Nationalism in Europe and growth of Nationalism in Europe

  • Nineteenth Century was associated with the rise of nationalism and nation states.
  • Nationalism in Europe can be seen from the decline of Feudalism and the beginning of Renaissance.
  • The Renaissance in Europe fostered new political ideas.
  • Frederic Sorrieu was a French artist famous for prints prepared in 1848 that visualized the dream of a world consisting of Democratic and Social Republics.

Nationalism is a feeling of oneness with the society or the state, love and devotion for the motherland and belief in the political identity of one’s country are the basic attributes of nationalism.

  • The concepts of liberty, equality, fraternity and nationalism dominated the social and political scene of Europe in the 19th century.

French Revolution :

  • The French Revolution in 1789 was an influential event that marked the age of revolutions in Europe.
  • The major outcome of the revolution was the formation of a constitutional monarchy and a sizeable reduction in the royal and feudal privileges.

Constitutional monarchy, system of government in which a monarch shares power with a constitutionally organized government.

  • It paved the way for the achievement of bigger goals of national identity and national pride, which can be aptly called Nationalism.
  • After the French Revolution, emerged a famous historical personality and warrior, Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • He introduced several effective administrative changes like the Civil Code of 1804, also known as the Napoleonic Code.

Salient features of the French Revolution were:

  • Absolute monarchy in 1789 changed into sovereign system
  • Ideas of La patrie (the fatherland) and Le citoyen (the citizen) adopted.
  • Estates General elected by the body of active citizens and renamed the National Assembly.
  • French armies moved into Holland, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy in the 1790s with a promise of Liberty the people from their despotic rulers.

Advent of Liberalism in Europe :

  • During the mid-18th century, Europe was divided into several small kingdoms and principalities.
  • The concept of nation-states did not exist at all.
  • People from diverse ethnic groups lived in Eastern and Central Europe.
  • The prominent empires in Europe were ยท the autocratic Ottoman Empire that ruled over Eastern and Central Europe, and Greece and the Habsburg Empire that ruled over Austria-Hungary.

Rise of Conservatism and Revolutionaries :

  • The middle class believed in freedom and equality of all individuals before law.
  • Liberalism was used to end the aristocracy and clerical privileges.
  • After the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815, the European government adopted the idea of conservatism.

Napoleon (1769-1821) ruled France from 1799 to 1815.

Achievements and policy of Napoleon

  • Assumed absolute powers in 1799 by becoming the First Consul.
  • Introduced Civil Code/Napoleonic Code (1804).
  • Established equality before law and abolished all privileges based on birth.
  • Abolished feudal system and freed peasants from serfdom.
  • Taxation and censorship were imposed and military services were made mandatory.

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