessed'', by UrsulaKLeGuin: Apart from showing how an anarcho-communist society would function, this is pretty much the entire point.
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire''
** The ruling Targaryen dynasty is ousted by an alliance of powerful nobles and replaced by a Baratheon king. The new king doesn't kill people for amusement, but he's otherwise just as bad at ruling the kingdom, leaving it to his advisers and the feudal lords. His [[spoiler: supposed]] son and heir is just as homicidal as the old king.
*** And [[spoiler: just as inbred as the old king as well]].
** Daenarys Targaryen conquers Astapor, frees the slaves and installs a new government. [[spoiler: Almost the moment she leaves, the government is overthrown by former rebel slaves, who support a new autocrat that reinstates slavery on the former ruling class. And after that it gets worse: the city of Yunkai, which had previously surrendered to Daenerys, rises up again and attacks Astapor, and the city begins a downward spiral into bloodshed and disease-ridden chaos, and the slaves Daenerys freed are worse off than when the old masters ruled.]]
* In the ''Literature/XWingSeries'' novel ''Starfighters of Adumar'' (part of the ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse''), Wedge confronts a New Republic diplomat who's willing to do whatever it takes to get an independent planet to join the NR, even adopting the methods of the Empire. Wedge declares this is the same as having the Empire back in power, just with different faces on the credit notes.
* In MichaelFlynn's ''[[Literature/SpiralArm Up Jim River]]'', Zorba discussed how he rescued a wannabe DoomedMoralVictor on the grounds that the revolt would only lead to this.
* In Creator/IsaacAsimov's ''[[Literature/{{Foundation}} Foundation And Empire]]'', a Trader from the Foundation references this trope to explain why he doesn't mind if the Empire wins the war against the Foundation. [[spoiler:Of course, he is a spy sent to find out as much as possible about the Empire, so it makes sense he said anything to gain the confidence of the Imperial general.]]
* {{Mistborn}} has some extremely odd cases of this. After the first book, a constitutional monarchy is instituted, with a high-ranking noble who sympathized with the revolutionaries as king. Then he gets voted out by the assembly and replaced with a different high-ranking noble, then the original king becomes a theocratic emperor thanks to the same person who killed the original theocratic emperor. There's also a large segment of the population that wants to go back to the old system because, while it was extremely oppressive and they could literally be killed at any time for any reason, it was more successful at providing food.
* In [[Literature/BookOfTheNewSun Urth of the New Sun]], Severian refuses to assist in deposing Typhon, considering that killing a bad leader is considerably easier than replacing him with a better one.
* In ''[[Literature/{{Matched}} Crossed]]'', the final book in the ''Matched'' trilogy, various characters note that [[LaResistance the Rising]] and the [[PoliceState Society]] have a lot in common. [[spoiler: It turns out that this is because the Society had infiltrated the Rising so deeply that by the time the rebellion actually occurred, it was simply the Society changing their name and then going about business as usual.]]
* In Frank Herbert's ''Literature/{{Dune}}'', Paul has successfully led the Fremen in overthrowing the old Padishah Emperor, and controls the flow of [[GreenRocks spice]]. In the sequel the Fremen are running rampant across the galaxy in a massive jihad to bring all worlds to Pauls control, Paul had foresaw this before hand and is helpless, as even though he is the most powerful man in the universe, he could not stop the slaughter his own people are doing.
* The Resistance Trilogy by Clive Egleton, set in a [[AlternateHistory Soviet-occupied Britain]]. In the final novel the Soviets are pulling out of Britain due to war with China. This should be a time of victory, but instead the 'moderate' wing of LaResistance forms an alliance with TheQuisling government to track down and eliminate their hardline members (including the protagonist). The novels end on a former Resistance member, now Minister of the Interior, announcing new anti-terrorist measures to counter 'subversion'.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/BattlestarGalacticaReimagined'': The Cylons, after Season 2's "Downloaded".
* ''Series/{{Revolution}}'': In the space of [[Recap/RevolutionS1E19ChildrenOfMen episode 19]] and the [[Recap/RevolutionS1E20TheDarkTower first season finale]], Tom Neville successfully takes Sebastian "Bass" Monroe's place as head of the Monroe Republic. Unfortunately, he proves to be just as bad, if not worse, than Monroe very quickly, because though he's not mentally ill like his predecessor, he has a severe case of Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, and he's already breaking his word too many times too quickly.
* ''Series/SabrinaTheTeenageWitch'': The title character used her magic to turn the AlphaBitch Libby into [[KarmicTransformation the kind of awkward nerd Libby always mocked]], but Libby-the-nerd adapted far better than Sabrina imagined she would and led the school geeks to social power, and they became just as vicious as the cheerleaders and jocks were.
--> '''Libby:''' Let me tell you about power - how to get it, how to keep it.
* ''Series/StargateAtlantis'': The tendency of revolutions to install just as tyrannical governments is mentioned after the Atlantis Expedition helps Radim take over the Genii. His regime is a bit less hostile to the Expedition though.
* ''Series/TheTwilightZone'': In the episode "The Mirror," a revolutionary leader had just overthrown his country's dictator. Not long afterwards, he becomes paranoid, kills his acquaintances left and right, and soon becomes an even more ruthless and stab-happy dictator than the last one.
* ''Series/YoungIndianaJones'': The History of Mexico from about 1860 to 1930, as summed up in the episode "Spring Break Adventure", where Indy gets caught up with the Mexican Revolution:
-->'''Old farmer''': Listen, years ago I rode with [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benito_Juarez Juárez]] against [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximilian_I_of_Mexico Emperor Maximilian]]. I lost many chickens but I thought it was worth it to be free. When [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porfirio_Diaz Porfirio]] became President, I supported him – but he stole my chickens. Then came [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoriano_Huerta Huerta]] and he stole my chickens. Then it was [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venustiano_Carranza Carranza]]’s term, and he stole my chickens too. Now comes [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancho_villa Pancho Villa]] to liberate me and the first thing he does is steal my chickens!... What makes one different from the others? My chickens don’t know. All over the world revolutions come and go. Presidents rise and fall. They all steal your chickens. The only thing to change is the name of the man who takes them.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* This was a theme of the song "[[ProtestSong Won't Get Fooled Again]]" by Music/TheWho; the most famous line is "MeetTheNewBoss, same as the old boss".
** Although nowadays, the most famous line is probably [[Series/CSIMiami "YEEEEAAAAAAAAAH!"]]
* Also a major theme of ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWTFG3J1CP8 A Complete History Of The Soviet Union Through The Eyes Of A Humble Worker, Arranged To The Melody Of Tetris]]'', by PigWithTheFaceOfABoy. No matter what, the blocks continue to fall.
* [[ConceptAlbum The storyline of]] ''Holy Wood: In the Shadow of the Valley of Death'' by Music/MarilynManson is this. An oppressed man orchestrates the revolution all on his own, ends up just as bad as those he overthrew. Some theories suggest he commits suicide upon realizing this as the final track treats us to the sound of a gun being loaded (but no gunshot). Considering it's only one of three interconnecting storyline albums, the plot and chronology of which are heavily debated and have never been officially explained, nobody really knows the consequences in this case.
* As implied by the title, the basic message of "Revolution Roulette" by Music/PoetsOfTheFall is that "easy" solutions after a revolution lead to these.
* ''Strange World'' by Music/GammaRay even calls this "A never ending circle":
--> Another rider crying revolution... yeah.
* Music/DreamTheater's epic song entitled ''Octovarium'' deals with this trope.
--> Stumbling all around
--> Losing my place
--> Only to find I've come full circle
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theatre]]
* In ''{{Pippin}}'', Pippin leads a revolution, overthrows his father, is crowned king, and promises his subjects a reign free of the slavery and bloodshed that distinguished his father's. He resolves to give their petitions the hearing his father denied. To the poor he distributes money, grants land to the peasants, abolishes taxes on the nobles, and dismisses the army. But the Infidel attacks in the East, murdering thousands of Pippin's subjects. Unwilling to supply the Hun with his head on a pike-staff, Pippin decides to rescind his reforms, and starts repressing the people just like his father did. When Fastrada praises Pippin for maintaining the same kind of rule his father did, he considers that maybe sticking a knife in his father's back wasn't such a good idea.
* In ''Theatre/LesMiserables'', the song "Turning" is about this, after the failure of the students' revolution.
--> ''"Nothing changes, nothing ever can / Round and round the roundabout and back where you began"''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}'', a man describes the town [[Series/{{Firefly}} Jaynistown]] run by and named for his brother Jaynis as a "WretchedHive of [[Franchise/StarWars scum and villainy]]" and tasks the player characters with killing Jaynis and his followers. After Jaynis is dead, the man claims that he will rename the town to Taylortown after himself and be its new leader. You are informed by the leader of New Haven, the primary city for the protagonists, that Taylor is known for being even worse than Jaynis and you are then tasked with cleaning up your own mess.
* ''Franchise/StarCraft''
** The only real difference between the Confederacy of Man and the Terran Dominion is that the latter regime doesn't bother pretending to be a democracy. James Raynor neatly summarizes it as follows:
---> "It's funny... it seems like yesterday Arcturus was the idealistic rebel crusader. Now he's the law, and we're the criminals."
** In the novel ''[=StarCraft=]: Ghost: Nova'', it's mentioned that Emperor Arcturus I is even less tolerant of rebels and dissidents than the Confederacy, sending Nova after a group of rebels who were previously on his side (they are, actually, the ones responsible for the murder of Nova's parents).
** And then we get a MeetTheNewBoss in the form of the United Earth Directorate, who are ''worse'' [[AllThereInTheManual according to the manual]]. Worth noting, the folks who formed the Confederacy were partly exiled political dissidents from the United Powers League, which preceded the Directorate.
* The premise of ''[[RedFaction Red Faction: Guerrilla]]'': The story takes place fifty years after the first ''RedFaction'' and revolves around the fact that the Earth Defense Force (EDF), who helped save the day in the original game, have become cruel oppressors as bad as Ultor, leaving your character to join a [[LaResistance resistance movement]] to liberate the planet.
** ''Red Faction II'' has this in a single game. You play as a member of a nano-enhanced squad created by the tyrant Sopot, whom he later tries to kill. You fight on the side of the Red Faction to depose Sopot, which you end up doing by locking him in with a launching missile. Then you come back to the Red Faction HQ to see your commander killing the entire leadership of LaResistance, declaring himself the new chancellor. Before you can say anything, he declares you a traitor for no good reason, forcing you to fight him for the rest of the game. If anything, he's even worse than Sopot.
* ''VideoGame/ArmoredCore: For Answer'':
-->The leader of the reactionary force called ORCA is named [[MeaningfulName Maximilian Thermidore]]. He aims to secure humanity's future by destroying the assault cells which prevent humans from leaving Earth. Willing to [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans sacrifice millions of lives to achieve his goals]] he proves as brutal as the regime he is fighting against. He pilots the NEXT Unsung and holds rank one both within ORCA and within Collard. However, his methods, his targets, and his ideology are all different from the corporations, making him not exactly a perfect example of this trope.
* ''VideoGame/TheNinjaWarriorsAgain'' ends on [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLqm5fZP5pI#t=03m34s this]] depressing note:
-->Bangar was defeated by the three androids. It was a great victory for the opposition force. A few months later Mulk became the new president and created a fresh government. ... The development of the androids progressed, and these powerful weapons of Mulk's new government became far stronger than Bangar's old forces. The people seeing this said "[[HistoryRepeats History repeats itself]]."
* ''[[VideoGame/BaldursGate Baldur's Gate 2]]'' has Mazzy Fentan telling a tale about this kind of revolution to RebelliousPrincess Nalia in an attempt to curb her idealism about revolutions towards the noble class of Amn.
* ''RedDeadRedemption'': About midways through the game, John Marston, the PlayerCharacter, travels to the unruly Northern Mexico, and soon realizes that he must help the ambitious RebelLeader Abraham Reyes and his army with overthrowing the dictatorial local government in order to further his own goals. In the epilogue, [[spoiler:Reyes moves on to attack Mexico City and manages to overthrow the president, after which he becomes a tyrant and doesn't change Mexico for the better in the slightest, which really is not that surprising, considering that he was already an egomaniac obsessed with personal glory when John met him.]]
* This seems to be the central conflict of ''VideoGame/FableIII''. Your brother, the King, rules with an iron fist and taxes his subjects brutally. Then you overthrow him... [[spoiler:and find out the reason he was throttling the country was because an EldritchAbomination is making its way towards Albion, and he needs the treasury fully stacked to make sure the army is well-prepared for its arrival. This gives you the option of either going back to his style of government (the "Evil" option) or instituting reforms for the subjects that will empty the treasury and divert money from the army, resulting in lots of death when Mr. Nasty shows up (the "Good" option). Needless to say, many players TakeAThirdOption and grind professions and/or invest heavily in real estate to fill the treasury themselves.]]
* Two of the endings in the original ''AlterAILA'' follow this pattern. In the Rebellion ending, [[spoiler: White]] becomes President and quickly proves to be just as evil as Kugar ever was. In the Independent ending, [[spoiler: Gold averts the trope during his government, but is assassinated shortly afterwards and replaced by yet another dictator.]] Meanwhile, the Imperialist ending [[spoiler: is more a case of MeetTheNewBoss, as Red pulls a [[TheStarscream Starscream]] and overthrows Lian for the hot seat, but that's no revolution at all]].
* In the Ghaldring ending of ''VideoGame/{{Geneforge}} V'', after killing the Shaper Council the drakons become as bad as the Shapers ever were, oppressing the human and creation rebels who fought the Shapers beside them and forbidding them from learning Shaping. Greta (who had seen this coming in the last act of the fourth game) and the main character lead another rebellion against the ascendant drakons in the epilogue to finally establish some peace and equality.
* {{Dishonored}}: The Loyalists start out as direct servants of TheEmpire, seeking to [[RuleAbidingRebel overthrow the non-royalty Chancellor and put the princess on the throne]]. However, the moment he dies, something snapped in Havelock, prompting him out of formerly suppressed ambition and paranoia to become a dictator like the chancellor.
* One of the endings in ''[[VideoGame/PapersPlease The Republia Times]]'' follows this exactly.
* Bitterly mentioned in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV''. The {{Alternate Timeline}}s of Blasted and Infernal Tokyo gave themselves up to either God's will (Law) or unbridled anarchy (Chaos). In both worlds, a man named Akira is seeking power to change the world into a better place. They start by, respectively, giving up on empty ceremony and embracing the demons as the embodiments of human desire, and regulating the supply of Neurishers to establish the foundations of an ordered society. It's the very true argument [[OmnicidalManiac the White]] use to convince you to MercyKill the universe: since Neutral is merely an interregnum between Law and Chaos, which themselves shall always devolve into the other in the end, what is the point in seeking either continuity or renewal?
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[[folder:Web Comics]]
* The ''WebComic/{{Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal}}'' comic of January 23rd showcases this trope in its Guide to Revolution: "And then you ignore them."
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[[folder:Web Original]]
* The Capricorn galaxy of ''ImperiumNova'' has a reputation for these. Most often the new emperor starts a new era of peace, then some of the other houses get bored and one of the major houses starts conquering planets, either rousing the others from their stupor or allowing them to take over.
* The ArcWords, and a major theme, of ''LookToTheWest'': "At the end of the day, 'revolution' also means 'to go round in circles'."
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Megatron is usually this in ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'', most explicitly in ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime''. He starts out a revolutionary fighting the unjust, corrupt, tyrannical Autobot establishment with a goal of making a better society, and a combination of the issues he raises, the idealists he inspires, and the killing of the unjust rulers at his hands actually succeeds in causing reform for the better in the Autobots... but by then, he's gone mad with power and wants control instead of change, and ends up even worse than the corrupt regime he started out fighting - a regime which is now exactly where he was originally, in the position of "underdogs with the moral high ground".
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Duckman}}'', Duckman accidently overthrows the despotical regime of a Cuba analogue that he won a vacation to by [[ItMakesSenseInContext scalding himself with searing hot coffee]], and after becoming the new El Presidente, proceeds to succumb to power corruption and greed, something that is lampshaded by Cornfed several times before it actually happens. In the end, he is overthrown by a rebellion that intends to recoup the state defecit Duckman racked up by holding his execution on an extravagant pay per view.
* [[ImpliedTrope Implied]] and PlayedForLaughs in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Wakfu}}''. The heroes have successfully deposed a tyrannical governor who ruled a city with an iron fist. At the end of the episode, after the heroes have left, the new ruler claims that the time of despair is over, and that the time of happiness has come. By which she means that the city's guards now wear slightly different uniforms, and that HappinessIsMandatory.
* This became a moot point in ''WesternAnimation/{{Legend of Korra}}'', where the Equalists seek to overthrow and eliminate every bad bender who oppressed and wronged them. Firebenders killed [[spoiler:Hiroshi Sato's]] wife, the bending triads extort non-benders, the White Falls Wolfbats openly cheated during a Probending match, and to top it all off, [[spoiler:Councilman Tarrlok betrayed Republic City's freedom by imposing a curfew on non-benders, and launched a FalseFlagOperation that would lure out all the non-benders out just so he could arrest them with extreme prejudice and label them all as Equalists]]. Once the Equalists, take over, they're just as worse as every bender who wronged them.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' where Roger impersonated a Latin American dictator ended with a line suggesting that the guy who deposed him ("The Dancing Butcher") turned out even worse.
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[[folder:Real Life]]
* TruthInTelevision: Sadly, the modern history of several countries, especially unstable African countries, can be defined as "Same problems, new leadership". ''TheLastKingOfScotland'' is a notable example, with the movie beginning with Obote being replaced by Idi Amin, who of course falls himself in the end, after being even worse. Obote then took power again, and ended up killing more of his own people than Amin did.
* The RealLife English "Revolution" following the execution of [[TheHouseOfStuart Charles I]] had a bit of this going on. Most of the radical actions taken by the top figures such as Oliver Cromwell were a result of religious conviction, not a desire for societal change. Cromwell himself caught plenty of stick for not wishing to execute the King before the Second Civil War changed his mind. Following the execution, various radical schemes offered by true reformers were tried, but eventually, as more and more people were brought back into the government structure, they began to drift back to pre-war forms, even offering the crown to Cromwell. And the circle did indeed became completely full as Cromwell with force dissolved the Rump Parliament, essentially the same kind of act as Charles I had performed and thereby caused the rebellion against him in the first place. In the end, they had returned to a monarchy in all but name, with Cromwell as Lord Protector, assisted by successive toothless legislatures. And after his son Richard succeeded him, this seemed to effectively start another dynasty, so they decided to stick with the old one and restored the Stuarts to the throne.
* The European Revolutions of 1848 were like this. Pretty much every European country had a pro-democratic revolution, but things only really changed for the better in two small nations: Denmark and the Netherlands -- and, most notably, the change in both cases came about without any bloodshed. In the former, the king willingly agreed to give up his supreme privileges after a peaceful demonstration, and the latter didn't ''have'' a revolution, really, so much as a new constitution further circumscribing the power of the already ceremonial monarchy. Democracy didn't really take hold in wider parts of Europe until later in the 19th century, did not become the majority until well into the twentieth century (specifically after UsefulNotes/WorldWarOne and especially UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo), and genuine European federalism (i.e., the European Union) is younger still.
** Averted also in England some sixteen years earlier, though it was a near-miss; a series of riots were threatening to escalate into organised revolt, and the King saw the writing on the wall and leaned on Parliament to offer some sort of compromise. The result was [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reform_Act_1832 The Reform Act of 1832]], sometimes known as the Great Reform Act even though a better description would be the Better-Than-Nothing Reform Act.
** ''Then again'', the events of 1848 were for the most part not a very good test of this trope, for a very simple reason: most of the revolutions were ''suppressed'', and the pre-revolutionary leadership maintained (can't really say the revolutionaries failed to bring change when in power when they never actually got into power!). France was the big exception (it got a Second Republic out of the deal. Unfortunately, the first elected president made himself emperor...).
* The Philippines suffered from this after the U.S. helped them overthrow Spain, which had colonized them a few hundred years before. They then had to endure being a colony of the U.S., along with enduring a bloody rebellion against U.S. occupation that dragged on for 11 years, and was pretty much the Afghanistan war of the early 1900's. In fairness to the Americans, they ruled with a much lighter hand than the Spanish had, and over the course of 20-30 years the US gave the Philippines a large measure of representative government and in 1935 implemented a plan to ease the Philippines into independence over the course of ten years. Then [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII Japan invaded]] and things got much worse.
* This trope even exists in healthy democracies, where the ballot is meant to stand in place of the bullet. Many times, an immensely unpopular government has been swept out by an opposition whose rhetoric plays into a mass popular desire for genuine reform, only for the ''former'' opposition, once empowered, to maintain their predecessors' policies without substantial change.
** Some conspiracy theorists claim that this is the result of secret societies maintaining the façade of free elections while making sure that the status quo is preserved. For example, in the US, it's claimed that the two-party system and the Electoral College are two such mechanisms of control.
* This is what happened with Iran: the US-supported brutal monarchy of the Shah was overthrown by a revolution that brought immense hopes of independence and justice. Then [[GoneHorriblyWrong the Islamists came out on top of the revolution and imposed Sharia law]].
* UsefulNotes/ThatSouthEastAsianCountry's [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8888_Uprising 8888 Uprising]]. The military took control on September 18, and pledged elections, which occurred in 1990. Aung San Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy, won 392 seats, [[BlatantLies which the military junta recognized at once and Burma became a free, prosperous nation]]. Oh wait, no it didn't; the military denied the results, and placed Suu Kyi under house arrest, imposing their own dictatorship on the Burmese people.
* The same thing happened in Mexico after the supposedly liberal Porfirio Díaz took power. The old aristocracy was simply replaced with an even more brutal plutocracy, and while the cities became modern, small towns were squeezed out of existence and their former denizens became de facto serfs living with inescapable debt in haciendas (they were even called peons, though that term existed before Díaz).
** And it was invoked again, after Díaz resigned, and the PRI took power. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institutional_Revolutionary_Party Guess how that turned out]]
* Ancient China actually had a name for this trope: the "Dynastic Cycle." Essentially, it was the idea that an empire would rule until it became disapproved of by the gods, who would show their disapproval by some cosmic event (say, a lunar eclipse or a nasty series of natural disasters and famines). Following this, the people would rise and a new empire would begin, and the whole thing would happen all over again.
** There is a proverb in Chinese, roughly translated as "only a madman celebrates the accession of a new dynasty", implying that nothing will change and it will be oppression as usual.
** It all makes sense if you believe in "intercalendary" dynasties.
** There were also other signs of "losing the Mandate of Heaven" that are suspiciously indicative of bad governing. Starvation (from poor irrigation policy), foreign invasions (from poor diplomatic policy), and even peasant revolts were all grounds for overthrowing the dynasty... if you pull it off. Which, in turn, is a clear sign that ''you'' possess the Mandate of Heaven!
** New dynasties were pretty good about trying to rectify the problems of the former dynasty, rebuilding the charitable granaries, lending support to farmers, and making the land bloom so everyone could have big, happy families and what not. It worked great... for about the 250 years or so it took for the country to become terribly overpopulated, then it was Malthusian crises all over again. Oops.
** UsefulNotes/MaoZedong was aware of this trope, and took steps to try and defy it. Unfortunately, his ideas of how to renew the revolutionary spirit of early RedChina included the Cultural Revolution, which led to catastrophe.
* Nineteenth century France arguably went through this... more than once. The French Revolution establishes a republic that degenerated into a ReignOfTerror before becoming a republican imperial monarchy. After NapoleonBonaparte is finally defeated for good, Louis XVI's brother, [[HeroWithBadPublicity Louis XVIII]], becomes king and brings with him a more constitutional government than what existed before the Revolution. However, he's succeeded by his reactionary brother, Charles X, leading to another (but much less violent) revolution that brings in King Louis-Philippe, whose government is something of a monarchy-republic hybrid. He became more reactionary over time, leading to yet another revolt, which brought in the Second Republic of France, although that soon ended when Napoleon's nephew was elected President and quickly set about making himself Emperor Napoleon III. Already long story short, it wasn't until 1870 that France got a government, the Third Republic (ironically enough, founded by monarchists who defaulted to a republic due to the divisions between the monarchist factions on who would be king), that broke the cycle by simply lasting (it was eventually toppled by the Nazis in WWII).
* There is a legend that Dionysius, the cruel and disliked tyrant of Syracuse, once heard an old woman praying for his health. When he inquired about that, she said "[[GenreSavvy I have outlived three tyrants already, and each was worse than the one before him]]".
* The 2011-2013 Egyptian revolution has spun around a few times, and may be approaching the ultimate example of this, with three examples as of this writing. Starting with a military dominated, corrupt dictatorship led by Hosni Mubarak. Protests erupt in 2011, leading the military to get rid of Mubarak, and to promise to transition to a more democratic government. Over the next couple of years:
** Transition starts to take place, with a parliament elected late 2011 and president elected late 2012, however, at the same time as the election, parliament gets dissolved and the military gives itself most important legal powers.
** The president (Morsi, associated with the Muslim Brotherhood) fires a bunch of military leaders, but also gives himself a large number of powers. Also starts working on a new constitution, which appears to give his own group too much power in an attempt to turn Egypt into a fundamentalist Islamic state.
** In 2013, in one of the purest examples of this trope in action, protests lead to the military overthrowing Morsi, arresting numerous Muslim Brotherhood leaders, violently (with hundreds of deaths) attacking protests, and other repressive measures, essentially bringing back roughly the same system that the country had started with in 2011.
* During one of the (future) Decembrist gatherings, a GenreSavvy guy once asked how they can be sure one of them won't become a dictator after the revolution. The person asked ''really'' hurried to change the subject...
* On a similar note, the Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin commented on this, saying "If you took the most ardent revolutionary, vested him in absolute power, within a year he would be worse than the Tsar."
* And [[UsefulNotes/JosefStalin Stalin]] agreed. He reportedly had this exchange with his mother, Ketevan Geladze:
-->'''Ketevan''': Josef, who are you now?
-->'''Stalin''': Do you remember the Tsar? I'm like the Tsar.
* UsefulNotes/ThomasJefferson believed that, to avert this trope, every nineteen years America needed to repeal every law on the books and hold a new Constitutional convention in order to adapt to the times and avoid becoming ossified.
* UsefulNotes/GeorgeWashington averted this trope when he was offered the opportunity to become king of the fledgling United States, noting that he had not overthrown King George the Third simply so that he could become King George the First. Likewise, he did not run for re-election after serving two terms as President, following the example of Cincinnatus.
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