Short Notes: The rise of Nationalism in Europe

  • Frederic Sorrieu: He was a French artist famous for prints prepared in 1948 that visualized the dream of a world consisting of Democratic and Social Republics.
  • Nineteenth Century: Associated with the rise of nationalism and nation states.
  • Nationalism: 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.
  • Nation State :A state that establishes itself as a separate political and geographical entity and functions as a complete and sovereign territorial unit. This concept emerged in 19th century Europe as a result of the growth of nationalism.
  • Modern State: A state in which  sovereignty is exercised by a centralized power over a specific territory and population.
  • Absolutist Government A system of government wherein limitless powers are vested in a single person or body. It is a monarchical form of government in which the ruler is the absolute authority and is not answerable to anybody.

French Revolution (1789)

  • It marks the beginning of nationalism.
  • France was under absolute monarchy in 1789.
  • The Revolution transferred the sovereignty from the monarch to the French people.
  • Ideas of La patrie (the fatherhood) and Le citoyen (the citizen) adopted.
  • French Flag, the tricolour, adopted replacing the royal standard.
  • Estates General elected by citizens and renamed the National Assembly.
  • A centralized political system established.
  • Internal custom dues abolished.
  • Uniform weights and measures adopted.
  • French became the language of the nation.
  • French armies moved into Holland, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy in the 1790s with a promise of liberating the people from their despotic rulers.

Napoleon (1769-1821)

  •  Ruled France from 1799 to 1815.
  • Assumed absolute powers in 1799 by becoming the First Consul.
  • Civil Code/Napoleonic Code (1804)
  • Established equality before law.
  • Abolished all privileges based on birth.
  • Granted the right to property to French citizens.
  • Simplified administrative divisions.
  • Abolished feudal system and freed peasants from serfdom.
  • Removed restrictions on guilds in towns.
  • Improved transport and communication.
  • Militarily, Napoleon proved to be an oppressor for the people of the conquered territories. Taxation and censorship were imposed and military services were made mandatory.
Free Coaching and mentoring by IITians

Get the free and most effective coaching from IIT Graduates and score less than 5000 rank in JEE Mains and Advanced. To join the program, follow the steps:

  1. Download Eckovation App: Click Here
  2. Join the learning group code: 101010

Europe in the mid-18th Century

  •  No nation states because Europeans never saw themselves as sharing a common identity or culture. E.g., The Habsburg Empire of Austria–Hungary comprised French, Italian and German-speaking people.
  • Europe was broadly divided into two classes during this period namely:

Aristocracy :The land owning class. Numerically small, but dominated Europe, both socially and politically. Spoke French which was considered the language of the high society. Families were connected through marriage.

Peasantry : Tenants and small land owners who worked as serfs. Cultivated the lands of the aristocratic lords.

The growth of trade and industrial production facilitated the growth of towns and rise of a commercial class of traders. Consequently, the new conscious, educated, liberal middle class emerged and popularized nationalism and stood for the abolition of aristocracy.

Liberal Nationalism

  • Means: Individual freedom, Equality before law, Government by consent, Freedom of markets , Abolition of state-imposed restrictions on the movement of goods and capital.
  • Liberalism became the main concern in Europe after the French Revolution because:

Universal Adult Suffrage was not granted to the people by the Napoleonic Code. Men without property and women were denied the right to vote.

Women were made subject to the authority of men.

Markets were not free as the 39 confederacies of France had their own laws which posed problems for the free movement of goods.

There were no standard weights and measures and no fixed rates of custom duties, which greatly affected the trade.


Stands for the preservation of the traditional institutions of state and society such as the monarchy, the church, social hierarchies and family along with the modern changes introduced by Napoleon. Conservatism as a political ideology arose after the defeat of Napoleon in 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo.

The conservative regimes

  •  Were autocratic
  • Were intolerant to criticism and dissent
  • Adopted the censorship of press for curbing the liberal ideals
  • Discouraged any questions that challenged their legitimacy

Congress of Vienna (1815)

For drawing a new settlement for Europe and restoring the monarchies that were overthrown by Napoleon for creation of a new conservative order. The salient features of the treaty were as follows:

  • The Bourbon dynasty restored to power in France.
  • France was disposed of its conquered territories.
  • Kingdom of Netherlands, which included Belgium, was set up in the North and Genoa was set up in the South for preventing French expansion in future.
  • Prussia was given new territories, including a portion of Saxony.
  • Austria got control over Northern Italy.
  • Russia got Poland.Napoleon‟s confederation of 39 states was not changed.

The Revolutionaries

Upholders of the idea of liberalism and against the conservative regimes of the 19th century. Many secret societies were formed whose main aims were:

  • Training the revolutionaries and spreading their ideas throughout Europe.
  • Opposing monarchical governments established after the Vinna Congress of 1815.
  • Fighting for liberty and freedom from autocratic rule.
  • Emphasizing the idea of creation of nation states.
Free Coaching and mentoring by IITians

Get the free and most effective coaching from IIT Graduates and score less than 5000 rank in JEE Mains and Advanced. To join the program, follow the steps:

  1. Download Eckovation App: Click Here
  2. Join the learning group code: 101010

*notes will be updated by next week.

Don't miss out!
Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Learn new things. Get an article everyday.

Invalid email address
Give it a try. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *