There is a subtle difference between the definition of terrorist and revolutionary. A terrorist acts against a government for malicious purposes and a revolutionary acts against the government for the purpose of instating a new one. Terrorists and revolutionaries are often related so closely because they may use the same methods to achieve their goals. Though they are similar, revolutionary is used in a positive connotation and terrorist is used in a negative.
In a historical significance, terrorists acted against a government in a malicious way and did not overthrow it. In the same sense, revolutionaries established a new government in place of an old one. In the case of the French revolution many people were killed, but a new government was instituted. In this case, the peasants are considered revolutionaries because the majority of the world sees them as justified in their actions. Some isolated few, mainly the aristocracy, may have seen them as terrorists but in this definition it is themajority that decides the connotation.
Typically terrorists act out against a remote government, or one which is not particularly their own. They still disagree with the values or actions that the government possesses, but they are not personally oppressed by the government. In any case the definition of a terrorist is how the majority of people look at the actions of that particular person. Terrorists may not think that they are a terrorists; they might see themselves as heroes,saviors, or at least honorable people. Point of view plays a big role in connotation.
Without a point of view on a subject, an opinion cannot be formed and thus connotation cannot be assigned. Point of view in this case, determines completely which word is to be used, terrorist or revolutionary.
Deciding between terrorist and revolutionary is also dependant on the circumstances that surround the subject. These words are only likely to be used in a description of a …