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The rise of the nation‐state during the Age of Revolution: Revisiting the debate on the roots of nations and nationalism

Nations and Nationalism

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["Nations and Nationalism, EarlyView. ", "\nAbstract\nRecent historical studies tend to confirm the antimodernist interpretation, emphasizing the strong premodern roots of nations and nationalism. However, a broad comparative analysis of the rise of the nation‐state during the Age of Revolution shows that earlier notions of nationhood did not have a significant role in the creation of nation‐states in Europe and the Americas. They were not the consequence of a glorious national revolt, but of a clash between the Old Regime and new ideals of political legitimacy. Many of these conflicts led to civil wars and the survival of the nation‐state was mostly determined by the geopolitical constellation. The boundaries of the nation were defined in terms of civilization, whereas language and culture were largely irrelevant. Within these new nation‐states, a universalist nationalization process began. In many instances, citizenship was awarded easier to foreigners than to “uncivilized” inhabitants, while Classical Antiquity was preferred over the national past.\n"]