Nationalism and Industrial Revolution Essay

The impact of nation-states and nationalism in world history

Throughout the history people were tended to express their love for native land, family, feudal lords or governors. However, this love was not usually related to nation-state and has a universal nature. In the twentieth century nationalism became one of the most spread ideologies all over the world. However, almost all the examples of its spread were infamous. Initially, nationalism was intended to encourage people to love their own country, but usually this love developed into expansive policy and intolerance towards other nations. On the one hand, it provides a homogenous state with a titular ethnic group. From the other hand, nationalism has the dark side of the picture. Nationalism usually prevents the representatives of other ethnic minorities from normal life activity in the nation-states. It creates an unfriendly environment in society for people of other race or nationality.

Nationalism is usually considered to appear in the contemporary history. Nation-states appeared under the influence of nationalism. In early history, states were mostly represented by a monarch, and society was represented by a power elite. However, there are some examples of primitive nationalism and nation-states in antique history, e.g. Spartan city-state, consisted mainly from Spartans and isolated from other ethnic groups. It is a generally known fact that nationalism appeared after the French Revolution. It was important for the European countries to transfer from feudal society to capitalistic one. Thus, the nationalism played a significant role in the state system change. We know many examples in the world history, when nationalism, being a leading ideology, caused an economically and military powerful states. Napoleon Bonaparte and his army, encouraged by Pan-French views captured almost the whole Europe. Additionally, nationalism played the same role in the German Empire in the nineteenth century. German Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck supported Pan-German ideology and expansionist foreign policy created a powerful nation state, which managed to replace Great Britain from leading position as a workshop of the world. It was Bismarck who started the successful wars with Denmark, Austria and France. Providing nationalism he managed to unite Germany, which was divided into small separate states for a long time. Although its positive influence on the nation-state economy and society, nationalism can be hardly called a positive system for non-titular ethnic groups other countries bordering with a nation-state. A striking example of friendly nationalism is American nationalism. Every citizen of the USA is considered the American and it helps newcomers to feel more comfortable. The USA was initially a multicultural state. We could also suppose that Manifest Destiny in the USA was a principal trigger for American nationalism.

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In the twentieth century nationalism probably became the most prevailing ideology in Europe as well as in the USA. It was a second time when Pan-German views caused critical situation in Europe. Finally, the First World War emerged from nationalist aspirations in German society, supported by the government. The aftermath of it is commonly known – millions of death and injured and total decline of Germany, which was the most powerful state before this war. Nevertheless, nationalism returned in Germany one more time. Skillfully used by demagogues and tyrants it became a trigger for another world war, but World War Two was even more bloody and fierce than the previous.

Thus, the role of nationalism in world history is hard to overestimate. Nationalism has its pros and cons like every ideology. It makes people to love and respect their country, but at the same time it makes them to think that their nation is supreme. This love often develops into fanatic one, when it created such people as kamikaze in Japan. In the past century nationalism became a weapon against nations when it caused two world wars. World War Two was the last drop which overflowed the world society. Thus, nationalist tendencies are usually blamed.

Main features of the Industrial Revolution in the Atlantic World

The Industrial Revolution was a universal process, but it started in Great Britain in the second half of the eighteenth century. It was caused with the invention of a steam engine and a few technical innovations of that period in metallurgy and textile industry. The Industrial Revolution became a conversion from the manual production to the industrial factories and plants. It declined the number of workers but increased their role in society. Aristocracy was not an absolute power elite, when captains of industry became more important. This had a direct influence on the following bourgeois revolutions in Europe and the end feudal period. Agricultural economy was replaced by industrial economy. England became urbanized country with industrial society.

Being a motherland for the industrial revolution made Great Britain the world workshop that formed the united nation and powerful domestic market. Basically, it made England the most developed country all over the world. The competition was started when the same industrial revolutions took place in Germany, France and the USA. However, the United Kingdom was the most comfortable place for the industrial revolution. Being the biggest colonial empire in the world, Great Britain used all the riches of its colonies for the industry development. For instance, cotton and developments of the new weaving looms made textile industry a breadwinner for the English nation. James Watt who invented the first steam engine made a breakthrough not only in metallurgy, but in all spheres of industry and transportation. It gave birth to steam locomotives and steamships.

The same industrial revolution began in France, however it was a little delayed because of the bourgeois revolution. Economic chaos after this revolution prevented France from catching up with England. Thus, because of revolutions and economic blockade of Great Britain provided by Napoleon, France only fall behind and achieved the progress only fifty years later after the United Kingdom.

As for Germany it also underwent the industrial revolution, but made it even later, than France. However, the it was a much more successful and made Germany next world workshop replacing England. As opposed to France, this delay in technical industrial development was not caused by revolution, but with isolation of Germany and absence of fleet. Additionally, Germans were trying to use only their own developments while France initially used English machines. Also German industrial revolution was different from English and French revolutions with respect to society. There were no cardinal changes in German society due to the industrial revolution, and industrial society appeared according to numerous reforms. Germany’s expansionist policy provided the high growth of the war industry and whole technical development. Preparing for wars usually accelerated industrial development in Germany.

The main specific feature of the industrial revolution in the USA was that there was no need to transfer from a feudal system to capitalistic one. The USA was just created state without those customs and old order that Europe had. Another thing, which promoted American technical revolution was its isolation from Europe. The USA was not involved in European revolutions and wars, which slowed down the development of England, France and Germany. This and constant population increase speed up the development of the USA. Being mostly agricultural country, the USA became technically developed, especially after the Civil war and the abolition of slavery. The industrial revolution would be also delayed if there were no such distinguished inventors as Edison, Singer, Morse and many others.

The industrial revolution in the Atlantic world laid a foundation for the whole world technical development. However, it formed not only new industries, but also a new society. The industrial revolution became a period of transition to the new stage of evolution.

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