The forms of nationalism that emerged in Europe in the 19th century might be the most powerful of all the isms.
Ideologies based on social class and economic causes were not as strong as they could have been because of nationalist sentiment.
The quip "scratch a Communist and you will find a Great Russian nationalist" made the point with disarming frankness.
Some historians think modern nationalism in Europe is unique.
They have different opinions about how far back its roots are.
By the late nineteenth century European nationalism had taken on some distinctive attributes, most notably in the way that modern nation-states were able to mobilize their populations around nationalist themes and concentrate power in the hands of national leaders.
In reference to competing nations, emerging European nations tended to define themselves.
The "spiritual" superiority of non-French nations was emphasized in contrast to the decadence of the French in early nineteenth-century European nationalism.
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Dictionary definitions of modern nationalism usually include references to a nation-state whose citizens are bound together by a sense of common identity in their physical attributes.
In the 19th century, European nationalists claimed territories where their ancestors were buried.
In their claims to a common pure race, many of the nationalistic claims of the nineteenth century seem problematic from the standpoint of the early twenty-first century.
The lack of clear frontiers for many nation-states was explored in the introduction.
Almost all nationalisms claimed that their territories were to beredeemed as rightfully theirs despite the fact that those territories contained other national groups.
Even when the majority of the current population in those territories was of a different nationality, a commitment to gaining or regaining such territories was central to the nationalist program.
In the mystical belief that individuals achieved fulfillment, a sense of higher meaning was associated with national purpose in the early nineteenth-century nationalism and romanticism.
In the early 19th century, liberalism and nationalism were connected, but that belief ran counter to the individualism that was fundamental to liberalism.
The national purpose was believed by many to be part of a divine plan, contrary to the secular foundation of liberalism, and national unity for liberals tended to have less mystical appeals, among them uniform laws and economic regulations that together fostered economic growth.
Irredentist claims brought up a number of issues, the most important of which was how to define "the people" and whether individuals from one people could join those from another.
In a time when the idea of popular sovereignty was replacing the belief in a monarch's divine right to rule, defining the people was important to legitimizing a nation-state.
By the middle years of the 19th century, most observers agreed that the French and the Germans each constituted a people, the first with a long-established nation-state, the second without one but still recognized as having a cultural-linguistic claim to form one in modern times.
Europeans didn't think that Jews or Gypsies were deserving of a modern nation-state.
They were outsiders, not European in origin or culture, their numbers were small, and their potential military power was so insignificant that they would not be able to defend any territory they claimed.
Their populations were not close to a majority in any large expanse of territory.
The peasant class and nobility of the land were considered essential components of a genuine European people.
The Basques were not able to establish a viable modern nationstate because they were too few to be incorporated into a larger state like Spain.
The Slovaks and Ukrainians were largely uneducated and uneducated peasants who spoke local dialects that were not considered genuine languages.
They should be absorbed into the "historical" peoples around them, such as the Magyars, Poles, or Russians.
In order to survive and preserve their identities, leaders of other Slavic nationalities, such as the Czechs, with a more urban, socially diverse, and literate population, generally believed that they needed the protection of a larger political entity.
The idea of major peoples absorbing minor peoples was popular in the 19th century.
Many non- French peoples abandoned their premodern identities and became French.
Many of them did so willingly, even with a sense of relief, because they were escaping the cramped world of the villages and small towns with their pettiness and bigotry.
In the early 19th century, the word "race" was a lot of things.
It was thought that different races could blend into each other.
It was possible that a person could change their racial identity by an act of will, if not from black to white.
Such a definition of race differed from the "scientific" definition of the word that it gradually acquired in the course of the century.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, the word "race" continued to have different meanings in English.
The different associations from language to language grew more significant in the case of the words "nation" and " people".
It was assumed that non-Europeans who came from distant lands, such as Africans or Chinese, could not become members of a European race.
It was claimed that it was impossible for non-Europeans to pronounce European languages correctly because of their different racial nature.
The French nation was seen as a model for other modern nation-states.
It was a "hexagon" of geography and natural frontiers, and also because of the role of popular sovereignty in its history.
In the 19th century, France became a country of a single official language and high culture, as well as universally applied laws, monetary standards, and weights and measures, all centralized in Paris.
Local identities and dialects are still present in villages and small towns, but the French model of what was eventually termed "unitary nationalism" was copied in Latin lands and on the socialist left.
Anti-French feelings were an important part of the nationalism of many European peoples.
The Germans were looked down upon as impractical dreamers, poets, and philosophers because of their political differences.
A characteristic chip on the shoulder and a growing tendency to assert that German culture was superior to that of the French were some of the new national feelings of the Germans.
Almost all emerging peoples engaged in demonizing the Enemy.
The Slavs and Italians under Habsburg rule focused on the Habsburgs as the oppressive other.
The Great Russians and the tsars were the oppressors in eastern Europe.