NCERT Class 10 History Chapter 1: The Rise of Nationalism in Europe YouTube Lecture Handouts

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NCERT Class 10 History Chapter 1: Rise of Nationalism in Europe

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  • In 1848, Frédéric Sorrieu, a French artist – 4 prints on democratic and socialist republics

  • 1st print – people of Europe & America in long train – homage to Statue of Liberty (torch of enlightenment in one hand and Charter of Rights of man in another) with remains of symbols of absolutist (no restraints on power exercised) institutions

  • Utopian (ideal society unlikely to actually exist) vision – people of world are grouped as nations, identified by flag and national costume

  • Leading the procession are USA & Switzerland (already nation states) followed by France (revolutionary tricolor), Germany (black, red and golden flag). Till the time Sorrieu created the image Germans were not united nation and carried liberal hopes in 1848 for unification. Followed by Germans were peoples of Austria, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, Lombardy, Poland, England, Ireland, Hungary and Russia.

  • Nationalism brought change in political and mental world of Europe – led to emergence of nation-state rather than multi-national dynastic empire. Under nation state – sense for common identity and shared history developed & was result of struggle, action of leaders and common people

  • Renan in “What is Nation?” - A nation is the culmination of a long past of endeavors, sacrifice and devotion. A heroic past, great men, glory that is the social capital upon which one bases a national idea. Its existence is a daily plebiscite (direct vote to accept or reject proposal)

French Revolution

  • 1st expression of nationalism in 1789

  • Transfer from monarchy to body of French citizens – people constitute the nation and shape the destiny

  • The ideas of la patrie (the fatherland) and le citoyen (the citizen) emphasized the notion of a united community enjoying equal rights

  • New French tricolor flag to replace former royal standard

  • Estates General was elected and renamed as National Assembly

  • Centralized administrative system with uniform laws for citizens within territory

  • Abolish internal custom duties and dues

  • Formulate uniform system of weights and measures

  • French became a common language and regional dialects were discouraged

  • Aim to liberate people of Europe from despotism

  • Establishment of Jacobin clubs – French army moved into Holland, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy in 1970s

  • Developments under Napoleon – Civil Code of 1804 (Napoleonic Code) did away with privileges based on birth, established equality and secured right to property. He abolished feudal system and freed peasants from serfdom. He removed guild restriction and improved transportation.

  • Initially French armies were welcomed in Brussels, Mainz, Milan and Warsaw, Holland and Switzerland as harbinger of liberty but later turned hostile as there was increased taxation, censorship and forced conscription.

Image of Europe after Congress of Vienna, 1815

Image of Europe After Congress of Vienna, 1815

Europe after Congress of Vienna, 1815

Making of Nationalism in Europe


  • 1797 – Napoleonic Wars begin

  • 1814-1815 – Fall of Napoleon

  • 1821 – Greek struggle for independence

  • 1848 – Revolutions in Europe – demand for nation states by Italians, Germans, Magyars, Poles, Czechs

  • 1859-1870 – Unification of Italy

  • 1866-1871 – Unification of Germany

  • 1905- Slav nationalism gather force in Habsburg & Ottoman

Habsburg Empire (Austria-Hungary) - many different regions and peoples. It includes:

  • Alpine regions – Tyrol, Austria and the Sudetenland

  • Bohemia - German-speaking

  • Italian-speaking provinces of Lombardy and Venetia

  • Hungary – half population spoke Magyar & others regional dialects

  • Polish speaking people in Galicia

Peasants - Bohemians and Slovaks to the north, Slovenes in Carniola, Croats to the south, and Roumans to the east in Transylvania

Dominant class on this continent – Landed aristocracy united by common way of life, owned estates & town houses, spoke French for diplomacy, connected by marriage ties but was small in number

Peasantry was majority

West Europe – farming by tenants and small owners

East & Central Europe – vast estates cultivate by serfs

West & central Europe – growth of industrial production, emergence of commercial class

2nd half of 18th century – industrialization in England & in 19th century in French and German states

Liberal Nationalism – liberalism (Latin – liber means free) means freedom for individual and equality of all before law. It stood as end of autocracy and clerical privileges & stressed inviolability of private property

Universal suffrage – France – initially only property owned man had right to vote. Under Jacobins, right was given to all adult males. Under Napoleon, righted were limited and reduced for women. Later opposition movements began.

Liberalism stood for freedom of market and abolition of state imposed restrictions on movement of goods and capitals under economic sphere. Demand for emerging middle class increased.

Under Napoleon – confederation of 39 states with own currency, weights and measures. Merchant had to pass numerous custom barriers and pay custom duties on all.

Elle (measurement for cloth) – In Frankfurt was 54.7 cm of cloth, in Mainz it was 55.1 cm, in Nuremberg it was 65.6 cm, in Freiburg it was 53.5 cm.

In 1834, a customs union or zollverein was formed at the initiative of Prussia and joined by most of the German states. The union abolished tariff barriers and reduced the number of currencies from more than 30 to 2. Idea was to bind economically, protect external interest and stimulate internal productivity.

Conservatism After 1815

  • Conservatism is a philosophy that stresses on tradition, customs and prefers gradual change

  • They believed modernization can strengthen traditional institutions like monarchy making state more effective

  • Modern army, efficient bureaucracy, dynamic economy, abolition of feudalism and serfdom could strengthen autocratic monarchies of Europe

  • In 1815, Britain, Russia, Prussia and Austria who collectively defeated Napoleon met at Vienna under Congress hosted by Austrian Chancellor Duke Metternich to draw Treaty of Vienna. Idea was to undo changes that happened under Napoleonic wars. Kept a check on expansion of French territory with Netherlands including Belgium in north & Genoa in south, Prussia on west & Austria controlled north Italy. Prussia given part of Saxony & Russia given part of Poland. Confederation of 39 states of German was untouched. Sole objective was to restore monarchies overthrown by Napoleon.

  • This regime was autocratic, did not tolerate criticism & curbed activities that questioned legitimacy of autocratic government. Censorship laws were imposed to control what has been said in newspapers.

The Revolutionaries

  • Secret societies sprang up to train revolutionaries and spread ideas, oppose monarchy after Vienna congress and fight for liberty and freedom.

  • Giuseppe Mazzini, Italian: born in Genoa in 1807 & became member of Carbonari secret society. Was exiled in 1831 for revolution in Liguria. Formed 2 societies as Young Italy in Marseilles & Young Europe in Berne (1833). He explained God has intended nations to be natural units of mankind. So Italy must be forged with single unified republic. Metternich described him as ‘the most dangerous enemy of our social order’.

Age of Revolutions: 1830-1848

  • Revolutionaries were educated middle class elite, professors, school teachers, clerks and commercial middle classes.

  • France upheaval in 1830 – Bourbon kings restored to power were overthrown by liberal Louis Phillippe

  • Metternich said ‘When France sneezes, the rest of Europe catches cold.’

  • July Revolution sparked uprising in Brussels that led to Belgium breaking away from UK of Netherlands.

  • Greek war of independence – Greece was part of Ottoman Empire since 15th century & struggle began in 1821. Nationalist in Greece got support from Greece living in exile. Lord Byron organized funds and later went to fight in the war, where he died of fever in 1824. Treaty of Constantinople of 1832 recognized Greece as an independent nation.

Imagination & National Feeling

  • Nationalism came across by idea of culture (poetry, story and music) along with wars and territorial expansion.

  • Romanticism – criticized glorification of reason and science & focused on emotions, intuition and mystical feelings. Idea was to share collective heritage, common cultural past and basis of nation.

  • French painter Delacroix – incident where 20,000 Greeks were said to have been killed by Turks on the island of Chios.

  • Johann Gottfried Herder, German – discover German culture among common man (das volk) – by folk songs and dances spirit of nation (volksgeist) was popularized

  • Collection of vernacular language and folklore to carry message to illiterate audiences

  • Poland was partitioned by Great Powers (Russia, Britain & Austria) and feelings kept alive by music and language. Polish language was forced out and Russian became the common language. Members of the clergy in Poland began to use language as a weapon of national resistance. Polish was used for Church gatherings & seen as symbol of struggle against Russian dominance.

  • Karol Kurpinski celebrated the national struggle through his operas and music, turning folk dances like the polonaise and mazurka into nationalist symbols

  • Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm who published 1st tales in 1812 & later published 33 volume dictionary of German language. French domination was considered a threat to German culture and their folktales were useful in building nationalistic feelings.

  • 1830s – years of economic hardships in Europe

  • 1st half of 19th century – increase in population in Europe

  • Population migration to urban areas and increasing slums

  • Stiff competition from cheap machine made imports

  • Peasants struggled under burden of feudal dues and obligations where aristocracy was in power

  • Rise of food prices and years of bad harvest aggravated the issue

  • 1848 – Widespread food shortage, unemployment in Paris & Louis Phillippe was forced to flee. National assembly proclaimed a republic and granted suffrage to all men above 21 years and guaranteed right to work.

  • 1845 – weavers in Silesia led revolt against contractors who supplied them raw material and gave orders for finished product but drastically reduced payments.

1848: Revolution of Liberals

  • Brought abdication of monarch and republic based on universal male suffrage

  • Germany, Italy, Poland, the Austro-Hungarian Empire – men and women of the liberal middle classes combined their demands for constitutionalism with national unification – constitution, freedom of press and freedom of association

  • In Germany, German National Assembly was formed on 18th May, 1848 with 831 elected representatives. They drafted a constitution for German nations to be headed by monarchy. Friedrich Wilhelm IV, King of Prussia, rejected it and joined other monarchs to oppose the elected assembly. Parliament was dominated by middle class who resisted workers’ demands. Assembly was disbanded and troops were called in.

  • Women formed political associations, founded newspapers and took part in political meetings but were denied suffrage rights. In Frankfurt parliament in the Church of St Paul, women were admitted only as observers to stand in the visitors’ gallery

  • Louise Otto-Peters (1819-95) was a political activist who founded a women’s journal and subsequently a feminist political association (awareness of women rights and interests)

  • Monarchs realized that the cycles of revolution and repression could only be ended by granting concessions to the liberal-nationalist revolutionaries. After 1848, the autocratic monarchies of Central and Eastern Europe began to introduce the changes that had already taken place in Western Europe before 1815. Thus serfdom and bonded labor were abolished both in Habsburg dominions and in Russia. Habsburg rulers granted more autonomy to the Hungarians in 1867.

Making of Germany & Italy

  • Liberal initiative to nation-building in Germany was repressed by monarchy and military & supported by the large landowners (called Junkers) of Prussia.

  • Prussia took leadership for national unification with Otto von Bismarck as the architect. 3 wars over 7 years with Austria, Denmark and France ended in Prussian victory & unification.

  • In January 1871, the Prussian king, William I, was proclaimed German Emperor in a ceremony in Hall of Mirrors, at Versailles

  • New state emphasized modernization of currency, banking, legal and judicial systems in Germany

Image of Unification of Germany (1866-71)

Image of Unification of Germany (1866-71)

Italy Unified

  • Italy had scattered dynasties and Habsburg Empire. In mid-19th century – it was divided in 7 states of which Sardinia-Piedmont was ruled by Italian princely house.

  • North was under Austrian Habsburgs, the centre was ruled by the Pope and the southern regions were under the domination of Bourbon kings of Spain

  • Giuseppe Mazzini – unitary Italian Republic and formed Young Italy. Failure of uprisings in 1831 & 1848 meant Sardinia was now under King Victor Emmanuel II to unify Italy states for war. Unified Italy gave possibility for economic development and political dominance

Image of Italian States before unification, 1858

Image of Italian States Before Unification, 1858

  • Chief Minister Cavour – led unification was neither revolutionary nor democrat. He spoke French better than Italian. In alliance with France in 1859, Sardinia defeated Austria. Garibaldi in 1860 marched to South Italy and Kingdom of Two Sicilies and removed Spanish rulers.

  • In 1861 Victor Emmanuel II was proclaimed king of united Italy. Much of Italy was illiterate and unaware of liberal-nationalist ideology. Supporter of Garibaldi had never heard about Italia and thought “La Talia” was wife of Emmanuel.

  • Garibaldi was sailor. Joined Young Italy movement in 1834 with Mazzini. He lived in exile till 1848 in South America. In 1860, Garibaldi led the Expedition of the Thousand to South Italy. Volunteers joined and were known as Red Shirts. In 1867, Garibaldi led an army of volunteers to Rome to fight the last obstacle to the unification of Italy, the Papal States where a French garrison was stationed. In 1870, French withdrew forces from Rome and Papal States joined to Italy.

Case of Britain

  • Nation state formation was not sudden but a long drawn out process. Prior to 18th century there were ethnic groups like English, Welsh, Scot or Irish with their own culture and traditions. As it grew in wealth and power, influence extended to other nations.

  • English parliament seized power from the monarchy in 1688

  • Act of Union (1707) between England and Scotland resulted in the formation of ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain’ - England was able to impose its influence on Scotland

  • British parliament was dominated by English members and Scotland’s culture was suppressed. Catholics from Scotland suffered repression. Scottish Highlanders were forbidden to speak their Gaelic language or wear their national dress, and large numbers were forcibly driven out of their homeland.

  • Ireland was divided between Catholics and Protestants. English helped Protestants to establish power over Catholic nation. Catholics were suppressed. After failed revolt led by Wolfe Tone and his United Irishmen (1798), Ireland was forcibly incorporated into UK in 1801.

  • Symbols of the New Britain: British flag (Union Jack), the national anthem (God Save Our Noble King), the English language were actively promoted

Visualizing the Nation

  • Nations were portrayed as females. Female figure became an allegory (abstract idea expressed through person or things) of the nation.

  • French used female allegory to portray liberty (red cap or broken chains), justice (blindfolded woman carrying a pair of weighing scales) and republic ideas.

  • In France she was christened Marianne, a popular Christian name, which underlined the idea of a people’s nation. Her characteristics were drawn from those of Liberty & Republic – the red cap, the tricolor, the cockade. Statues erected in public, also marks on coins and stamps were made.

  • Germania became the allegory of the German nation. Germania wears a crown of oak leaves, as German oak stands for heroism.

Image of Attribute And Significance

Image of Attribute and Significance

Nationalism and Imperialism

  • By last quarter of 19th century, nationalists groups became intolerant and raged war

  • Most serious happened in Balkan after 1871

  • Balkans - geographical and ethnic variation included Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Greece, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro - people called as Slavs. Majority of Balkans was under Ottoman Empire. Spread of romantic nationalism & disintegration of Ottoman Empire made this region very explosive.

  • Balkans placed claims of independence on nationality and used history to prove it.

  • Intense rivalry among European powers over trade and colonies as well as naval and military & was seen in Balkans. Russia, Germany, England, Austro-Hungary were trying to control Balkan and led to 1st WW. This nationalism and imperialism led Europe to disaster in 1914.

  • Nations colonized by Europe began to oppose imperial domination.

  • Anti-imperialist movements were nationalist and inspired by collective national unity.

  • European ideas of nationalism were nowhere replicated, for people everywhere developed their own specific variety of nationalism. But idea that societies should be organized into ‘nation-states’ came to be accepted as natural and universal.

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