The Rise of Nationalism in Europe Class 10 History Explanation, Question and Answers?
The Rise of Nationalism in Europe Class 10 History Chapter 1 Notes
CBSE Class 10 History Chapter 1 The Rise of Nationalism in Europe - Detailed explanation of the chapter ‘The Rise of Nationalism in Europe’ along with question answers. Given here is the complete explanation of the lesson, along with all the exercises, Question and Answers given at the back of the lesson.
Class 10 History Chapter 1 - The Rise of Nationalism in Europe
Section 1 Events and Processes
By Puneet Kaur
Today, we all live in a democratic nation and believe in Nationalism. But do we know the meaning of nationalism? From where did this concept come into existence? How it is related to Europe and what was the dream of the Europeans? All this will be answered in this chapter.
To begin with, we should first discuss the painting made by Frederic Sorrieu in 1848. The French artist had prepared four prints visualizing his dream of a world made up of democratic and social Republic. The painting which we are going to discuss is one of the four prints made by Sorrieu.
The painting shows men and women from different ages and social groups marching in a long queue and giving honor to the Statue of Liberty. The painting describes statue of Liberty as a female figure having torch of enlightenment in one hand and charter of man’s right in other hand. The statue is a female figure because liberty was defined as a female figure by various French artists. He has shown shattered remains of absolutist institutions on the ground. Absolutist means a form of rule or government where the power is concentrated in the hands of a one person. In his utopian vision (vision of an ideal society that is unlikely to actually exist) he has described a group of people from different nations walking together towards statue of Liberty. The distinction can be easily felt as one can see people with different flags and different types of costumes worn by them. Ways past the statue of Liberty are the United States and Switzerland which were already nation- states by then. Then comes France, with its tricolor flag and she is followed by Germany. Germany was not a nation when this painting was made but as it was a dream of Sorrieu so he painted various countries that are part of this dream painting such as Austria, Two Sicilies, Lombardy, Poland, England, Ireland, Hungary and Russia. He has also painted Christ, saints and angels who are gazing the scene from heavens. This has been done to depict the fraternity. This chapter will deal with various issues that were visualized by Sorrieu in his painting.
During the nineteenth century nationalism grew as a strong force that brought various political changes in Europe. The final result of these changes was the coming up of the nation-state in place of the multinational dynastic empires of Europe.
1. The French Revolution and the idea of the Nation
It was France from where the concept of nationalism came into existence for the first time, with the French Revolution in 1789. Before this, France was a territorial state. This means that it was ruled by an absolute monarchy. The word absolute means a rule where the whole power is concentrated in the hands of a ruler or a monarch. The French revolution brought the concept of nation and nationalism in France.
The main aim was to form a nation where there will be a united community enjoying equal rights under a constitution. For this the French revolutionaries introduced various measures and practices that could create a sense of collective identity among the French citizens. Some of the measures taken by the revolutionaries are as follows:
- The royal flag was replaced by a new tricolor flag.
- The Estates General was elected by the body of active citizens and renamed the National Assembly.
- New hymns were composed, oaths were taken and martyrs commemorated, all in the name of the nation.
- A centralized administrative system was put in place.
- Uniform laws for all citizens were formulated.
- Internal customs duties and dues were abolished.
- Uniform system of weights and measures was adopted.
- French was considered as a common language of the nation.
Not only this, the French revolutionaries made it their mission to spread the idea of nationalism and to help Europeans liberate themselves from dictatorship.
Setting up of Jacobin Clubs
Soon the news about French revolution spread to various cities of Europe, students and other members of educated middle classes began setting up Jacobin clubs. Jacobins were those revolutionaries who aimed to establish a republic in their country by ending the King’s rule. The activities and campaigns of these clubs allowed the French armies to move into Holland, Belgium, Switzerland and much of Italy in the 1790s.
Rule of Napoleon (1804-1815)
Napoleon was a French statesman and military leader who came to power in France. He led many successful campaigns during French revolutionary wars and was able to conquer vast parts of Europe.
He introduced many reforms in the areas under his control. Napoleon, after coming into power had destroyed democracy in France, but in administrative field he had incorporated revolutionary principles in order to make the whole system more logical and efficient. One of the important reforms introduced by him was the introduction of Civil Code of 1804 or Napoleonic code. Following were the features of this code:
- Equality before the law was established.
- Feudal system was abolished.
- Right to property was given.
- Abolished all privileges based on birth.
- Serfdom and manorial dues were abolished.
- Transport and communication systems were improved
This code was introduced in Dutch Republic, Switzerland, Italy and Germany. Peasants, artisans, workers and new businessmen were happy with the new found freedom. The uniform laws, standardized weights and measures and a common national currency were welcomed by the businessmen and small scale goods producers as this had facilitated the movement and exchange of goods and capital from one region to another.
In the beginning everything seemed good. French armies were welcomed in many places such as Holland, Switzerland, Brussels, Mainz, Milan and Warsaw but soon they turned hostile towards them as the French armies were oppressing them. There were some other reasons also behind their dislike of French army which are as follows:
- Increase in taxation, censorship
- Forced enlistment of common people to the French army in order to fulfill the aim of conquering the rest of Europe etc.
2. The Making of Nationalism in Europe
So, now we will have a look at the making of Nationalism in Europe. But before that we need to understand the composition of Europe that was divided into various kingdoms, the Dutchies and Cantons were ruled by those rulers who had their autonomous territories. Moreover, there were people who spoke different languages. Eastern and Central Europe were under autocratic monarchies within the territories of which lived diverse people.
Germany, Italy and Switzerland were divided into kingdoms, duchies and cantons. They were ruled by different rulers. Eastern and central Europe was under autocratic kingdoms within the territories of which lived diverse people. These people had nothing in common. They did not share any collective identity or a common culture. All of them had different languages and were from different ethnic groups.
For example, the Habsburg Empire that had its rule over Austria- Hungary was composed of different regions and people. It included Alpine regions- Tyrol, Austria, Sudetenland and Bohemia. In these areas the aristocrats were German speaking whereas it also included Lombardy and Venetia where people spoke Italian. On the other hand in Hungary half of the population spoke Magyar while the other half spoke a variety of dialects. In Galicia the aristocrats spoke Polish. Even the peasants that lived in these areas were from different ethnic groups. For example, there were Bohemians and Slovaks in the north, Slovenes in Carniola, Croats in the south, Roumans to the east in Transylvania. So, now we can easily understand that there was nothing common among these groups. The only common thing was that they had loyalty to the common emperor. Therefore the question here arises is as to how the idea of nationalism arose in these parts then?
For that we have to first understand how the society at these places was divided and what were the issues faced by the common people.
The Aristocracy and the New middle class
The aristocrats were the rich class that was a dominating class in Europe. The members of this society had a common way of life. They were the owners of estates in the villages and also big houses. They spoke French and their families most of the time had matrimonial alliances. However this group was small in number. The major population comprised of peasants.
The western part of the land was farmed by tenants and small owners whereas the Eastern part and the land in central Europe was cultivated by serfs.
During this time period the Western parts and Central Europe experienced industrial growth. There was growth of many towns and a group of commercial classes emerged on the scene. So during the nineteenth century new social groups came into being. They were a working class population and middle classes made up of industrialists, businessmen and professionals. The idea of nationalism grew stronger among these were the educated, liberal middle class groups.
Till now we have discussed that people in different parts of Europe wanted to have Liberal nationalism in their countries. Here the question arises as to what exactly do we mean by Liberal Nationalism?
What did Liberal Nationalism stand for?
During the early nineteenth century the idea of Nationalism and Liberalism were closely related to the Europeans. The word ‘liberalism’ is derived from the Latin word ‘liber’, which means free. In Europe the new middle class saw liberalism as freedom for the individual and equality of all before the law. They all stressed for the government elected by the people. Since French Revolution took place, the term liberalism has taken shape into a new meaning, the end of autocracy and clerical privileges. It also meant the framing up of constitution and formation of government through parliament. Nineteenth century liberals also laid stress upon the right to property.
Though people were granted with the equality before the law, still right to vote or suffrage was not granted equally to all citizens. Even in France when French revolution took place and people were granted the right of equality before the law, the right to vote was not given to everyone. Only the men with property had the right to vote. Men without property and women were excluded from this. It was only for a short period under Jacobins that all adult men with or without property enjoyed right to vote.
Later on when Napoleon came into power and he introduced Napoleonic code in 1804, the right of suffrage was limited back to few members of society. Under this code women were taken as minor as they were subject to the authority of fathers and husbands. So, they had no right to vote. This led to various movements by women and non propertied men demanded equal political rights.
According to the business point of view, liberalism meant to be freedom of markets and abolition of various types of taxes on the movement of goods and capital. The freedom of markets and abolition of state imposed restrictions was a huge demand made by the new middle classes. To understand this, we should take the example of German speaking regions in the first half of the nineteenth century. There were about 39 princely states in this region during the first half of the nineteenth century. Each state had its own currency and weights and measures. If a trader was travelling from Hamburg to Nuremberg in 1833 to sell his goods, he had to pay a customs duty of 5 percent at 11 custom barriers. Duties were levied according to the weight or measurement of the goods. Each region had different standards of weights and measures, So, it took a lot of time to calculate the duty.
For Example, the cloth was measured in Elle which was different in each region. At Frankfurt the tax was charged less as the Elle there was less whereas the tax charged at Nuremberg was more because the Elle there was more as compared to other regions.
All this led to the demand of creation of unified economic territory by the various business classes. So, that there could be smooth movement of goods, people and capital from one region to another. This demand results in the formation of a customs union or zollverein. The demand for zollverein was first made by Prussia. Later on German states also joined Prussia with the same demand. The custom union abolished the tariff barriers and reduced the number of currencies from thirty to two. Railways were developed that harnessed economic interests to national unification. The economic nationalism too strengthened the nationalist sentiments during that time.
While so many changes were taking place in Europe, one more thing happened there that made governments to work towards the philosophy of conservatism. Conservatism is a political view that favors free enterprise, private ownership and socially conservative ideas.
What was that incident that brought the philosophy of conservatism?
Napoleon Bonaparte who had earlier acquired major parts of Europe was defeated in the Battle of waterloo in 1815. The battle was fought between Napoleon and the forces of Britain and Prussia. So when Napoleon was defeated, European governments decided to establish conservative form of government. The conservatives believed that established traditional institutions of state and society such as the monarchy, the Church, social hierarchies etc should be maintained as they were. Most of the conservatives believed that modernization can strengthen traditional institutions like monarchy. They had a view that following changes can strengthen the autocratic monarchies of Europe:
- Modern army
- Efficient bureaucracy
- Dynamic economy
- Abolition of feudalism and serfdom
So, with this point of view, representatives of the European powers such as Britain, Russia, Prussia and Austria met at Vienna in 1815. This came to be known as Congress of Vienna. These were those powers who had collectively defeated Napoleon and they met at Vienna to draw up a settlement for Europe. The congress was hosted by the Austrian Chancellor Duke Metternich. The delegates drew up the Treaty of Vienna of 1815 which reversed most of the changes that came in Europe during the Napoleonic wars (1799-1815). Following were the important decisions taken by the Congress of Vienna:
Bourbon dynasty was restored to power; Louis XVIII was made the Monarch of France.
France lost the territories it had acquired under Napoleon
A series of states were set up on the boundaries of France to prevent French expansion in future.
Thus with the new arrangement some territorial changes were seen such as the kingdom of the Netherlands, which included Belgium, was set up in the north and Genoa was added to Piedmont in the south. Prussia which was given important new territories on its western frontiers, while Austria was given northern Italy. On the other hand the German confederation of 39 states that had been set up by Napoleon was left untouched. In the east, Russia was given part of Poland and Prussia was given a part of Saxony. The main aim behind this arrangement was to restore the monarchies that had been taken over by Napoleon and create conservative form of rulership in Europe.
The conservative rule formed in 1815 was oppressive. They were highly intolerant towards criticism and disagreement. They started curbing down the activities against them. Even censorship laws were imposed on newspapers, books, plays and songs that favored the idea of liberty and freedom associated with the French Revolution. But all this could not stop various liberal activists from criticizing the new conservative rule and they started seeking for freedom of the press.
So, now we know that the conservatives had once again established the rule of monarchs in the Europe but did it stop the revolutionaries from demanding liberty and nationalism? How did these revolutionaries worked for their right of liberty? Let’s check this.
After 1815, the fear of repression from the ruling conservative class drove the liberal nationalists underground. They start forming up secret societies in different European states. The main aim of these societies was to spread the idea of liberty and nationalism. They were against the monarchical form of rulership that was the result of the Vienna congress. Many of them were aimed to create nation- states and made it an important part of their freedom struggle.
Giuseppe Mazzini was one of these revolutionaries who was a member of one of these secret societies. He was born in Genoa in 1807. He became a member of the secret society of the Carbonari. At the age of 24 he was sent into exile for attempting a revolution in Liguria in the year 1831.
Later on Mazzini founded two more underground societies namely Young Italy in Marseilles and Young Europe in Berne. The members of this society were the like- minded young men from Poland, France, Italy and the German states. Mazzini didn’t want Italy to be a patchwork of small states and kingdoms. So, he made it his aim to unify Italy. For this he starts setting up secret societies in Germany, France, Switzerland and Poland. Mazzini’s non-stop opposition towards monarchy and his vision of bringing democratic republics was a reason of fear among many conservatives. Metternich once had described him as ‘the most dangerous enemy of our social order’.
So, now we know that revolutionaries had started their own attempts to get rid of the conservative rule. But what happened next? Next came the period of Revolution in which various revolutionaries fought for their rights and tried to free themselves from the clutches of the conservatives.
3. The Age of Revolutions: 1830-1848
During the period of 1830-48, Europe witnessed great tension and unrest. On one side Conservatives were trying to become more powerful and on the other side the revolutionaries were attempting hard to bring liberalism and nationalism in Europe.
Revolutionaries who were mainly comprised of educated middle class elites such as professors, school teachers, clerks and members of commercial middle classes started revolutionary activities in many regions of Europe such as the Italian and German states, the provinces of the Ottoman Empire, Ireland and Poland.
The first such incident took place in France in July 1830. The liberal revolutionaries overthrew the Bourbon Kings and at its place a constitutional monarchy with Louis Philippe as its head was established. The July revolution lead to an uprising in Brussels which resulted in the separation of Belgium from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands (Oct. 4 1830).
A major event that served for inculcating the nationalist feelings among the educated elite across Europe was the Greek war of independence. Greece was under the Ottoman Empire since the 15th century. Ottoman Empire was formed at the end of the 13th century by Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. The independence struggle of Greece began in 1821. The nationalists in Greece were supported by other Greeks who were living in exile. Even the people from west Europe who had sympathy for the Greek culture also came forward for their support. Various artists and poets also supported the Greek struggle against the Muslim empire.
The English poet Lord Byron not only organized funds for the Greek struggle but also went to participate in the war, where he died of fever in 1824. Finally a treaty of Constantinople was signed in 1832 that recognized Greece as an independent nation
As we have already read that various artists and poets had also participated in revolutionary activities for bringing liberalism and nationalism in Europe but what was their contribution and how is Romanticism connected with it? Let’s find out
The Romantic Imagination and National Feeling
The notion of Nationalism did not come because of wars and territorial expansion only, Culture also played a significant role in creating awareness about the importance of nationalism. Various artists and poets took help of their poems, stories and music to express and shape nationalist feelings.
This cultural movement carried by the poets, writers and artists came to be known as Romanticism. Romantic artists and poets were the criticizers of reason and Science. To inculcate a sense of a shared collective heritage and common cultural past they tried tried to focus on emotions, intuitions and mystical feelings.
Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803) who was a German Philosopher and Romantic favored that true German culture was to be discovered among the common people. He said that the true spirit of the nation can be popularized through folk songs, folk dances and folk poetry. So he stressed on the collection of these forms of folk culture as it was essential for the nation-building.
The emphasis on vernacular language and the collection of various folktales, folk poems etc served two purposes at a time. One was recovering an ancient national spirit and another was to create awareness about nationalism among the illiterate countrymen.
This proved to be suitable in the case of Poland. Poland was partitioned at the end of the eighteenth century by Russia, Prussia and Austria. Though it didn’t remain as independent a territory but artists such as Karol kurpinski were able to+9 national feelings alive in the hearts of the common people through their artwork. Karol used to celebrate the national struggle through his operas and music. This results in formation of folk dances like polonaise and mazurka into nationalist symbols.
One such attempt of collecting folk tales was done by Grimm brothers who had collected various folk tales by travelling to various places. Grimm brothers who were active participants in the movement for freedom of press saw French domination as a threat to German culture. They believed that the folktales collected by them can serve for the creation of German national identity.
Not only poems and stories played a crucial role in developing the national sentiments among the people but language also played a greater part in it. When Russia occupied Poland it forcefully imposed the Russian Language in schools and churches. Polish language was stopped. So, in 1831 an armed rebellion against Russian rule took place which was however crushed by the Russian rule. Following this many people for example the clergy in Poland began to use Polish language as their weapon of resistance against the Russians. Polish began to be used for all the Church gatherings. This resulted in the imprisonment of large number of priests and bishops. Some of them were sent to Siberia by the Russian authorities for not using Russian language to preach. So, the use of Polish language was seen as a part of revolutionary struggle against Russian dominance.
Though 1830s is recalled as year of revolutionary attempts in Europe it is also recalled for the hardships and the hunger that struck Europe. Let’s have a look at this.
Hunger, Hardship and Popular revolt
Europe had to face severe economic hardships during the 1830s. During the first half of the nineteenth century the population gradually increased in Europe. The problem of unemployment became common in Europe.
People of rural areas started migrating to the cities in search of work. This also results into setting up of various slum areas in these cities.
Different groups of society were facing problems for example the small businessmen such as the textile producers had to bear the brunt of tough market competition because of the cheap goods that were imported from England. This was so because the textile production was carried at homes or small workshops which were not fully mechanized. On the other hand, England was far more advanced in the area of usage of machinery. In those areas where aristocrats were still in a powerful position, peasants had to face the burden of feudal dues. Not only this, the rise of food prices led to worsening of the situation.
In the year 1848, food shortage and the increasing problem of unemployment resulted in demonstrations by the peasants in Paris. It led to the erection of barricades in the city and Louis Philippe had to leave the city.
A national assembly announced Republic. It granted voting rights (Suffrage) to all males above the age of 21 and guaranteed the right to work. For this national workshops were setup to provide employment to the public.
Another uprising was seen in 1845 in Silesia. The weavers of Silesia revolted against the contractors. Contractors were those people who used to provide the weavers with the raw material so that they could turn them into finished products. The payments made to the weavers by these contractors were reduced to a very low amount. This reduction in payment was a reason of this revolt.
So, on 4th June, a large crowd of weavers went to the contractor’s house with the demand of increase in their wages. They were mistreated by the contractor. This led to the forceful entry of the weavers into the contractor’s house where they destroyed and damaged almost everything. The contractor fled with his family to a nearby village where he was not given shelter by anyone. After a gap of 24 hours he returned back with an army and in the exchange that followed, eleven weavers were shot.
Till now we have read about the revolution done by the peasants, weavers and the poets or artists. But parallel to these groups some more groups had also initiated a revolution in their own way. One such revolution was the educated middle classes of the European countries.
As we know that the February revolution of 1848 in France had resulted in the removal of the monarch and establishment of a republic with universal male suffrage. Still there were many parts in Europe that were not yet declared as independent nation-states. They were Germany, Italy, Poland, The Austro-Hungarian Empire and so on. Liberal middle classes comprising of both men and women started demanding a constitution with national unification. They demanded for the nation-state based on parliamentary principles with a constitution, freedom of the press and freedom of association.
In German region a group of political association that consisted of middle class professionals, businessmen and rich artisans gathered in the city of Frankfurt and decided to vote for an all German National Assembly. On 18th May 1848, 831 elected representatives gathered at Church of St. Paul to take their places in the Frankfurt parliament. They had drafted a constitution for a German nation which was to be headed by a monarch as per the parliament. When the deputies offered the crown which was subject to some terms to Friedrich Wilhelm IV, King of Prussia, he not only rejected it but also joined other monarchs to oppose the elected assembly. The parliament never paid attention towards the demands of peasants therefore it never got any support from them. Finally the assembly was forced to disband with the help of troops.
Though everyone was fighting for liberalism and right to vote but the issue of extending political rights to women was still controversial. Women had participated actively in various revolutionary struggles. They had also formed their political associations, founded newspapers and had participated in political meetings and demonstrations. But they were not given suffrage rights during the election of the assembly. Even when the
Frankfurt parliament convened in the St. Paul church, the women were only allowed to stand in the visitor’s gallery as observers.
In 1848, thought the conservative forces were able to succeed in suppressing liberal movements but they realized that such revolutions can only be handled by granting some concessions to the liberal- nationalist revolutionaries. So, after 1848 the monarchs tried to introduce some measures which were already introduced in Western Europe before 1815. This was abolition of serfdom and bonded labor in the areas of Habsburg dominions and in Russia. The Habsburg rulers also granted the right of self government to the Hungarians in 1867.
While all these political changes were taking place in Europe. Some more events took place which laid the foundation stone of the making of Germany and Italy.
4. The Making of Germany and Italy
The nationalism that had rose before 1848 soon moved away from its association with democracy and revolution. The conservatives started using nationalist sentiments for their own purpose of promoting state power and achieving political dominance over Europe.
As we have already read that there was a widespread nationalist feeling among the middle class Germans during 1848. They also tried to build Germany as a nation state that was to be governed by the elected parliament. Although there attempt was suppressed by the combined forces of monarchy, military that were supported by the landowners of Prussia known as ‘Junkers’. From then on Prussia emerged as a powerful leader that unified Germany.
Otto von Bismarck who is considered the architect of this process unified Germany with the help of Military. So now the question arises
Germany- Can the Army be the Architect of a Nation?
To understand this, we should discuss about Otto von Bismarck. Otto von Bismarck was a chief minister of Prussia. His ultimate goal was to unite the German states into a strong German Empire with Prussia as its core. He never favored for liberalism and democracy. He rather used military force to unify Germany.Bismarck who was considered the architect of this process took the help of Prussian army and bureaucracy. Three wars were fought in the time span of seven years with Austria, Denmark and France. The result of these wars was the victory of Prussia and unification of Germany. In January 1871, William I the Prussian king was proclaimed as the German Emperor in a ceremony held at Versailles.
So, on 18th January 1871, an assembly of princes of the German states, representatives of the army, important Prussian ministers including the chief minister Otto von Bismarck gathered in the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles and proclaimed Kaiser William I to be the German Empire.
So, in the end the nation- building process of Germany displayed the dominance of Prussian state power. The new state laid emphasis on the following things:
- Modernizing the currency
- Legal and Judicial systems in Germany
Prussian measures and practices later on became a model for the rest of Germany.
So, now we know that the unification of Germany took place because of the military expedition led by the powerful Prussia region. But how did Italy unified? Let’s see this
If we talk about Italy, it was divided into various parts. Italians were scattered over several dynastic states as well as the multi-national Habsburg Empire. Italy was divided into seven states during the middle of the nineteenth century. The north was under Austrian Habsburg, the centre was under the Pope and the southern regions were under Bourbon Kings of Spain. Only one, Sardinia-Piedmot was under an Italian Princely house. Not only this, the Italian language was not a common form and had many regional and local variations.
As we have already read that Giuseppe Mazzini, one of the great revolutionaries of Italy had tried to unify Italy during the 1830s. He had also formed a secret society called Young Italy for the fulfillment of his goals. But the failure of the revolutionary uprisings both in 1831 and 1848 turned the responsibility of unification of Italy on the shoulders of King Victor Emmanuel II, who was the ruler of Sardinia-Piedmont. This was to be done through war. The elites of this region favored for the unification of Italy as this would offer them economic prosperity and political dominance.
Just like Germany a chief minister played an important role in the unification of Italy. Here we are talking about Cavour, He was the chief minister of Piedmont who led the movement to unify the regions of Italy. He was neither a revolutionary nor a democrat. He was wealthy and educated Elite who could speak French much better than Italian.
It was due to the diplomacy skills of Cavour that allowed Sardinia-Piedmont along with France defeat the Austrian forces in 1859. Apart from the regular troops, a large number of people voluntarily joined the army of Giuseppe Garibaldi.
Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882) was an Italian general and nationalist. He was perhaps the most celebrated of Italian freedom fighters. He was also a member of Mazzini’s Young Italy movement and participated in a republican uprising in Piedmont in 1834.
Garibaldi led his volunteer forces in 1860 into South Italy and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and succeeded in winning the support of the local peasants in order to remove the Spanish Rulers (Bourbon). In 1861 Victor Emmanuel II was proclaimed as the King of unified Italy. However, the illiterate Italian population remained unaware of Liberal-nationalist ideology.
Though unification of nation took place in various parts of Europe but the idea of the nation or the nation- state as some scholars suggested is Great Britain. The formation of Britain was not the result of sudden revolution because of which it seems as the unification of Britain was very strange.
The Strange Case of Britain
The formation of Britain was the result of a long process. Britain was not a nation before the eighteenth century. It was an island which was inhabited by ethnic groups such as English, Welsh, Scot or Irish. These groups had their own culture and political traditions. As English started growing wealthy and gaining power and importance they started extending their influence over the other nations of the island.
The English parliament seized power from monarchy in 1688 after a conflict. Finally a nation state was formed with England at its centre. In 1707 the act of union came into being between England and Scotland. This resulted in the formation of the ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain’. Soon England imposed its influence on Scotland. Even the British parliament was dominated by the English members. Later on the culture and political institutions of Scotland were suppressed by the growing British power. For example the Scottish was forced to not speak in their Gaelic language or wear their national dress and large number of highlanders was forcibly driven out of their homeland.
Ireland also has a similar story. This country was divided between Catholics and Protestants. England helped the Protestants of Ireland and this resulted in the dominance of Protestants over Catholics. The revolts led by the Catholics were suppressed by the British dominance. Wolf Tone who was a leading Irish revolutionary who formed a group named ‘United Irishmen’. He revolted against the English Supremacy but later on this revolt was suppressed by the English in 1798.
Finally in 1801 Ireland was forcibly incorporated into the United Kingdom. A new British nation came into being which was largely dominated by the English Culture. The symbols of the new Britain- the British flag (union jack), the national anthem (God Save our Noble King), the English language were promoted and the older nations were left to survive as the subordinates.
Till now we have come to know about the rise of nationalism in the European countries, various attempts made by the revolutionaries for their right to liberty, establishment of power by the conservatives or the unification of countries on the basis of various wars. But when the countries achieved the status of a nation-state the next thing which gained importance was as to how the country should be visualized. So, let’s see what was done in this context.
5. Visualising the Nation
During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries artists tried to give a face to the nation. For this they started portraying it as a person, especially a female figure. The female form that was chosen to personify the nation did not stand for any particular woman in real life, rather it was done to give a rough idea of the nation as a concrete form. This depiction of female figure as a nation by various artists became an allegory (expressing abstract idea in the form of a person or thing) of the nation.
All this started during French revolution where artists used the female allegory to represent ideas like Liberty, Justice and the Republic. To represent ideas these ideas symbols or specific objects were used by the artists. For example, the symbols used for the Liberty are red cap or the broken chain.
For Justice is generally a blindfolded woman carrying a pair or weighing scales.
So, therefore various female allegories were invented by artists in the nineteenth century to represent the nation.
In France, the female figure which was used to describe nation was given the name of Marianne. She was drawn with the characteristics of Liberty and the republic that is the red cap, the tricolor, the cockade.
The statues of Marianne were erected at various public places. This was done to remind the public of the national symbol of unity. Marianne images were marked on coins and stamps.
Similarly, in Germany the female figure used for depicting Germany as a nation came to be known as Germania. Germania is generally shown wearing a crown of oak leaves as the German oak stands for heroism.
So, now we know about how the countries got unified and became nation states and also about personification of these states through female figures. But the question here arises that after becoming a nation state did they continue to be liberal- democratic nation or turn into something else? Well yes after becoming nation states, the countries began to extend their boundaries in order to increase their power and influence over the other regions of the world. This led to the birth of imperialism. So what is imperialism? This we will study next.
6. Nationalism and Imperialism
During the last quarter of the nineteenth century a new political change was noticed. Nationalism no longer retained its idealistic liberal- democratic sentiment of the first half of the century. During this period nationalist groups became highly intolerant towards each other and were constantly in conflict. The major European powers tried to take advantage of this in realizing their goal of imperialism.
Imperialism is a policy of extending a country’s power and influence with the help of military forces or other means.
An area known as Balkans emerged as the most desired area to fulfill the imperialist goals by the Europeans. The Balkans was a region of geographical and ethnic variation comprising modern-day Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Greece, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro whose inhabitants were broadly known as the Slavs.
Balkans was the region that was under the control of the Ottoman Empire. Ottoman Empire was that Empire from which Greece took its independence. The spread of the idea of romantic nationalism and the fall of the Ottoman Empire resulted into high tension in the Balkan region. Although the Ottoman Empire tried hard to strengthen itself during the nineteenth century, by modernization and internal reforms but it could not succeed.
The regions with European subjects under its control began to separate away from it and formed up as independent states. The Balkan people stressed on independence on the basis that they were once independent nationalities taken over by the foreign powers. Hence the rebellions start struggling so as to win back independence.
As different Slavic nationalities were attempting hard to gain independence, a situation of conflict arose because the Balkan states were now interested in extending their territorial limits. During this period of time the situation became more intense because on one side Balkans were entering into rivalries and on the other side Europeans came into the scene. The European powers entered into rivalry with each other so as to establish their trade and colonies in the Balkan region. Powers like Russia, Germany, England, and Austro-Hungary was keen on establishing their own power over the Balkans. This resulted into a series of wars which ended up with the beginning of the First World War.
The concept of Nationalism supported with imperialism became a reason for Europe’s disaster in 1914. During the nineteenth century, many colonized countries began to oppose the rule of imperialist countries. The anti imperial movements that developed everywhere were nationalist. It is so because all of them were struggling to form independent nation states and had a sense of collective national unity. They were not aiming to follow the idea of imperialism. European ideas of nationalism were not seen being repeated anywhere as people everywhere had their own concept of nationalism. But all these events and processes came up with the idea or organizing societies into ‘nation-states’ that was accepted as natural and universal.
Question and Answer
Q1- Write a note on:
- Giuseppe Mazzini
- Count Camillo de Cavour
- The Greek war of independence
- Frankfurt Parliament
- The role of women in nationalist struggles
A1- a) Giuseppe Mazzini: Giuseppe Mazzini was born in Genoa in 1807. He became a member of the secret society of the Carbonari. In 1831, he was sent to exile for attempting a revolution in Liguria. Later on he founded two more underground societies namely Young Italy in Marseilles and Young Europe in Berne. Mazzini’s aim was to unify Italy.
b) Count Camillo de Cavour: Cavour born in 1810 was an Italian statesman and a leading figure in the movement toward Italian unification. He was known for his diplomacy. Through a tactful diplomatic alliance with France engineered by Cavour, Sardinia Piedmont succeeded in defeating the Austrian forces in 1859.
c) The Greek war of independence: The Greek war of independence had played an important role in mobilizing the nationalist feelings among the educated Europeans. Greece was a part of the Ottoman Empire since the fifteenth century. The growth of revolutionary nationalism in Europe, accelerate the struggle for independence amongst the Greeks which began in 1821. Nationalist in Greece got support from other Greeks living in exile and also from those Europeans who had sympathy for Greece. Finally Greece attained its independence in 1821.
d) Frankfurt Parliament: An all German assembly was formed that comprised of middle-class professionals, businessmen and prosperous artists. On 18 May 1848, 831 elected representatives joined at Frankfurt Parliament that was convened in the Church of St. Paul. They drafted a constitution for German nation which was to be headed by a monarch subject to the parliament. However, it was opposed by the aristocrats and military. As it was comprised of only the middle class, so it did not receive much support from the peasants. Hence it was disbanded.
e) The role of women in nationalist struggles: Large number of women had actively participated in various liberal movements over the years. They had also formed their own political associations and newspapers. They were part of every political meetings and demonstrations.
Q2- What steps did the French revolutionaries take to create a sense of collective identity among the French people?
A2- Following were the steps taken by French revolutionaries to create a sense of collective identity among the French people:
- Ideas of the fatherland and the citizen that emphasized on the idea of a united community enjoying equal rights under a constitution.
- A new French Flag, a tricolor replaced the royal standard.
- The Estates General that comprised of the clergy, the nobility and the commons was renamed the National assembly and was elected by a group of active citizens.
- New hymns, oaths and martyrs commemorated in the name of the nation.
- A central administrative system made uniform laws of the entire nation
- Regional dialects were discouraged and French as a common language of the nation.
Q3- Who was Marianne and Germania? What was the importance of the way in which they were portrayed?
A3-Marianne and Germania were the female figures designed by the artists to personify the nation-states of France and Germany. They were portrayed in a way so that the public could identify their symbolic meaning. For example, Marianne was shown with red hat which was a symbol of Liberty and Germania wears a crown made up of oak leaves as the German oak stands for heroism. Even Marianne statues were erected in public places to instill a sense of national unity in them.
Q4- Briefly trace the process of German unification?
A4- the nationalist feelings started developing during 1800s among the middle class Germans. All of them get united in 1848 to form a parliament in Germany. But the monarchy and the military suppressed them with the help of the landowners (Junkers) of Prussia. Prussia soon emerged as a leader of the movement for the unification of Germany. Its chief minister Otto von Bismarck proved to be the architect of this process. The help of both army and bureaucracy was taken and in the time span of seven years three wars were fought with Austria, Denmark and France. These wars end up with the victory of Prussia and unification of Germany.
In January 1871, the Prussian king, William I was proclaimed German Emperor.
Q5- What changes did Napoleon introduce to make the administrative system more efficient in the territories ruled by him?
A5- Napoleon’s reforms include introduction of Civil Code of 1804 or Napoleonic code. Following were the features of this code:
- Equality before the law was established.
- Feudal system was abolished.
- Right to property was given.
- Abolished all privileges based on birth.
- Serfdom and manorial dues were abolished.
- Transport and communication systems were improved