The Europe was under the feudal system except for Britain. Until the French Revolution, there was no concept of a Nation. The feudal lords had their territories and there were towns and cities but no Nation.
It was the French Revolution that put the idea of a Nation. A nation was sum total of people and their sovereignty. Due to the French and American Revolution, Nationalism was represented as self-rule.
- Misuse by Absolute Monarchs:
- Role of Revolutionary Thinkers:
- Industrial Revolution & Nationalism:
Napoleon was a foreign invader for the people of Europe and when he decide to invade the rest of Europe, Nationalism grew in people to save their territory against a foreign invader.
The Monarchs took advantage of this nationalism in the heart of people of Europe and they gained the power. Due to which, Europe saw the aggressive Absolute Monarchs in the 19th century, whose main focus was to grow territory and expand colonial empire.
After the war with Napoleon, Europe encountered a lot of democratic revolutions but Monarchs were against the ideas of democracy from French Revolution and they used Nationalism as a shield to defend against democratic revolutions and even continued to increase their territories. They maintained their hold on power by expanding to more colonies and war victories.
The revolutionary thinkers provided a lot to the ideas of democracy. In 1832, Greece got independence from Ottoman Empire and Belgium's democratic revolutions against United Kingdom of Netherlands got them independence in 1839.
These thinkers inspired people to support their local armies, freedom fighters and monarchies for their nation's glory. The thinking of these people were behind the ideas of movement for unification of Germany and Italy.
In the 19th century, Industrial revolution happened in Europe which increased the competition in economic sphere. It resulted in conflict between nations for their acquisition of colonies.