NCERT SOL Ch 1 The Rise of Nationalism in Europe


1. Write a note on :

(a) Guiseppe Mazzini (b) Count Camillo de Cavour

(c) The Greek War of independence (d) Frankfurt Parliament

(e) The role of women in nationalist struggles

Ans. (a) Guiseppe Mazzini (1807 – 1872) was an Italian revolutionary who spearheaded the movement for Italian unification. He was sent into exile in 1831 for attempting a revolution in Liguria. He founded underground societies named ‘Young Italy’ and ‘Young Europe’. He was an ardent advocate of republicanism and envisioned a united, free and independent Italy. He was the spiritual force behind the Italian unification. Mazzini believed that God had intended nations to be the natural units of mankind. So Italy could not be a patchwork of small states and kingdoms. Mazzini’s relentless opposition to monarchy frightened the conservatives. Metternich described him as ‘the most dangerous enemy of our social order’.

(b) Cavour became prime minister of Sardinia-Piedmont in 1852, under Victor Emmanuel II, under whose rule the Italian unification was achieved. He was neither a revolutionary nor a democrat but a realist who practised realistic politics. A brilliant and steadfast diplomat, he reorganised his army and threw off the domination of Austria. Through a tactful alliance with France made by Cavour, Sardinia-Piedmont succeeded in defeating Austrian forces in 1859. In 1860, regular troops and armed volunteers under the leadership of Garibaldi drove out the Spanish rulers from South Italy and the kingdoms of two Sicilies. He died in 1861 before the completion of Italian unification in 1870.

(c) Greece had been a part of the Ottoman Empire since the fifteenth century. The revolution for the independence of Greece was waged successfully during 1821 – 1832. Greek nationalists were supported by other Greeks in exile and many West Europeans who loved Greek culture. Poets and artists mobilised public opinion to support the Greek struggle against the Ottoman Empire. English poet Lord Byron organised funds and himself went to fight in the war where he died of fever in 1824. By the Treaty of Constantinople of 1832, Greece was recognised as an independent nation.

(d) Frankfurt Parliament (1848 – 49) was convened at Frankfurt (Germany) on May 18, 1848. The parliament was called by an assembly of liberals who represented the entire political spectrum. Its purpose was to plan and strategise the unification of Germany. The conflict between Austria and Prussia made progress difficult. In March 1849, the parliament adopted a federal constitution of German states, excluding Austria, with a parliamentary government and a hereditary emperor. Friedrich William IV of Prussia was chosen emperor but he refused to accept the crown. The parliament achieved nothing as troops were called and the assembly was forced to disband.

(e) The women demanded equal political rights and universal suffrage. Women had formed their own political associations and founded newspapers. They had actively participated in meetings, struggles and demonstrations. France had over sixty women’s clubs based in various cities, the most famous being Society of Revolutionary and Republican Women. But they were denied suffrage during the election to the Assembly. Even when the Frankfurt Parliament was convened, women were admitted only as observers in the visitors’ gallery.

2. What steps did the French revolutionaries take to create a sense of collective identity among the French people?

Ans. The steps taken to create a sense of collective identity amongst French people by the French revolutionaries included

(i) Ideas of la Patrie (the fatherland) and le citoyen (the citizen) emphasising the notion of a united community enjoying equal rights under a constitution.

(ii) A new French flag, the tricolour.

(iii) A new National Assembly elected by active citizens.

(iv) New hymns, oaths and martyrs commemorated in the name of the nation.

(v) Centralised administrative system.

(vi) Uniform system of weights, measures and abolition of internal customs.

(vii) Discouraging regional dialects and promoting French as a common language of the nation.

3. Who were the Marianne and Germania? What was the importance of the way in which they were portrayed?

Ans. Female allegories were invented in the 19th century. In France, she has christened Marianne, underlining the idea of a people’s nation. Marianne’s characteristics resembled that of Liberty and Republic, i.e. the red cap, the tricolour and the cockade. Marianne’s statues were erected in public squares to remind the public of the national symbol of unity and to persuade them to identify with it. Marianne’s images were marked on coins and stamps. Germania became the allegory of the German nation. In visual representations, Germania wears a crown of oak leaves, as the German oak stands for heroism.

4. Briefly trace the process of German unification.

Ans. (i) In the 1800s, nationalist feelings were strong in the hearts of the middle-class Germans. They united in 1848 to create a nation-state out of the numerous German States. But the monarchy and the military got together to repress them and they gained support from the landowners of Prussia (the Junkers) too.

(ii) Prussia soon became the leader of the German unification movement. It’s Chief Minister Otto von Bismarck was the architect of the process with support from Prussian army and Prussian bureaucracy.

(iii) The unification process was completed after Prussian won wars with Austria, Denmark and France over seven years time.

(iv) In January 1871, the Prussian king, William I, was proclaimed the German Emperor in a ceremony held at Versailles.

5. What changes did Napoleon introduce to make the administrative system more efficient in the territories ruled by him?

Ans. The Civil Code of 1804 – called the Napoleonic Code – was exported to the regions under French Control.

(i) In the Dutch Republic, Italy, Germany and Switzerland, Napoleon simplified administrative divisions, abolished the feudal system and freed peasants from serfdom and manorial dues.

(ii) Guild restrictions were removed in the towns.

(iii) Transport and communication systems were improved.

(iv) Peasants, artisans, workers and new businessmen enjoyed newfound freedom.

(v) Uniform laws, standardised weights and measures and a common national currency were introduced.

6. Explain what is meant by the 1848 revolution of the liberals. What were the political, social and economic ideas supported by the liberals?

Ans. (i) In February 1848 in France, the French monarchy was forced to abdicate and a republic was proclaimed. On 18 May 1848, Frankfurt Parliament was held.

(ii) The term ‘liberalism’ derives from the Latin root liber meaning free. The middle-class believed in the individual’s freedom and that the law must view everyone with equality. On the political front, liberalism denoted government by consent.

(iii) Equality before law did not necessarily stand for universal suffrage. We may recall that in revolutionary France, which marked the first political experiment in a liberal democracy, the right to vote and to get elected was granted exclusively to the property-owning men. The Napoleonic Code went back to limited suffrage and reduced women to the status of a minor, subject to the authority of fathers and husbands.

(iv) In the economic sphere, freedom of markets and the abolition of state-imposed restrictions on the movement of goods and capital was liberalism. During the nineteenth century, this was a strong demand for the emerging middle classes. (v) Such conditions were viewed as obstacles to economic exchange and growth by the new commercial classes, who argued for the creation of a unified economic territory allowing the unhindered movement of goods, people and capital. In 1834, a customs union or Zollverein was formed at the initiative of Prussia and joined by most of the German States.