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The concept of nationalism and imperialism played a significant role in shaping the world during the 19th and 20th centuries. During the French Revolution, artists represented the nation as female allegories to give the abstract idea of the nation a concrete form. For example, Liberty, Justice and the Republic were represented through specific objects or symbols. In France, the female figure was called Marianne, who symbolized the people’s nation. Statues of Marianne were erected in public squares to promote the national symbol of unity, and she was also depicted on coins and stamps. Similarly, Germania became the allegory of the German nation, and she was depicted wearing a crown of oak leaves.
However, by the last quarter of the 19th century, nationalism transformed into a narrow creed with limited aims, and nationalist groups became increasingly intolerant of each other, ready to go to war. The major European powers manipulated the nationalist aspirations of the subject peoples in Europe to further their own imperialistic aims. The Balkans was a major source of nationalist tension in Europe after 1871, as it was a region of geographical and ethnic variation with a large part of it under the control of the Ottoman Empire. The spread of the ideas of romantic nationalism and the Ottoman Empire’s inability to modernize led to the disintegration of the empire, and the Balkan peoples declared independence based on nationality. The Balkan states were fiercely jealous of each other, and big power rivalries among European powers made the Balkan area an area of intense conflict, ultimately leading to the First World War.
Nationalism aligned with imperialism led Europe to disaster in 1914. However, many colonized countries began to resist imperial domination, leading to anti-imperial movements that were nationalist in nature, as they sought to form independent nation-states and were inspired by a sense of collective national unity. The idea that societies should be organized into nation-states was accepted as natural and universal, and people everywhere developed their own specific variety of nationalism.
Nationalism and imperialism played a crucial role in shaping the world in the 19th and 20th centuries. The female allegories of the nation, such as Marianne and Germania, helped give concrete form to the abstract idea of the nation. However, nationalism transformed into a narrow creed with limited aims and became a source of intense conflict and war in Europe. The anti-imperial movements inspired by nationalism helped form independent nation-states and played a significant role in shaping the world as we know it today.
Textual questions and answers
Write In Brief
1. Write a note on:
a) Guiseppe Mazzini
Answer: Born in Genoa in 1807, Mazzini became a member of the secret society of the Carbonari. As a young man of 24, he was sent into exile in 1831 for attempting a revolution in Liguria. He subsequently founded two more underground societies, first, Young Italy in Marseilles, and then, Young Europe in Berne, whose members were like-minded young men from Poland, France, Italy and the German states.
Mazzini believed that God had intended nations to be the natural units of mankind. So Italy could not continue to be a patchwork of small states and kingdoms. It had to be forged into a single unified republic within a wider alliance of nations. This unification alone could be the basis of Italian liberty. Following his model, secret societies were set up in Germany, France, Switzerland and Poland. Mazzini’s relentless opposition to monarchy and his vision of democratic republics frightened the conservatives. Metternich described him as ‘the most dangerous enemy of our social order’.
b) Count Camillo di Cavour
Answer: Count Camillo di Cavour was a statesman and leading figure in the movement towards Italian unification. Cavour was neither a revolutionary nor a democrat. Like many other wealthy and educated members of the Italian elite, he spoke French much better than he did Italian. Through a tactful diplomatic alliance with France engineered by Cavour, Sardinia-Piedmont succeeded in defeating the Austrian forces in 1859. Apart from regular troops, a large number of armed volunteers under the leadership of Giuseppe Garibaldi joined the fray. In 1860, they marched into South Italy and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and succeeded in winning support of the local peasants in order to drive out the Spanish rulers. In 1861 Victor Emmanuel II was proclaimed king of united Italy.
c) The Greek war of independence
Answer: Greece had been part of the Ottoman Empire since the fifteenth century. The growth of revolutionary nationalism in Europe sparked off a struggle for independence amongst the Greeks which began in 1821. Nationalists in Greece got support from other Greeks living in exile and also from many West Europeans who had sympathies for ancient Greek culture. Poets and artists lauded Greece as the cradle of European civilisation and mobilised public opinion to support its struggle against a Muslim empire . The English poet Lord Byron organised funds and later went to fight in the war, where he died of fever in 1824. Finally, the Treaty of Constantinople of 1832 recognised Greece as an independent nation.
d) Frankfurt parliament
Answer: In the German regions a large number of political associations whose members were middle-class professionals, businessmen and prosperous artisans came together in the city of Frankfurt and decided to vote for an all-German National Assembly. On 18 May 1848, 831 elected representatives marched in a festive procession to take their places in the Frankfurt parliament convened in the Church of St Paul. They drafted a constitution for a German nation to be headed by a monarchy subject to a parliament. When the deputies offered the crown on these terms to Friedrich Wilhelm IV, King of Prussia, he rejected it and joined other monarchs to oppose the elected assembly. While the opposition of the aristocracy and military became stronger, the social basis of parliament eroded. The parliament was dominated by the middle classes who resisted the demands ofworkers and artisans and consequently lost their support. In the end troops were called in and the assembly was forced to disband.The issue of extending political rights to women was a controversial one within the liberal movement, in which large numbers ofwomen had participated actively over the years. Women had formed their own political associations, founded newspapers and taken part in political meetings and demonstrations. Despite this they were denied suffrage rights during the election of the Assembly. When the Frankfurt parliament convened the Church of St Paul, women were admitted only as observers to stand in the visitors’ gallery.
e) The role of women in nationalist struggles
Answer: Within the liberal movement, which saw a significant presence of women, the place of women in nationalist struggles was a contentious topic. In addition to starting newspapers, political associations, and participating in rallies and protests, women also founded their own political organisations. Despite their active participation, they frequently did not have the right to vote and were treated like minors, who had to obey their fathers or husbands. This happened in 1848 when women were only allowed to participate as observers in the Frankfurt Parliament election. However, women persisted in calling for equal political rights alongside the educated middle classes who were promoting the establishment of a nation-state based on parliamentary principles, such as a constitution, freedom of the press, and the right to associate. In France, a republic based on universal male suffrage was established as a result of the 1848 revolution led by the middle classes. Similar protests calling for constitutionalism and national unification, as well as the issue of women’s political rights, occurred in nations like Germany, Italy, Poland, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
2. What steps did the French revolutionaries take to create a sense of collective identity among the French people?
Answer: The French revolutionaries took various measures and practices to create a sense of collective identity among the French people. These steps included:
- Emphasizing the idea of a united community enjoying equal rights under a constitution through the concepts of “la patrie” (the fatherland) and “le citoyen” (the citizen)
- Adopting a new tricolour flag to replace the former royal standard
- Electing the Estates General and renaming it the National Assembly
- Creating new hymns, oaths and commemorating martyrs in the name of the nation
- Putting a centralised administration in place to formulate uniform laws for all citizens within its territory
- Abolishing internal customs duties and dues, and adopting a uniform system of weights and measures
- Discouraging regional dialects and promoting French, as spoken and written in Paris, as the common language of the nation.
3. Who were Marianne and Germania? What was the importance of the way in which they were portrayed?
Answer: Marianne and Germania were female allegories used by artists during the 19th century to represent the nation in France and Germany respectively. Marianne was used to represent the nation in France and her characteristics were drawn from the ideals of Liberty and the Republic, such as the red cap and the tricolour. Statues of Marianne were erected in public squares and images of her were marked on coins and stamps to serve as a national symbol of unity and to encourage identification with it. Similarly, Germania became the allegory of the German nation and was portrayed wearing a crown of oak leaves as the German oak symbolizes heroism. These allegorical figures played an important role in visually representing the nation and its ideals and encouraging a sense of national identity among the people.
4. Briefly trace the process of German unification.
Answer: In 1848, an attempt was made on a national scale to unify the various regions of the German confederation into a nation-state governed by an elected parliament. This liberal initiative was suppressed by the monarchy’s and the military’s forces, which were supported by Prussia’s major landowners. With the assistance of its army and bureaucracy, Prussia took the lead in the national unification movement. This process was led by Otto von Bismarck, the Prussian prime minister, through three wars against Austria, Denmark, and France that spanned seven years and resulted in Prussian victory and the completion of the unification process. On January 18, 1871, the German Empire was proclaimed with Prussian King William I as the German Emperor. The new state emphasised modernising the currency, banking, legal, and judicial systems in Germany, with Prussian measures and practises frequently serving as models for the rest of the country.
5. What changes did Napoleon introduce to make the administrative system more efficient in the territories ruled by him?
Answer: Napoleon introduced several administrative measures to make the system more efficient in the territories under his rule. He incorporated revolutionary principles and abolished privileges based on birth by implementing the Civil Code of 1804, also known as the Napoleonic Code, which established equality before the law and secured the right to property. The Code was exported to the regions under French control and Napoleon simplified administrative divisions, abolished the feudal system and freed peasants from serfdom and manorial dues. He also removed guild restrictions in towns and improved transport and communication systems. The Napoleonic Code created a confederation of 39 states from the numerous small principalities and standardized the currency, weights, and measures to facilitate the movement and exchange of goods and capital between regions.
1. Explain what is meant by the 1848 revolution of the liberals. What were the political, social and economic ideas supported by the liberals?
Answer: The liberal revolution of 1848 refers to a political revolution led by the educated middle classes in Europe. National unification and the establishment of a nation-state based on parliamentary principles, such as freedom of the press and freedom of association, were the goals of the revolution. The liberals were composed of middle-class professionals, businessmen, and prosperous artisans who drafted a constitution for a German nation with a monarchy subject to the parliament. The Frankfurt Parliament was dominated by the middle classes, who resisted the demands of workers and artisans, resulting in the assembly’s eventual dissolution.
Liberals supported government by consent and equality before the law as political principles. This equality did not necessarily extend to universal suffrage, as evidenced by the French Revolution, in which only men with property were granted political rights. In the realm of economics, liberalism stood for the freedom of markets and the abolition of state restrictions on the free flow of goods and capital, a strong demand of the emerging middle classes. In the German-speaking regions, the middle classes combined their demands for constitutionalism and national unification by voting for an all-German National Assembly through numerous political organisations. However, the assembly was disbanded due to opposition from the aristocracy and the military, as well as the loss of support from workers and artisans. The extension of political rights to women was a contentious issue within the liberal movement, with many women actively participating but being denied the right to vote in the Assembly election. In spite of this, the liberal ideas of the 1848 revolution led to changes in the autocratic monarchies of Central and Eastern Europe, including the abolition of serfdom and forced labour in 1867 and the granting of greater autonomy to the Hungarians in 1867.
2. Choose three examples to show the contribution of culture to the growth of nationalism in Europe.
Answer: Three examples to show the contribution of culture to the growth of nationalism in Europe were:
i. Nationalism developed through cultural movements such as Romanticism, which focused on emotions and intuition rather than reason. This helped express and shape nationalist feelings by creating a sense of shared collective heritage through art, poetry, and folk culture.
ii. Vernacular language and local folklore were emphasized to reach large, mostly illiterate, audiences. In the case of Poland, the use of Polish language became a symbol of resistance against Russian dominance.
iii. The English nation, growing in wealth and power, imposed its influence over the other nations of the British Isles through the Act of Union in 1707, resulting in the formation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, which dominated the parliament. The growth of a British identity meant that Scotland’s distinctive culture and political institutions were suppressed.
3. Through a focus on any two countries, explain how nations developed over the nineteenth century.
Answer: Nationalism in Europe moved away from its association with democracy and revolution in the 19th century and was frequently mobilised by conservatives to advance state power and achieve political dominance over Europe. The nation-building processes in Germany and Italy are examples of this shift.
In 1848, German middle-class nationalists attempted to unite the various regions of the German Confederation into a nation-state governed by an elected parliament. However, this liberal initiative was suppressed by the monarchy and military, with support from Prussia’s wealthy landowners. Otto von Bismarck subsequently assumed leadership of the movement for national unification on behalf of Prussia. The unification of Germany was accomplished with the assistance of the Prussian army and bureaucracy and after three wars with Austria, Denmark, and France. In January of 1871, King William I of Prussia was proclaimed German Emperor. The nation-building process in Germany exhibited the dominance of Prussian state power and emphasised the modernization of Germany’s monetary, banking, legal, and judicial systems.
Italy was divided into a number of dynastic states and the multinational Habsburg Empire. Italy was divided into seven states during the middle of the 19th century, of which only Sardinia-Piedmont was ruled by an Italian princely house. Sardinia-Piedmont, under the leadership of King Victor Emmanuel II, was tasked with uniting the Italian states through war. Assisted by armed volunteers led by Giuseppe Garibaldi, Sardinia-Piedmont defeated the Austrian forces in 1859 through a diplomatic alliance with France. In 1860, they marched into southern Italy and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and won the support of the local farmers. Victor-Emmanuel II was proclaimed king of unified Italy in The English parliament, which had seized power from the monarchy, was the instrument through which a nation-state was forged with England at its center.1861. Italy’s unification was not the result of a sudden upheaval or revolution, but rather a protracted process. With extremely high rates of illiteracy, the vast majority of the Italian populace remained ignorant of liberal nationalist ideology.
4. How was the history of nationalism in Britain unlike the rest of Europe?
Answer: The formation of a British nation in the 18th century was caused by the growth in wealth, importance, and power of the English nation as well as its influence over the other nations of the British Isles. The Act of Union in 1707 between England and Scotland resulted in the formation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, in which England was able to impose its influence on Scotland. The growth of a British identity meant the suppression of Scotland’s culture and political institutions, and the Catholic clans in the Scottish Highlands suffered repression. Ireland, which was divided between Catholics and Protestants, also suffered a similar fate with English help to the Protestants establishing dominance over the largely Catholic country. The new British nation was forged through the propagation of a dominant English culture with symbols such as the British flag, national anthem, and English language being actively promoted. This history of nationalism in Britain differs from the rest of Europe in that the formation of a British nation was a result of the growth of the English nation and its influence over the other nations of the British Isles, as opposed to the development of a nation from a shared cultural and political tradition.
5. Why did nationalist tensions emerge in the Balkans?
Answer: Nationalist tensions emerged in the Balkans because the spread of the ideas of romantic nationalism together with the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire made the region very explosive. The Balkan peoples based their claims for independence or political rights on nationality and used history to prove that they had once been independent but had subsequently been subjugated by foreign powers. Hence the rebellious nationalities in the Balkans thought of their struggles as attempts to win back their long-lost independence. As the different Slavic nationalities struggled to define their identity and independence, the Balkan area became an area of intense conflict. The Balkan states were fiercely jealous of each other and each hoped to gain more territory at the expense of the others, and this was further complicated by big power rivalry among the European powers over trade and colonies, naval and military might. Each power was keen on countering the hold of other powers over the Balkans, and extending its own control over the area, leading to a series of wars in the region.
Q. Summarise the attributes of a nation, as Renan understands them. Why, in his view, are nations important?
Answer: A nation, in the opinion of Ernst Renan, is defined by a long shared history of endeavours, sacrifice and devotion, a heroic past, great men, and glory, which serve as the foundation of a national idea. According to him, a country must have shared past accomplishments, a common present purpose, a record of heroic deeds, and the ambition to do even better in order to be considered a people. He views a nation as a sizable solidarity, whose existence is subject to daily plebiscite, and whose citizens have the right to consult. Renan believes that nations are good and necessary because they protect against the loss of freedom that would result from a world governed by only one law and one master and guarantee liberty.
Q. Discuss the political ends that List hopes to achieve through political measures?
Answer: Friedrich List, a Professor of Economics at the University of Tübingen, believed that the purpose of the zollverein (a German customs union) was to bind the German people into a nation both economically and materially. He believed that this would be achieved by protecting the nation’s interests externally and by stimulating internal productivity. List’s aim was to awaken national sentiment by promoting the fusion of individual and provincial interests through a free economic system, which he saw as the only way to engender national feeling.
Q. Discuss the importance of language and popular traditions in the creation of national identity
Answer: Language and popular traditions played a significant role in the creation of national identity. In Poland, the use of Polish language was used as a weapon of national resistance against Russian rule, where the Polish language was forced out of schools and the Russian language was imposed everywhere. Members of the clergy in Poland started to use Polish for church gatherings and religious instruction, leading to a large number of priests and bishops being punished for their refusal to preach in Russian. The use of Polish came to symbolize the struggle against Russian dominance.
Similarly, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the brothers who published Grimms’ Fairy Tales, saw the collection of old folktales as an expression of a pure and authentic German spirit and considered their projects as part of a wider effort to oppose French domination and create a German national identity. They also believed in the importance of the German language and published a 33-volume dictionary of the German language.
Thus, the examples show the importance of language and popular traditions in the creation of national identity as they can be used to resist dominant cultures and assert a unique cultural heritage and national spirit.
Q. Describe the cause of the Silesian weavers’ uprising. Comment on the viewpoint of the journalist.
Answer: The contractors who provided the Silesian weavers with raw materials and placed orders for finished textiles also drastically reduced their payments to them, which led to the uprising. The contractors took advantage of the workers’ extreme poverty and their desperate search for employment. The weavers marched to the contractor’s mansion to demand higher pay, but when their demands were rejected and threats were made, a group of weavers forced their way inside, destroyed the property inside, and stole supplies of cloth. Eleven weavers were shot during the subsequent exchange after the contractor returned with the army.
The workers in the Silesian village where cotton weaving was the most common occupation faced extreme misery, according to journalist Wilhelm Wolff. He recounted the uprising of the weavers’ events and the contractor’s and army’s subsequent responses. He appears to have sympathy for the weavers’ situation and the unfair treatment they received from the contractors.
Q. Compare the positions of the questions of women rights voiced by the three writers cited above. What do they reveal about liberal ideology?
Answer: On the subject of women’s rights, the three authors mentioned hold divergent opinions. According to one author, women should have the same opportunities and rights as men, including the ability to participate in political processes and cast ballots. In addition, he sees women’s rights as a fundamental component of a progressive and democratic society and sees liberal ideology as a means to achieving these goals.
Another author adopts a more balanced stance, emphasising both the importance of women’s rights and the need to uphold traditional gender roles and values. He contends that women ought to have some rights, but not to the point where it upsets the social order as it currently exists.
On the other hand, the third author holds more traditionalist views and thinks that women should not have any political rights or participate in political matters. He believes that women should stay at home and that their only responsibility is to care for and support their families.
Extra/additional questions and answers/solutions
1. What did Frédéric Sorrieu visualize in his 1848 print series?
Answer: Frédéric Sorrieu visualized a world made up of democratic and social republics in his 1848 print series.
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73. Why did nationalism lead Europe to disaster in 1914?
Answer: Nationalism, aligned with imperialism, led Europe to disaster in 1914 as intense rivalries among the European powers over the Balkan area led to a series of wars in the region and finally the First World War.
74. What was the outcome of anti-imperial movements worldwide?
Answer: The anti-imperial movements worldwide resulted in the formation of independent nation-states, inspired by a sense of collective national unity, forged in confrontation with imperialism. The idea that societies should be organized into ‘nation-states’ came to be accepted as natural and universal. However, the European ideas of nationalism were not replicated, and people everywhere developed their own specific variety of nationalism.
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