Nationalism In 1848

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Following the resolution of the Napoleonic wars, the Concert of Europe assembled, bringing together the most powerful monarchs on the continent to form an alliance of checks and balances to preserve the reign of old-world monarchy. Having been challenged by popular sovereignty and Napoleon Bonaparte, the Concert of Europe would try, and fail, to resist the popular nationalism and political liberalism suggested by the French revolutions of 1789 and 1830. In what would blossom into The People’s Spring of 1848, Europeans would exorcise the monarchies of the continent, establishing nationalistic sovereignty. These provisional governments would fail, but would reinforce the potential of popular nationalism and liberalism, two concepts which would …show more content…
David S. Mason finds that nationalism “threatened primarily, of course, the multinational and autocratic state that still controlled most of Europe in the nineteenth century.” Following the French revolution of 1848 which expelled King Louis Phillipe, Europe’s nationalistic sentiments erupted, initiating revolt across the continent. According to Carl Schurz, a German student at the time, “the word democracy was soon on all tongues, […] I was dominated by the feeling that at last the great opportunity had arrived for giving to the German people the liberty which was their birthright.” The net gains of The People’s Spring would be small, but opened doors for Europeans to gradually enact popular governments. Not all of these endeavors were successful, with the powerful leaders of Germany, the Ottoman Empire, and Russia crushing nationalistic separatists—which threatened their multinational empires. Evidently, popular nationalism was ever-present within Europe and would continue to be a people’s sentiment, at odds with the autocracy of their …show more content…
In other words, Spencer believed that government welfare and economic intervention was counter-intuitive to the evolution of humanity, which began “with a barbarous tribe, […] [progressing] towards an economic aggregation of the whole human race, growing ever more heterogeneous in respect of the separate functions.” Thus, Spencer applied Darwinism to European society by disparaging the weak, poor, and unsuccessful in hopes of propagating a more intelligent and successful posterity. With nationalism in mind, this idea afforded an immense degree of power to extremists. In some cases, popular nationalism came to be defined by other, related and reactionary sentiments such as racism, national chauvinism, and imperialism. Needless to say, leaders such as Otto Von Bismarck, English Colonialists, and Adolf Hitler used precepts of this ideology to exert authority over weaker nations and inferior races, affirming the virility of nationalist sentiment within Europe at the time. Hitler argued that should nature “desire the blending of a higher with a lower race, [...] her whole work of higher breeding over perhaps hundreds of thousands of years, might be undone with one blow.” In this way, many Europeans may have experienced a nationalistic sense of “Manifest Destiny” concerning their place in the

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