Today,the word “nation” is used so widely.
The nation is a modern concept. During the18th century there was no nation-states and there were only severalempires, kingdoms or duchies. After the 18th century nationalismbegan to change the political and mental world of the Europe. Generally FrenchRevolution is seen as the roots of the nationalism.
The ideas that introducedby the French revolutionaries created a sense of collective identity. TheFrench Revolution transferred the sovereignty form monarchs to the citizens.Also the rise of middle class and spread of liberalism played important roles.
Landed aristocracy was the dominant class in Europe and industrializationcreated new classes. The industrialization started in England in the secondhalf of the 18th century and spread to other European countries. Themiddle class that emerged as a result of the industrial revolution demanded newrights and opportunities. Moreover, between 1830s and 1840sseveral revolutions and upheavals took place around Europe. During the 1830sthere were economic problems in Europe and the rise of food prices and increaseof population worsen the lives of the people.
Especially after the defeat ofNapoleon in 1815, European monarchs tried to secure their positions and becamemore conservative. They were more autocratic and put some restrictions onpeople. Contrary to their actions, people started to question the monarchicalorder and clerical privileges and wanted more liberal rights. Therefore,different secret societies emerged around Europe and they tried to spread theirrevolutionary ideas.
For example, Giuseppe Mazzini, Giuseppe Garibaldi andCavour of Italy are some of the well-known revolutionaries who planted Italiannationalism and founded a united Italy. The rise of printed literature,literacy and press also had important roles. The unification and nationbuilding processes in German and Italy brought a new phase to the worldpolitics.
The spread of nationalism and imperialismincreased the tensions between different states and caused the World War I anddisintegration of multi ethnic empires. Against the imperial hegemony,nationalist movements spread new national states were created. In theOttoman Empire the Balkan Peninsula was the first region that affected fromnational ideas.