336411152 the growth of nationalism through the French Revolution

336411152Final Paper –Semester OneHistory of theModern Era and ZionismMr. TommySteiner                In the 19th century a new ideatranspired throughout Europe; the idea of nationalism.

Nationalism, a form ofsocial identity, is a strong belief that the interest of the nation state isthe priority. It is the belief that people who share a common language, culture,and history make up an independent and sovereign nation. Nationalism binds thenation together and gives a voice to those who did not have one before.

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Itflourished as a result of the enlightenment; which brought about ideas offreedom, equality, democracy and political reform. At a time where Europeancountries were made up of multiple nations, nationalism attempted to unifythem; while threatening the very idea of boundaries. People began to identifywith their nation, rather their leader. This paper will analyze the growthof nationalism through the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era which inturn gave rise to new ideas such as socialism and liberalism, both of whichchallenged conservative European order. In addition, this paper will elaborateon the implications of nationalism in the unification of Germany and Italy,along with the fight for the Balkans, and how it consequently led Europe intothe Great War.                                                       Nationalismignited in the French Revolution, sparking self-determination, and acting as adriving force for change within the state. Prior to the revolution, France wasdivided into regions based on religion and the only uniting factor was thebelief that everyone served the king. The proto-nationalist ideas of Enlightenmentwriters, such as Montesquieu, Locke and Voltaire influenced the Revolution.

People began to see themselves as citizensand not subjects. Due to these enlightenment ideas, peoplebegan to have pride in serving their country. In 1791 the Rights of Man waspublished in order to defend the revolution (people can revolt if thegovernment does not protect their natural rights). The country becameincreasingly united and people identified more and more with nationalism.

Nationalismcan also be seen through the military. There was mass inscription of thecitizens, who began to join in an effort to defend and fight for their country.It was the first-time soldiers united under the motto “liberty, equality,fraternity” which reflected the three colors on the French flag. Not only wasthe flag a symbol for the army, but it became a uniting symbol among commonpeople as well. The motto would later be used in the rise of NapoleonBonaparte.                                                                          Although the FrenchRevolution was the birth of nationalism, we see it in action in the NapoleonicWars. In the Napoleonic Wars, which is considered to be a total war, thecitizens were recruited into the war effort. As nationalism emerged incountries such as Germany or France, war became between the countries and notthe monarchs or leaders.

Napoleon Bonaparte promoted nationalism using ideasfrom the French Revolution (liberty, equality, fraternity). He justified theFrench expansion on the idea that France had the right to spread theseenlightenment thoughts. Further causing the massive spread of nationalism.                                                 Afterboth the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars there was a plea for changein Europe. The conservative leaders of Europe – Prussia, Austria, Britain andRussia – did not agree with Napoleons ideals of revolution and felt as thoughhe was a threat to the status quo.

The European states came together in theCongress of Vienna in 1814-1815 in order to come up with a long-term peace planand discuss issues which came about due to the French Revolution and NapoleonicWars. Furthermore, they wanted to restore old boundaries and find a balance ofpower in order to maintain peace. However, some ideas (such as liberalism andsocialism) which came about during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars hadbecome too powerful and widespread to contain.

                                                                                                          Liberalism,a political philosophy- founded by John Locke – is based on liberty andequality, emphasizes and supports ideas such as freedom of speech, press, andreligion; as well as free markets, civil rights, and gender equality.Liberalism emphasizes the individual and at the same time, goes against state religion,hereditary privilege, absolute monarchy, and divine right. Liberalism is thethought that people have their right to life, liberty and property and thegovernment should not interfere. Liberalism was yet another justification ofthe revolutions.                                                                                                                                    Socialism,on the other hand, is a socio-economic system advocating the means ofproduction, distribution and exchange being regulated by the government as awhole.

It is a consequence of the Industrial Revolution which attempted todestroy the old order of class privilege and struggle. Socialism eventuallyturned into Marxism originating from the Communist Manifesto by Germanphilosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Marxism looks into class relationsand conflicts within society using a method of historical materialism –the ideathat history is driving by wealth and the power that wealth creates- to analyzeand critique the development of capitalism and the class struggle. Marxism sawthat the relationship between the owners, who maximize profit and victimize theworkers who suffer under the owner’s rule, would lead to eventual uprising fromthe worker and in turn would create another powerful social identity.

 However,although these ideas had spread through Europe, no idea was as powerful andinfluential in the disruption of the old European order as nationalism was.Nationalisms biggest rise came in the unification of Germany and Italy. Germanywas divided into small states and principalities. There were a few attempts tounify Germany, including the attempt of the King of Prussia in 1871, who usedlanguage as a unifying factor.

However, the real work came with the rise ofleadership of Otto von Bismarck. Bismarck became known as the “Iron chancellor”because of his strong and stable rule, dedicated to nationalism. As Germanygrew in industrial and military power, Bismarck challenged other powers inEurope. One of Bismarck’s successes included annexing the French provinces onAlsace and Lorraine, which had populations of both French and German speakers.Although Bismarck’s goal was to unite Germany, his actions, driven bynationalism, were some of the many reasons for World War One. Likewise, Italywas also divided among papal states, city states, principalities and foreigncountries (Austria-Hungary). With the support of France, Italy united againstthe Austrian-Hungarian Empire in order to uniteits Italian speaking areas.

Unity of Italy was achieved with the capture ofRome in 1870. Consequently, the nationalist movements in Germany and Italy notonly succeeded in achieving sovereignty but they would also lead to greatallies.Although there was relative stability beforeWorld War One, tension quickly rose due to a conflict of power and instabilityin the Balkans. Situated between three major empires – Ottoman, Russian, andAustro-Hungarian- it was a vital location and heavily sought after. As theOttoman Empire, who controlled the Balkans, weakened… Western European powersbecame quickly interested in the region; referred to as the “Eastern Question”.This consequently sprung up nationalist feelings in which minorities living inthe empire began to search for independence and sovereignty. Eventually, Russiatook control of the Balkans.                                                  Inconclusion, nationalism lead to World War One as it influenced the FrenchRevolution, Napoleonic Wars, a change in ideology in Europe, the unification ofGermany and Italy and finally the fight for the Balkans.

Nationalism influencedsocial and political change which in turn caused countries to push for theinterests of their people and for people to fight in the interest of thecountry. Actions committed by these newly unified countries lead in turn, to TheGreat War.