Nationalism In The 19th Century Europe

542 words | 2 page(s)


Without a doubt, nationalism in the 19th century had a strong impact in many dimensions in Europe. The French Revolution was the first event of its kind that shaped the concept of modernism and led to the understanding of bringing nations together. Not only the ideology shaped by the French Revolution led to a significant process of the rethinking of the national borders, but it also had a strong reflection on the definition of the system of governance, citizen’s rights and led to the marking of the state borders.

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The strongest impact of nationalism was reflected in the political sphere. As an ideology that conveys a nation formation by a group of citizens or people, who share the history, language and various customs, nationalism carried a lot of implications: ‘“Peoples do not judge in the same way as courts of law; they do not hand down sentences, they throw thunderbolts; they do not condemn kings, they drop them back into the void; and this justice is worth just as much as that of the courts.’ claimed Maximilien de Robespierre. The quote vividly describes the visions of the prominent actors of the French Revolution and demonstrates how the concept of nationalism was shaped by the understanding the major aspects. The concept of nationalism was also united in the motto ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’ which later became a symbol of the French Revolution.

Historically, the nationalism was shaping as an ideology in the course of the process of overthrowing monarch and citizens demanding equal rights and treatment to them. As the ideology was gaining a more political form, it also underwent a speedy process of gaining a popularity throughout Europe. Defining the entities to which citizens can prove their loyalty, as well as to remain reassured that the nation state will serve the interests of the citizens. The economic nationalism was in the process of latter development, followed by the political developments and self-realization of communities.

Followed by the wave of the political nationalism, cultural nationalism was also another way for conveying the shift towards the modernist ideas. The national feelings were arising during the time of various crises, related to stress and conflict during the war times. However, in the 19th century the process of nationalization touched the education and public life, too. Especially, poets, writers and scholars were emphasizing that in their works. The development of the new conception was against the common ideas and views of the nationalist developments, as well as against to most cultural traditions.

To sum up, the concept of nationalism was born as a result of modernism and self-determination of nation states. The French Revolution was a major starting point that led to the rapid developments of understanding the concept of nationalism throughout Europe. That is why, the political aspect was a primary source of inspiration. Followed by the political developments, nationalism spread into the cultural dimension and nationalized such spheres as education and various cultural events. 

  • Carlyle, Thomas. 2016. FRENCH Revolution,. [s.l.]: Forgotten books.
  • Christiansen, Bryan, and Joyce Koeman. n.d. Nationalism, Cultural Indoctrination,
    And Economic Prosperity In The Digital Age.
  • Hardman, John. 2016. Robespierre. [Place of publication not identified]: Routledge.
  • Kedourie, Elie. 2008. Nationalism. Oxford [u.a.]: Blackwell.
  • Smith, Anthony D. 2013. Nationalism. Oxford: Wiley.

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