Nationalist Thinkers and Ideas

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778)

  1. General will – that government should be based on the indivisible collective will of the ‘community’ and that nations have the right to govern themselves.
  2. Civic nationalism – where the state is legitimate because it is based on the active participation of its citizens.

Rousseau is seen as the father of modern, especially liberal, nationalism. He argued that national governments should derive their authority from the collective will of the people, and act in their interests- the idea of the ‘general will’. In addition, these nations should govern themselves. The government should respond to and enact the wishes of the people, rather than directing the people. He also developed a civic idea of nationalism, where the state is legitimate due to the fact that its citizens can actively participate in it.

Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744–1803)

  1. Cultural nationalism – every nation was different, and that every nation had its own unique cultural character.
  2. Volk –the Volk (the people) identified as the root of national culture and special nature (volksgeist), which each nation should try to express.

Herder is associated with culturalism, rejecting rational forms of nationalism. Instead, he suggested that each nation is different in essence, and this is revealed through distinct culture, customs, languages, folklore and shared history. People should be encouraged to understand the distinctive qualities of their nation. The volk (people) are the root of national culture. Herder saw nationality as important, suggesting that patriotism was an important quality to have.

Charles Maurras (1868-1952)

  1. Integral nationalism – an intensely emotional form of nationalism where individuals were encouraged to submerge themselves into their nation.
  2. Militarism – integral nationalism encourages nations to have a strong military ethos.

Maurras was a French nationalist who supported integral nationalism, which influenced fascist ideas. He believed that nations should be put before individuals, allowing for a totalitarian state which would be aggressively expansionist, dominating all aspects of society. Individuals would be expected to be devoted to the nation and unquestioningly loyal to it. He also suggested that countries best placed to achieve independence and statehood are those with strong armed forces, which will then lead to integral nationalism.

Giuseppe Mazzini (1805–1872)

  1. Nationhood –humans could express themselves only via their nation and that human freedom rested on the creation of one’s own nation-state.
  2. ‘Action’ – rejection of intellectualism and rationalism, and creation of an idea known as ‘thought and action’.

Mazzini is associated with the cause of Italian unification. He thought that people needed to be part of a nation in order to express themselves and enjoy their rights, therefore freedom was dependent on living in a nation-state. What follows is that the nationalist cause is the most important one. Patriotism was seen as a duty. Mazzini rejected intellectualism and rationalism, believing instead that each thought must be followed by an action. He thought that people had been divided into nations by God, and remained deeply spiritual through his life, despite some criticism by him of the Catholic Church.

Marcus Garvey (1887–1940)

  1. Black pride –African people encouraged to be proud of their race and to see beauty in their own kind.
  2. Pan-Africanism – that African people, in every part of the world, were one people and that they would never progress if they did not put aside their cultural and ethnic differences.

Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and is associated with black nationalism. He thought that African people should embrace and be proud of their cultural identity, including physical characteristics, (black pride) and wished for the creation of a United States of Africa. He advanced a philosophy of pan-Africanism, where the imperialist rule should be ended and modern, self-sufficient African nations should be developed. This would allow black people to be respected by white people, as they would prove capable of running and organising economically successful nations. He also supported racial separatism, although did not wish for hostility with white people.

The belief that the nation is the central principle of political organisation.
A love of one’s country.
French philosopher seen as the father of liberal nationalism.
An unreasoned belief in the superiority of a group.
Theorist associated with integral nationalism.
Former US President who advocated national self-determination.
A country controlled by another country.
The institution in the UK used by conservative nationalists to exemplify the nation.
A form of nationalism emphasising political allegiance based on a vision of a community of equal citizens.
Liberal Nationalism
Italian nationalist theorist, associated with the desire for Italian unification." answername="1525286267904" answer="Mazzini