HIS - History HIS 231 Lecture Notes - Lajos Kossuth, Unification Of Germany, Italian Unification
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3/5 Birth of nations (Nationalism in 19th C. Europe)
-The nationalism debate
-Origins of European nationalism
-the 1848 revolutions and german unification
What is a nation, and when is a nation?
There is a distinction between states and nations, but nations are subjective. States have clear
borders, institutions and the legitimate use of force.
Nations: have certain common identifying features, language, history, culture.
It it an ethnic community? Blood? Biological? Racial?
Modernity theory-benedict Anderson: a nation doesn’t actually exist, its imagined. A belief in
soothing in common that differentiates one group from another. Represents a “deep, horizontal
Vertical relationship: class differences
Horizontal relationship: class doesn’t matter
What about jews representing a national community?
All you need is for them to imagine themselves as part of that community. What we think is
often more important than reality. This belief is a powerful concept people are willing to die for.
Problem is, we want to know how population feels, and to know that we must get in their heads,
which requires literacy.
Literacy expresses nationalism, but literacy for all people is not necessary til the industrial rev.
only the elites can express nationalism prior to that.
Identies are very fluid concepts, but legitimacy is established by longevity.
French Rev- first nation with horizontal relationship. Liberte, egalite, fratenite.