Nationalism and the Frenc

Nationalism major part of the French Revolution, which itself was the creation of a new French nation.  In the introduction to Johann Gottfried von Herder’s “Materials for the Philosophy of the History of Mankind” Paul Halsall wrote “People are not naturally aware that they belong to a nation”.  The French Revolution went a long way in establishing the idea of French nationalism.  An important factor of that was the poem “La Marseillaise” which later became the national anthem of France.  The entire poem is about defending the “fatherland” from “foreign cohorts”.  The French Revolution went a long way in creating a new French national identity.

The nationalists in France worked very hard to keep their vision alive.  They define what Halsall described as “In almost every case nationalists envision much broader boundaries, and have gone to considerable trouble to construct and defend these boundaries with particular interpretations of history.”  The French went to a lot of trouble during their revolution, a time that featured many executions in order to maintain control.  They also had very different views of their place then the nobles or clergy did.  The Third Estate believed that their Supreme Being did not give them their tyrants but it was their job to rid the country of them.  The French Third Estate spared no expense when it came to enforcing the new, national way of living.  They created an entire new society to fit with the new ideas of France.  From creating a new calendar to editing playing cards and chess the French definitely went to “considerable trouble” to maintain their beliefs.

 

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