Nationalism, moral and functional basis

Nationalism was among the most successful political strengths of the 19th century. It emanated from two chief sources: a Romantic exaltation of identity, feeling and Liberal urge that a legitimate nation was to be based on its citizens rather than, for instance, a dynasty or imperial domination. The Romantic Liberal civic nationalism and identity nationalism were basically the middle class activity movements. There were two key ways to exemplification: the French way of inclusion and German method. Anyone who has acknowledged loyalty to the French state was considered to be a citizen. This meant enforcing of a considerable level of uniformity, such as the fragmentation of regional languages. The German method, called for political circumstances to define a nation in ethnical terms. Ethnicity came down to speaking the German language and, may be, picking on a German name. For the mainly German speakers, the Slavic, middle class of Agram, Prague and others who took the nationalist principle, the ethnic angle became even more significant than it was for the Germans (Marius, Paul and Homeland 151). It is debatable if both nationalisms ended up being aggressive or Chauvinistic. The very nature of nationalism calls for boundaries to be drawn.


In the 19th century, nationalism became a powerful and widespread force. During this period nationalism depicted itself in many localities as a drive to national independence or unification. This spirit of nationalism got a very strong hold all over Germany, when thinkers, such as Johann Fichte and Gottfried von Herder, had instituted the thought of Volk. Conversely, the nationalism that stimulated German citizens to rise against Napoleon I’s empire was the tradition bound, conservative and narrow relatively than progressive, liberal and universal. Additionally, when broken Germany was eventually unified in 1871 to form the German Empire, it was a highly militarist and authoritarian state. After several years of fighting, Italy also achieved freedom and national unification from other foreign dominations, though certain locations with Italian citizens were not among those included in the newly developed state, and this introduced the issue of irredentism. In the last half of the 19th century, there were sturdy nationalist activities. At the same time with surfacing the integrated, strong nations in Europe, nationalism became progressively more sentimental to conservatives. It was aimed against international activities, such as socialism; it found a way out in pursuit of empire and glory. Nationalist upheavals had much to do with the beginning of the World War I.

Nationalism persisted to grow significantly in the emerging urbane society in the late 19th century. This was as a result of national politics and governments who responded effectively to the social needs and political demands of the people. Socialist political parties and socialists looked more toward parliaments and unions for continued and gradual improvement. This growing moderation of German socialists reflected a great appeal of people to nationalism. Only in multinational states, that growth of rivaling nationalisms did encourage fragmentation if opposed to the unity.

Historians have concluded that liberal nationalism did not make it in Germany in the 19th century following to the reason that in 1914 the country was dominated by militaristic leaders; all that liberals objected. The open-minded nationalists asked for a constitution formed on a clearer law structure that was not subject to the Prussians. The liberal form of nationalism started from lower strata as representative of the citizens. They also were the followers of laissez faire, the economic principles that were based on the free market economies in which their government failed to intervene. This principle included free market and trade between colonies and states in an attempt to help the middle classes to prosper. The last objective for liberal nationalists was that Germany would not be in any confederation. The liberals made an impact in Germany as some of the principles were recognized. All residents were included in the country or nation, not just Germans living in Germany. That would have eliminated tension with the minority group discriminations. This issue was all the time a catalyst for the required political scrutiny to the autocratic regimes by professors and students. Liberal nationalism helped to shape the image of Germany in the 1840s. The nationalism produced romantic and natural image in German paintings and literature, as represented by Caspar D. Friedrich. These were in right position to mould Germany because they controlled the press, similar to what Palmerston did when they dictated a public opinion. All liberal nationalists were rigid in the areas of government administration and bureaucracy which ensured the presence of a centralized currency and law structures. Their key economic goal of free trade was reached in 1834 with the institution of the Zollverein, while that confederation did not immediately lead to political unions. It meant that Germans and Germany would enjoy due to the industrialization that subsequently happened. The liberal nationalists restrained and helped Bismarck when he made the 3rd Reich. Their support was crucial to him, though he had to develop a federal, representative, accountable state rather than the elite subjected form that Bismarck would have desired.


The year 1848 was the one of revolutions, and very limited places in Europe could achieve a means to keep civil unrests at bay. The revolution of that year in France and assertion of Republic eventually spread to other edges. The pleas of Liberalism, changes and Nationalism were taking France by storm; the static and conservative status quo was falling under the pressures of revolution. France, the epicenter of revolution, had a fair share of change and unrest (Michael and John 99).

By the 19th century, an active and aggressive opposition had been formed amongst the middle-class in French society, calling for a reform and the end of the disfranchisement to the majority of these middle classes. King Louis and the Premier, Guizot, proved to be unyielding to the demands for reform. Therefore, it was not discerned that matters including the disenfranchised middle class, enormous government scandals and other matters of this kind, though minor, would generate heavy hostility directed to the French government. The financial and economic crisis of 1847-1948 formed a reason to demand reforms, but the revolution took place, which was the King’s personal decision. The king had the resolve to continue the crisis through and see and if he tried to calm down the reformists on some degree of reforms, it is not clear whether there would have been revolution at all (Marco and Guido 48). The discontented middle classe played a key role. They actually acted as the voice nationalism, which failed to interest the peasantry much at that time round. Metternich’s perspective to the matter also left him separated from not only these middle class’s liberals, but also from the conservatives.

The main events that wrought the growth of nationalism in France in the 19th century were events and leaders that caused nationalism. One of the principal, for instance, was Napoleon I. He had claims to new territories and destroying everyone’s personal cultures. Napoleon I had also extended it during his invasion and succeeded in uniting France from his phenomenal oratory skills. Napoleon I also inspired France’s pride through showing classic art of the nation and its citizens (Len and Oliver 111).

The same as liberalism did, nationalism formed a radical ideology after the last defeat of Napoleon. Nationalism evolved from an imagined to the real cultural identity that is represented by a common history, common language and common territory. Nationalists at that time traditionally tried to turn the cultural identity to form a political identity, in which political boundaries would coincide with cultural unity. For instance, France is made of French speaking citizens who call themselves the French. The above example may sound overly simplistic, although when someone considers the high number of ethnic factions forced to exist under a government full of another ethnic excerpt, such as in Russia, or Austria of the 19th century, the issue became more obvious. The intermingling and overlapping of groups, each one attempting to found its own identity, would have easily turned into an explosive state.

In general, nationalism was the source of Napoleonic wars and French Revolution. During the era of terror, the people’s leaders called to their people as Frenchmen did to try and repel all foreign armies that hoped to re-establish the Ancient Regimes and conquer the republic. During Napoleon I’s invasions, nationalists’ sentiments throughout France consolidated resistance to Napoleon’s military campaigns. Simply, in the nineteenth century Spanish and German nationalists viewed France to be an oppressor and not a savior (Joseph, Hasan and Eric 27).