CCC Essay

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The nation state, a concept that arose in the nineteenth century, is where both the political entity of the state and a socio-cultural entity of the nation are found together in the same territorial unit. Key examples of these include France, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The main area of debate surrounding the issue of nation states is the role that nationalism played in their formation. I propose that nationalism played a key role in the formation of nineteenth century nation states, but it was to a large extent not in the form of ‘bottom up’ nationalism of the people. Instead, nationalism was mostly ‘top down’, imposed and encouraged by governments, through a wide variety of methods. These included education, the building of monuments, national ceremonies, emphasis on national history, and national armies, amongst other things. All of this is encompassed by Eric Hobsbawm’s theory set out in The Invention of Tradition, which proposed that traditions that define nations are often recent and invented in order to incite nationalism. In addition to nationalism, there were other driving forced behind the formation of nation states. These included the building of transport links such as railways, the creation of postal services, and the use of central administration, which helped significantly in creating more unified nations. Therefore, nationalism was the main factor behind the formation of nineteenth century nation states, but this nationalism was encouraged and imposed by governments.
Central to the imposition of nationalism from above in the formation of nation states was the emphasis placed upon shared national histories and traditions by governments. National histories defined what the nation was and where it had c...

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...nalisation of the masses, and therefore the formation of the Italian nation state. For example, there were monuments to key figures in Italian history throughout the city, such as the statue of Garibaldi, which was purposefully put in the same area as the events involving him took place, on the Gianicolo. Statues such as this emphasised the the great and powerful history of the nation that the government wanted to be disseminated to the public, which at the same time provided a visual form for the national self-consciousness of the Italian people. However, the most striking example of the use of urban structures in promoting nationalism was the pilgrimage to the tomb of King Victor Emanuel II in January 1884, which was located at the Pantheon of Rome. Given that 76,000 pilgrims travelled to the tomb of a monarch, who was a symbol of national unity, it is clear that
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