There have been about 50 revolutions throughout the world since 1990 according to this list.
I was going to study what happens after a revolution, but I can see that this would need a lifetime of study.
It is obvious that each revolution has its own unique setting, characteristics and results, but at the same time, there is a common pattern, with early conflicts over betrayal of the ideals of the revolution, followed by disorder, followed by imposition of order by a strong man or strong party.
The ongoing Egyptian revolution has its own beauty in its non-violent nature, apart from the defensive measures the pro-democracy protesters had to take in response to the thugs. It also gained from the excellent oath taken by Egyptian Army not to kill their fellow-citizens, and this offers hope that Egypt will avoid this chaos-strong man pattern, thus setting an example for the world to follow.
Right now the Egypt revolution is justifiably in a mood of euphoria and a tremendous sense of unity. The physical , life threatening dangers are, hopefully, over.
The next phase means that they are entering the next level of difficulty in this existential game.
The revolutionaries have to decide what to do now. Before, opinion was united around the simple insistence that Mubarak must Go.
Now opinion will be spread out on a spectrum between those who want an immediate overthrow of the Cabinet, the regime and all its policies, and those who want Egypt to get back to normal life as soon as possible.
An important part of this spread will be the formation of political parties in preparation for early elections. I know only too well, from 30 years of experience in a marginalised political party, how toxic relations between political parties can become. Personality and ego comes to the fore and reason goes out of the window. Competition is everything: if another party says white, you say black.
If the majority, secular part of Egypt's January 25 movement fragments into many disparate parties, the Muslim Brotherhood could end up as the largest single party in the post-revolutionary Parliament. I think it is highly unlikely, for several reasons, that they will create a theocracy like Iran, but their predominance would feed the paranoia of the US pro-Israeli right, which could lead to further military tensions in the region at a time when we need a popular movement of cooperation focussed on the foundations of the real economy, especially water.
Clearly, what happens now is up to the Egyptian people, but from a distance, which is often a good place to see the whole picture, the best political outcome would be for the secular (with or without the Muslim Brotherhood Jan25 revolutionaries to form an umbrella group to contest the next election, focused on the the 7 Demands, and on a radical direct approach to nation's economic and infrastructure problems: food prices, energy and water management.
Within the term of the post-Revolutionary Parliament, differences would coalesce into the natural political formation of political parties, who would contest the following election in the usual way.