A large number of people of mainly common descent, language, history, inhabiting a territory bounded by defined limits and forming a society under one government is called a nation.
Frederic Sorrieu and his visualization:
In 1848, Frederic Sorrieu, a French artist, prepared a series of four prints, visualizing his dream of a world made up of ‘democratic and social republics’, as he called them.
- The first print shows the people of Europe and America marching in a long train, and offering homage to the Statue of Liberty as they pass by it. A female figure carries a torch of enlightenment in one hand and the Charter of the Rights of Man, in the other hand.
- On the earth lies the shattered remains of the symbols of absolutist institutions.
- In Sorrieu’s Utopian vision, the people of the world are grouped as distinct nations, identified through their flags and national costumes.
- Leading the procession are USA and Switzerland, followed by France and Germany. Following Germany are Austria, Kingdom of the two Sicilies, Lombardy, Poland, England, Ireland, Hungary and Russia.
- From the heavens above, Christ, saints and angels gaze at the scene. The artist symbolizes fraternity among the nations of the world.
The French Revolution and the idea of Nation:
- Growth of nationalism in France.
- Introduction of various measures and practices created sense of collective identity among the people of France.
- Change of monarchy and establishment of republic, creation of new assembly.
- Rise of Napoleon and his reforms. Revolutionaries help other people of Europe to become nation.
The making of Nationalism in Europe:
- Germany, Italy and Switzerland were divided into Kingdom, duchies and cantones these divisions were having their autonomous rulers.
- Uses of different languages.
- Rise of middle class.
- Industrialization in England, emergence of a working class and liberalism.
- New conservation after 1815 and preservation of traditional institution.
- After the defeat of Napoleon, the European government follows the spirit of conservatism. Conservative regimes were autocratic Revolutionaries at that time fought for liberty and freedom.
Example, Mazzini’s young Italy and Young Europe.
Unification of Italy:
Giuseppe Mazzini had played an important role in the unification of Italy. He formed a secret society called ‘Young Italy’ in Marseilles, to spread his goals. He believed Italy could not continue to be a patchwork of small states and had to be forged into a single unified republic. During 1830’s, Mazzini sought to put together a coherent programme for a unitary Italian Republic. As uprisings in 1831 and 1848 had failed, the mantle now fell on Sardinia-Piedmont under its ruler Emmanuel II to unify Italy.
Under Chief Minister Cavour, Sardinia-Piedmont succeeded in destroying the Austrian forces in 1859. Even Garibaldi joined the fray. In 1860, they marched into South Italy and the kingdom of the two Sicilies and with the help of the local peasants, drove out the Spanish rulers. In 1861, Victor Emmanuel II was proclaimed as King of United Italy.
Unification of Germany:
In the 18th century, Germany was divided into a number of states. Some of these states ceased to exist during the Napoleonic wars. At the end of the war, there were still 39 independent states in Germany. Prussia was most powerful, dominated by big landlords known as Junkers.
- Nationalist feelings were widespread among middle class Germans who had tried to unite the different regions of the German federation into a nation-state governed by an elected Parliament.
- In May 1848, a large number of political associations came together to vote for an all-German National Assembly. Their representatives met at Frankfurt and the Frankfurt Assembly proposed the unification of Germany as a constitutional monarchy under the King of Prussia as emperor
- The King of Prussia rejected the offer and the liberal initiative of nation building was repressed by the combined forces of the monarchy, the military and the ‘Junkers’.
- Then on, Prussia under its Chief Minister Otto Von Bismarck led the movement for unification of Germany. Bismarck carried out this process with the help of the Prussian army and the bureaucracy. He fought three wars over seven years with Denmark, Austria and France. Prussia was victorious in all these wars and the process of unification was completed as a result of Prussia’s victory over France.
- Consequently, on 18th January 1871, an assembly comprising of princes of German States, representatives of the army, important Prussian ministers and Bismarck gathered in the Palace of Versailles and proclaimed the Prussian King, Kaiser William, the new German Emperor.
Visualizing the Nation:
Marianne and Germania were both female allegories used by artists in the 19th century to represent the nation.
- In France she was named Marianne, a popular Christian name, which underlined the idea of a people’s nation. Her characteristics were drawn from those of liberty and republic—the red cap, the tri-colour, the cockade. Statues of Marianne were erected in public squares as a national symbol of unity. Marianne images were marked on coins and stamps.
- Instead of just having the idea of father land, they wanted to implant a suitable image in the minds of the people. They invariably chose the mother figure symbolizing nations—Britannia, Germania and Marianne reminding us of our concept of Matribhumi.
- Germania became the allegory of the German nation. Germania wears a crown of oak leaves as German oak stands for heroism. It was hung from the ceiling of St. Paul’s Church, where Frankfurt Parliament was convened, to symbolize the liberal revolution.
- The first major change was doing away with all privileges based on birth, establishing equality before law and securing the right to property.
- Administrative divisions were simplified.
- Feudal system was abolished and peasants were freed from serfdom and manorial dues (abuse of manorial lords).
- In towns, guild restrictions were removed.
- Transport and communication systems were improved.
- Peasants, artisans, workers and new businessmen enjoyed a new found freedom.
- Businessmen and small-scale producers of goods in particular began to realize that uniform laws, standardized weights and measures and a common national currency would facilitate the movement and exchange of goods and capital from one region to another.
Nationalism and Imperialism:
Last quarter of the 19th century nationalism became a narrow creed with limited ends, Intolerance Balkan became the sense of big power rivalry Nationalism, aligned with imperialism cause of World War I. Idea of a Nationalism was now same everywhere . But concept of National State was accepted universally.