The Growth of Nation States & Nationalisms in 19th Century Europe

Ref: C2339052

Before the French Revolution state structure was based upon dynastic principles, usually brought together by inheritance among the ruling classes. It was in the nineteenth century that ideas of national groups and national states came to the fore amongst groups that had never considered themselves in such terms. The course will include an examination of the ways in which first of all the ‘historic nations’ consolidated themselves and then promoted that concept amongst the so-called ‘submerged nationalities’. The bringing together of Germans and Italians as nation states was followed by pressure to secure the re-emergence of Poland as a nation state, while the decline of the Eastern European Empires led to calls for their replacement by allegedly ethnically based groupings.

Course aim

To understand how Europe transformed itself from its former pluralist structure into a series of states based upon Nationalistic principles.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Understand the weaknesses of the ‘Ancien regime’
  • Appreciate the impact of the French Revolution and Napoleonic ideas
  • Assess the process by which the German and Italian states emerge during the 19th century
  • Examine the suppressed nationalities of Eastern Europe
  • Discuss the emergence of concepts of nationalism amongst groups usually thought of in religious terms.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • All materials will be provided

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full Course information sheet

The Growth of Nation States & Nationalisms in 19th Century Europe


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  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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