© 2005 David Koeller.  All rights reserved.



  • Def: the belief that the principle or one of the principle ends of politics is to promote the interests of the nation.

  • Def: Nation--a group of people with a common language, sharing a common territory; history and culture.

  • While national identity has always existed, it  becomes a dominant form of social identification with the decline of the role of religion as a form of social identification.

  • In the 17th, 18th and even into the 19th centuries, the number of people who were actually conscious of having a national identity is comparatively small.  Even those states, such as France, which we tend to think of as national states had significant national minorities who did not identify with the dominant nationality.

  • As a result, in many places a national culture had to be created.  

    • For example, the Brothers Grimm were ethnographers who looked for a true German literature among the peasants.

    • This was one of the functions of the public school system.

    • Romantic music and art often reflect this in the formation of national styles.

  • While nationalism was one of the important political forces in the 19th century, it did generate some problems::

    • Some states, such as the Russian and Austrian Empires are states, but they are not nations.  They are multi-ethnic empires.

    • Some nations, such as Germany and Italy, have national identities, but they are not part of common state.

© 2003 by David Koeller.  All rights reserved.