• Frederic Sorrieu was a French artist who made a series of four prints in the year 1848, through which he visualized his dream of world made of democratic nations and republics.
  • Frederic Sorrieu, in his first print series depicted the men and women of all ages and social classes marching in a long train to pay homage to the statue of liberty.
  • This procession way pastthe Statue of Liberty is followed by the USA, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, the Kingdom of Two Sicilies, Lombardy, Poland, England, Ireland, Hungary and Russia.
  • Christ, saints and angels gaze upon the scene from the heaven which symbolizes fraternity among the nations of the whole world.
  • The French Revolution artists personified the Liberty as a female figure. For example, the Statue of Liberty is a female figure bearing the torch of Enlightenment in one hand and the Charter of the Rights of Man in the other hand and the absolutist institutions were shown as shattered remains on the earth in the foreground of the image.
  • Absolutist refers to the system of monarchial form of government which was centralized, militarized and repressive.
  • Utopian refers to a vision of the society which is so ideal that it cannot exist in reality. For example, according to the Sorrieu’s utopian vision, the people of the world will be identified through their flags and their national costume.
  • Nationalism emerged as a force in the 19th century which brought drastic changes in the political and mental world of Europe. This resulted in the emergence of the nation-state in Europe by replacing the multinational dynastic empires.
  • In the modern state, there is centralized and sovereign power control exercised over a defined territory.
  • In a nation-state, the citizens and the rulers developed a sense of common identity and shared history which was forged through struggles by the leaders and the common people.

The French Revolution and the Idea of the Nation

  • The age of revolution was started in Europe with the French Revolution that took place in the year 1789. The French Revolution had led to the transfer of sovereignty from a monarch government to a body of French people.
  • Number of steps were taken during the French Revolution to unite the people. It was considered as a mission and destiny to liberate the people by introducing – new French flag, idea of La patrie which means the fatherland and Le citoyen which means the citizens, centralized administrative system, uniform laws for the citizens and a uniform weighing and measuring system.
  • The revolutionary principles of Napoleon were called as Civil Code of 1804 or the Napoleonic Code, which was exported to Switzerland, Italy and Germany.
  • Jacobin clubs were set up by the students, educated and middle class people to spread the revolutionary ideas into Holland, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy in the year 1790’s.

The Making of Nationalism in Europe

  • There was no collective identity or a common culture in Europe. For example, the Habsburg Empire who ruled over Austria-Hungary had different regions like the Alpine regions and Bohemia region. There were mostly German-speaking people in these areas.
  • The provinces of Lombardy and Venetia had Italian-speaking people. In Hungary, half of the people were Magyar-speaking and the rest of the people used number of dialects. Polish language was spoken in Galicia.
  • A mass of subject peasant people were also living within the boundaries of the Habsburg Empire such as Bohemians and Slovaks in the north, Slovenes in the area of Carniola, Croats in the south and the Romans in the east of the Transylvania.
  • In terms of social and political division, the dominant class was the landed aristocratic class whose members were united due to the common way of living life that cut across their regional divisions.
  • During the 19th century, industrialisation started in some parts of France and Germany which resulted in the emergence of the new social groups like the working class people and the middle class people.
  • The beginning of industrialisation in Europe helped in spreading the ideas of national unity among the educated people and the liberal middle class people which resulted in the abolition of the aristocratic privileges.
  • The term ‘liberalism’ has its origin from the Latin word liber meaning free. This idea of liberalism started during the industrialisation helped in ending the interference of the state in the economic and social life, the markets became free and started the free movement of goods and capital. Hence, the administrative measures of the Napoleon were changed to a large extent.
  • The emergence of the liberal nationalism was taken by the new middle class people as freedom of the individual and equality of all the people before the law.
  • Zollverein or a custom union was formed in the year 1834.
  • Napoleon was defeated in the year 1815 by the collective effort of the countries like Britain, Russia, Prussia and Austria.
  • The Treaty of Vienna was signed in the year 1815 when the European powers met at Vienna to draw up a settlement for Europe. According to the provisions of the Treaty of Vienna, the Bourbon dynasty was restored to power and France lost all her territories that were annexed by him under the Napoleon.
  • In order to prevent the expansion of French in the future, to restore the monarchies and for creating a new conservative order in Europe, a series of states were set up on the boundaries of France. These newly set up states were–Netherland and Belgium on to the north, Genoa and Piedmont on to the south, Austria and Northern Italy, Russia and Poland in the west.
  • The autocratic regimes imposed censorship on newspapers, books, plays and songs that reflected the idea of freedom and liberty.
  • Secret societies were formed by Giuseppe Mazzini. He was an Italian revolutionary. The motive behind the formation of the secret societies were to oppose the monarchial form of government and to fight for their liberty and freedom.
  • Secret societies were spread in many European states to train the Revolutionaries. Later on, these revolutionaries saw the creation of nation-state as an essential part of the freedom struggle.
  • According to Mazzini, God had intended the nations to be the natural units of mankind. Therefore, Italy could not continue to be a patchwork of the small and fragmented states and kingdoms.
  • The conservatives were frightened with the Mazzini’s opposition to the monarchy system and his vision for the democracy.

The Age of Revolutions: 1830-1848

  • 1830 to 1848 was known as the age of Revolutions. During the first upheaval which took place in France in the year 1830, the Bourbon kings were overthrown by the liberal revolutionaries and Louis Philippe became the constitutional monarch. Also Belgium got separated from the United Kingdoms of the Netherlands.
  • In the year 1821, the Greek war of independence was started which created the feeling of the nationalist among the educated people in Europe. They were supported by the Greeks living in other countries and finally in the year 1832 they were recognized as an independent country by the Treaty of Constantinople.
  • Romanticism and cultural movements in Greece helped in developing the feeling of nationalism, sense of togetherness and love for the country through language, art, poetry, stories, folk songs, music and the past experiences.
  • Karol Kurpinski was able to develop the feeling of nationalist through his operas, music and folk dances.
  • The Poland people were fighting with Russia for their language and culture.
  • During the 1830’s due to the tremendous increase in population, in Europe there was a great crisis of employment which resulted in great economic hardship. During this time the people in Europe were migrating from the rural areas to the urban areas which resulted in the overcrowded slums. The small producers were facing stiff competition because of the import of cheap machine-made goods from England.
  • The peasants in Europe were struggling with the feudal dues and obligations. All these resulted in the bad harvest, increase in the food prices, poverty and unemployment.
  • In the year 1848, the educated middle class professionals, businessmen and the prosperous artisans led a revolution for the creation of a nation-state on the basis of parliamentary principles–constitution, freedom of press and freedom of association.
  • As a course of the revolution, around 831 elected representatives marched in the parliament of the St. Paul Church. This march was to draft the constitution which was headed by the monarchy which resulted in the rejection of crown by the King of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm IV and disbandment of the constitution.
  • During this time, women had no right to vote for which they formed political associations, founded newspapers, taken part in the political meetings and demonstrations. Even the political rights of men were controversial.

The Making of Germany and Italy

  • In the year 1848, the middle class Germans tried to unite the different regions of the German federation into a nation-state but it was repressed by the combined forces of the monarchy, the military and the Junkers of Prussia.
  • Then after, the leadership of the German Unification Movement was headed by the Prussian chief minister, Otto von Bismarck with the help of the Prussian army and the bureaucracy.
  • Three wars were fought with Austria, Denmark and France over seven years which finally ended with the Prussian victory and then the process of unification of Germany was completed.
  • Italy was also politically fragmented and scattered over several dynastic states. During the middle of the 19th century, there were seven states in Italy. There was no common form in terms of language and had regional and local variations.
  • Giuseppe Mazzini in the 1830’s started a coherent programme which was for a unitary Italian Republic and also formed a secret society.
  • The ruling elites believed that the unification of Italy would be good for the economic development and the political dominance.
  • The chief minister Cavour led the movement of the unification of Italy and through a tactful diplomatic alliance with France succeeded in defeating Austrian force in the year 1859. Finally in the year 1861, Victor Emmanuel II became the King of united Italy.
  • Before the 18th century, there was no such nation called Britain. It was all comprised by the English, Welsh, Scot and Irish lived in the British Isles. In the year 1707, the act of union between England and Scotland resulted in the formation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Finally, the British nation had its own English culture, British flag, National Anthem and English language.

Visualising the Nation

  • In the 18th and 19th century the artists started personifying the nations and portrayed it as a female figure which did not stand for any woman in the real life. Hence, the female figure became an allegory of the country.
  • In France, the statues of Christene Marianne were erected in the public square and also marked on the coins and the stamps. It was the figure of Liberty with the red cap, the tricolor and the cockade.
  • In Germany, Germania became the allegory wearing a crown of oak leaves because the German oak symbolizes heroism.

Nationalism and Imperialism

  • During the first half of the 19th century, the nationalist groups became very much intolerant and ready to go for war. Even the big European powers also manipulated the nationalist aspirations of the people for their own benefits.
  • The modern day Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Greece, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia etc. were comprised together called the Balkans. The inhabitants of these areas were called the Slavs. The Ottoman Empire had control over large parts of Balkans.
  • The Balkan region became very explosive and a source of nationalist tension due to the spread of the ideas of romantic nationalism and disintegration of the Ottoman Empire.
  • Both the nationalism and the imperialism put Europe in a disastrous situation in the year 1914.