United Nation?

There was a lot of tension leading up the Austro-Prussian War also known as the Seven Week’ War. The war was fought between the Austrian Empire with the aid of Germans, and Prussia who was also aided by the Germans and Italy. Prussia ended up winning the war and therefore took control of the German states, leaving Austria as a separate country. In the first set of documents, there are several passages that show the build up to the War. In the first text, Johann Gustav Droysen, a German historian, discusses the relationship between Germany and Prussia where he implies that Prussia is already a part of Germany. Otto von Bismark, an advisor to the King of Prussia states in some of the later passages that he foresees a need for a war between Prussia and Austria because Germany is too small for both to exist under its reign. In the end, Prussia and Germany do end up uniting, creating one nation. The Imperial Proclamation states this newfound concept of unity and nationality which Mazzini discusses in his text. Mazzini, a leader in the Italian unification states that the people of Italy were fighting for the unification of their country. This idea of unification is brought up throughout the texts as either being spread throughout Europe or through each country’s individual will.

Image result for american flag

America is a very powerful, strong nation. We take our national pride very seriously, but recently I feel as though there has been a divide within the nation; or maybe this divide has always existed. A country made up of so many people from many different backgrounds is hard to unify. Do you think America is truly a united nation?

Bismarck and a United German Nation

Author: Known as the “Iron Chancellor”, Otto von Bismarck lived from 1815 to 1898. Under his rule he established a modern German nation by uniting numerous German states. To establish his goals, “he manipulated European rivalries to make Germany a world power, but in doing so laid the groundwork for both World Wars.”[1]

Context: Written in 1866, he is witnessing first hand the need to united Austria and Prussia. In 1864, he led military campaigns in order to make Prussia an influential power in Europe. The Austro-Prussian War occurred in 1866 where the Austrian empire was defeated.

Language: His choices of words are meant to be powerful in describing the situation at hand.

Audience: His intended audience is the leaders of the numerous independent German states. He stresses the need of German national unity under the King of Prussia.

Intent: To provoke the need of unity under the leadership of the King of Prussia. He states, “Austria’s conflict and rivalry with us was no more culpable than ours with her; our task was the establishment or foundation of German national unity under the leadership of the King of Prussia.”[2]

Message: By avoiding the complete destruction of Austria, a friendship between Austria and Prussia needs to be established. If Austria were destroyed, the possibility of it becoming allies with France or any other enemy would be eminent. Prussia needs to unite with Austria to establish a powerful German nation.

Why: The various German states need to be united in order to fight against the other powers residing in Europe. It is a period of modern nationalism where the German states lacked an identity and needed one.

[1] http://www.history.com/topics/otto-von-bismarck

[2] http://legacy.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/germanunification.asp

Day by Day Nationalism

“Nationalism has become general; it grows daily and it has already grown strong enough to keep all parts of Italy united despite the differences that distinguish them.”

-Count Cavour (Camillo Benso)

While this quote from Benso, who would become Prime Minister of Piedmont-Sardinia, applies to Italy it could be applied to many different countries in Europe at the time.  Nationalism is no longer a fad at this time, it is assumed now.  Unity is now a key word in the development of new countries.  Giuseppe Mazzini wrote “unity is a necessity in the world.”  As Count Cavour wrote unity has become strong in Italy but it is needed everywhere.  Unity comes with nationalism and the two words are very important together. Count Cavour touches on it briefly and the important part of his quote is that nationalism is continuing to grow.  It is growing on a daily basis, the people are becoming more unified.  Mazzini also wrote “The question of Nationalities, rightly understood, is the Alliance of Peoples”.  This quote is the basis for what Cavour is seeing put into action.  Cavour says nationalism has become general but he is thinking too general.  While he is looking just at Italy, many other places in Europe are becoming more unified.  This is not a separated occurrence in Italy, many people are taking Mazzini’s words to heart.  Count Cavour did not know it but his writing was a base point of what nationalism is.  Italy is just one of the many in Europe who were “unified despite the differences that distinguish them.”

The Power Of a Unified Nation

The revolutionary texts of both France and the United States focus on the injustices of the people have faced, and both appeal to the natural rights of man. One crucial difference between the two country’s texts, though, foreshadowed the ultimate success or failure of their respective revolutions: who the texts targeted as the barrier to the health of the nation. While the United States looked to the foreign, English King as the enemy of the people, France looked at members of its own citizenry as enemies of the country—a difference that proved destructive to France after its Revolution.

The Declaration of Independence paints the King as the source of all of the colonies’ problems. It is he who has refused to pass laws for the good of the people, and he who has prevented the people from receiving their proper representation. It is, in fact, one long catalogue of every way the King has wronged the American people. By targeting one single person as not only separate from, but an enemy to, the people, the Declaration of Independence was able to unite the people around a shared anger and identity; by clearly identifying the King as their common enemy, they were better able to band together as a unified nation. Indeed, the Declaration repeatedly refers to the collective “us”; it was “our most valuable Laws” that the King abolished, and the King has forced troops among “us” (p. 65). Thus, it creates a unified mass of people, banding together against the King.

France, by contrast, points its finger at its own people as the enemy. As Sieyès rallies the Third Estate together, he declares that “nineteen-twentieths” of France is burdened with the jobs that the privileged “refuse to perform” (p. 72). Thus, he creates a sharp division between 96% of the country, and the seemingly lazy remainder of the population. The First and Second Estates, he makes clear, are the enemies of the Third. Even in the Declaration of the Rights of Man, there is a division among the people; the Declaration only supplies for rights that would help the Third Estate. For instance, it provides for the freedom and equality of all men at birth, something that the First and Second Estates had no need for. Thus, even the Declaration of the Rights of Man, a document meant to protect the whole citizen body, really only belonged to the Third Estate, and was forced upon the First and Second. A document that truly belonged to the whole populace would have included provisions for not just the Third, but the First and Second Estates as well. Unlike the United States, which were able to unify around a common enemy, France was only able to have its Third Estate come together against its First and Second.

As the revolutions in both the United States and France went underway, it became clear what the consequences of this difference in enemies were. The United States was able to unite all thirteen colonies against the King, and, after winning the War, was able to unify under one confederation. France, by contrast, had a revolution where the people were unable to find an outsider against which the whole populace could unify; the people had no common cause, and so turned against each other even after the monarchy had been overthrown. Indeed, the Reign of Terror that followed the Revolution was largely caused by government officials’ own paranoia that their own people were turning against them. Thus, the inability of the country to unite in revolution caused instability and danger for years afterwards.

And so, even though both France and the United States had similar goals—to better the government’s representation of the people and to structure the government to best protect Man’s natural rights—it was not the systematic change that ultimately made the difference in the success of their governments; it was whether or not their people had ever been able to join together as one, single nation.