How Did Nationalism and the Idea of Nation State Emerge?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

Nationalism and the idea of a nation-state emerged at the end of the 18th century in Europe. The idea was related to a movement among a group of people with shared identities, whose aim was to achieve, maintain and claim the sovereignty of the nation. As a result, the idea of forming a nation-state was born to maintain national sovereignty.

Nationalism and the Idea of Nation State Emerge

At the time of the French Revolution, the idea that people should rule the nation together became popular. Industrialization and social reform ignited the emerging middle class, consisting of laborers, working-class people, businessmen, etc., into realizing their collective interests and national identity. Thus, the idea of nationalism and forming a nation-state to protect the interests of the people emerged.

  • Nationalism emerged in the 19th century as a force that brought about sweeping changes in the political world of Europe.
  • The end result of these changes was the rise of nation-states in place of the multinational dynastic empires of Europe.
  • But a nation-state was one in which most of its citizens, and not just its rulers, came to develop a common identity and a sense of shared history or lineage.

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