Assassination is the killing of a person, usually a government official, for political purposes. When the official is a tyrant, his assassination is a tyrannicide. Murray Rothbard writes that "while the assassination of a tyrant is simply an isolated individual act within an existing political system, mass civil disobedience, being a direct act on the part of large masses of people, is far more revolutionary in launching a transformation of the system itself. It is also more elegant and profound in theoretical terms, flowing immediately as it does from La Boétie's insight about power necessarily resting on popular consent; for then the remedy to power is simply to withdraw that consent." Rothbard here is speaking of isolated instances of assassination, and is not addressing the possibility of an assassination campaign aimed at bringing down an entire government rather than just one leader.
A principle cited as one of the management secrets of ancient Rome is, If the only way you can be removed from your position is assassination, that is how you will be removed. Ben Franklin supported the inclusion of impeachment provisions in the U.S. Constitution in order to provide an alternative to assassination.
- Rothbard, Murray N.. "Ending Tyranny Without Violence". http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard78.html.
- Harihareswara, Sumana (13 October 2012). "Cogito, Ergo Sumana". http://www.harihareswara.net/sumana/2012/10/13/0.