During the 100-year period of 1814 to 1914 every social group throughout Europe embraced the ideology of nationalism. Its success was largely due to the fact that it offered something for everyone regardless of social or political status. It had no specific ideas for government or economy, just simply whatever is best for the nation. Nationalism also combined well with all other ideologies of the time. However, the different classes of European society accepted nationalism for different reasons and at different times.
In the years 1814 through 1848 nationalism ascended onto European society through the middle class. Shortly after the French Revolution in 1814 the Congress of Vienna was placed in charge of reconstructing Europe. In France the monarchy was restored. By 1830, Louis Philippe was king of France and had transformed their political system into a government by which only the rich could vote known as the Bourgeois Monarchy. Increasing social and economic discontent in France led the middle class to revolt in 1848. This revolution set up the Second Republic and gave all men in France the right to vote, creating a unifying thread throughout the country. In Germany, the German Confederation was c
It was during this time the second Industrial Revolution occurred. During the time period of 1848 to 1871 the aristocracy and the upper class embraced nationalism. Mass society and culture was extremely important in the spreading of nationalism among the lower classes. Mass society and culture helped to create a feeling of togetherness and unity. But, by 1830 the middle class had grown large enough to force a revolution. I believe that the spread of nationalism throughout European society was a positive development. Unlike the other ideologies of the time, nationalism proposed self-sacrifice for the good of others. Through tools like the cinema, dance halls, and sporting events people could be brought together in large groups, which offered a sense of community and family. In 1884 Germany activated accident insurance plans for workers in factories. They saw, through revolts, the dangers of simply disregarding nationalism and found it more beneficial to simply compromise and blend the two together. However, I believe that at the beginning of the 20th century the idea of Social Darwinism corrupted it and allowed nationalism to be twisted by those who would exploit it. Due to the fact of taxes and tariffs many middle class business owners supported the idea of a single unified nation-state. Unfortunately, before they were able to apply their plan German kings charged in with their large armies and stopped the revolution. The belief that one's own nation is superior or at least the strongest helped to create a feeling of patriotism and pride among the lower classes.