Changing the Mandate / Revolution
The term means taking power from a ruler. Ge (革) means to change or remove. Ming (命) first referred to the mandate of Heaven and later came to mean a ruler’s decrees and his mandate to rule. Changing the mandate usually involves replacing a ruler and a change of dynasty, in other words, overthrowing an old regime and establishing a new one. People in ancient China believed that a ruler’s mandate to rule was ordained by Heaven and therefore any change of the mandate should in essence be carried out in response to the will of Heaven. However, change is a basic law of the universe, and the removal of a ruler’s mandate is a specific expression of this law. The legitimacy and success of such change depend on whether those who lead the change do so in response to the will of Heaven and the popular desire of the people. In modern times, the term is used as an expression meaning revolution, denoting major social, political or economic changes.
Heaven and earth change and four seasons take place. King Tang of Shang and King Wu of Zhou changed the mandate, obeying Heaven and complying with the wishes of the people. (The Book of Changes)