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Nationalism And The French Revolution

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The French Revolution brought fourth many new ideas and concepts rarely before imaginable. While the country would end the revolution in somewhat of the same spot it began, with an overarching monarch, there were some key subtle differences from the old regime. While still a dictator, Napoleon Bonaparte was, unlike Louie the XVI, chosen by the people to rule France. Due to an influx of enlightenment ideas and “radical” thinking during the time, the thought that the king was ordained by god to hold his position of power was much less believable and commonly accepted then it had been years before. Taxes, one of the original instigators of the revolution, were now split much more evenly. The new system put in place taxed people based on personal …show more content…

Law could no longer be changed or reinvented on the spot by members of government for their own benefit. Now, it could only prohibit actions which were hurtful to society. These new concepts brought fourth during the revolution would greatly influence not just France, but the entirety of Europe and its direction in the decades to come. Perhaps the most important of these new concepts was Nationalism which encompassed the ideas of pride in one’s nation, fair, nonbiased law, comradery, and a still skewed, but, better version of equality. Nationalism would also bring fourth the concept of legitimate violence which was essentially the thought that war was ok and murder was not. This important concept would be the driving force behind the Napoleonic Wars to come. While the concept of nationalism was most definitely progressive, highly influential, and constructed of good intentions and values it did not always play out as such in soldiers and citizens daily lives during the revolution. Far too often nationalism turned away from its pure ideals and instead lead to prejudice in all types of different people, which was not its conceptual …show more content…

These feeling of superiority can also clearly be seen in civilians of the time like Friedrich Ludwig Burk. Burk was “a prosperous farmer, from Wiesbaden, the capital of the western German principality of Nassau-Usingen” (B & L, 101) who wrote on and off about the Napoleonic Wars and his situation due to the wars in his diary. During the years of 1813 and 1814 Burk apathetically billets many Russian soldiers who are now allied with his country. In his diary Burk writes “November the 2nd. We had to billet Russian dragoons, an evil type of human from the Turkish border, previously a Turk himself” (B & L, 115). This quote depicts Burks prejudice towards the Russian soldiers he is billeting when he refers to them as “an evil type of human” solely based on nationality and assumptions. As if this wasn’t enough to drive my point home Burk also states “Even if the Russians come as friends and allies to Germany, we should still take all our guns and stop these barbarians” (B & L, 116). First, the fact that he is willing to suggest using violence to stop friendly Russian soldiers who are helping his nation out shows how deep his animosity lies. Secondly, referring to the Russian’s as barbarians suggests that he believes himself to be above them by definition of the word barbarian which is used to talk about a primitive and undeveloped human. Two of

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