Liberalism and Nationalism: Work of 1st year of Baccalaureate –

There have been many political-social changes and trends that have evolved and transformed history and among them, the liberalism and nationalism experienced in the 19th century, somehow configured the framework for new changes. We explain below everything about Liberalism and Nationalism: Work of 1st year of Baccalaureate.

Liberalism and Nationalism: Work of 1st year of Baccalaureate

It was between the years 1815-1830 when a series of related and competing ideologies emerged, each with a powerful influence in its own time. That influence often extended into the future and continued to this day. Two of them were liberalism and nationalism, which for your 1st year Baccalaureate work you could define, and at the same time compare, in the following way.

what was liberalism

Beginning in Spain and France during the 1820s, liberalism soon spread to England. Formed by businessmen and professionals, liberals wanted modern, efficient self-government, although they were not always in favor of universal male suffrage and in some way it had already played a role in the different bourgeois revolutions that had arisen previously. wanted freedom of the press and freedom of assembly. They wanted laissez faire constitutions and economic policies, such as free trade and low tariffs. In general, they were against the unions.

what was nationalism

The nationalism was the most powerful of all the “isms” of this period. The strong nation-states of France and Britain had inspired jealousy in the rest of Europe; other nations, disorganized as they were, wanted to unify. The German intellectuals who lived in (and hated) the loosely organized Bund provided much of the vocabulary of nationalism, claiming that each nation had a particular Volksgeist or national spirit. Soon, almost all European linguistic groups wanted to have their own nation. Quickly outlawed by reactionary forces, nationalist groups formed secret societies like Italy’s Carbonari and Germany’s Buschenschaft. These societies distributed propaganda leaflets and planned rebellions. But often, nationalism was combined with other ideological issues, from liberalism to socialism.

In 1831, Joseph Mazzini founded “Young Italy” as a nationalist group, which soon attempted to stage a coup in the Italian state of Sardinia. Soon exiled, Mazzini remained a leading writer on nationalist themes. Nationalism, though driven underground by the Carlsbad Acts, it was still very much alive in Germany in the 1820s and 1830s.

Secondly, in Eastern Europe, the Poles wanted their own state, and in Austria, the Magyars wanted their own kingdom of Hungary. Throughout the Austrian Empire, the various linguistic groups revived the study of their languages ​​and hoped to carve their own nations out of the empire. A particularly powerful nationalist force known as Pan-Slavism began to circulate among various Slavs in Russia, Poland, and Austria. All of these Eastern European groups began a renewed interest in their own cultures.

The other «isms» of the 19th century

In addition to defining both concepts that will focus your work on liberalism and nationalism, it is important that you know that apart from these movements, others emerged that somehow contrasted and even they allied themselves or confronted those indicated.

radicalism and republicanism

radicalism appeared in the 1820s in England as the ‘philosophical radicals’. This principled and unconventional group, made up partly of workers and partly of industrialists, it had its greatest leader in the colorful Jeremy Bentham. The radicals were anti-church and anti-monarchy, and generally opposed the old ways. They were a force unto themselves until 1832, after which merged with British Liberals. Radicalism’s European counterpart is generally known as republicanism, which grew out of the French revolutionary tradition. Republicanism sought complete political equality in the form of universal suffrage. Republicanism opposed the monarchy and the Catholic Church.


Against liberalism was socialism, which sought economic equality for all Y was very much against the ideal of liberalism. Socialism looked at the free market economies of Western Europe in the midst of the Industrial Revolution and saw exploited workers leading miserable existences while manufacturers profited enormously. Socialists felt that with the rich benefiting so much, the poor should get some of the benefits, since the labor of workers supported the entire system. Therefore, the socialists wanted to nationalize parts of the economy, such as the industrial and financial sectors, handing these areas of the economy over to government control. Thus, the benefits could be distributed more equitably among the different members of society. For example, Robert Owen, a manufacturer in Manchester, became upset about the living conditions of his workers and began paying higher wages than other manufacturers, while treating his workers well. advising them against drink and other vices. In fact, Owen did quite well in business despite giving his workers a higher than average salary. Owen wanted to continue the reform and eventually he became frustrated by the slow pace of change in Britain. In 1825, he founded New Harmony, Indiana, an experimental socialist community in the United States. Other important socialist thinkers included the French Saint-Simon and Charles Fourier. Fourier wanted to organize society into groups called “phalansteries,” in which everyone could do whatever work they wanted and receive the same pay. In fact, some phalansteries settled in the United States.


The last major “ism” of the period was conservatism, a reactionary philosophy that supported monarchy and the old ways. Championed by Edmund Burke, who had been horrified by the French Revolution, conservatism advocated making cautious, gradual changes as slowly as possible.

What can we summarize about Liberalism and Nationalism

The The period from 1815 to 1848 saw an explosion of new ideologies. These various “isms” still exist today. Largelythe “isms” were reactions or products of Enlightenment thought, although they were all going in a variety of different directions. Therefore, many of the new movements dealt with ideas that had been around for a while; but it was only in this period that the ideas acquired a formal and coherent structure. As new doctrines were born, the question arose: which would ultimately win? The competition of the “isms” has not yet been fully resolved at present.

Focusing on the liberalism, we have to say that that of the 19th century is not the same as what we now call “liberalism”. In fact, much of what was liberal in the 19th century (free trade, keeping the government out of business) is considered conservative today. Really, then liberalism was the ideology of the bourgeoisie (the business and professional class), and it was oriented to protect bourgeois interests. Still, liberals invariably argued that what was for their benefit was actually for everyone’s benefit. The nineteenth-century liberal tradition has confusedly become what is “conservative” in the United States today.

Secondly, socialist experiments of Owen (New Harmony, Indiana) and Fourier (his “phalansters”) in the United States were too marginal to have much effect on events in Europe. Isolated and composed of highly committed socialists, these socialist experiments they essentially ended up in dead ends. Nevertheless, socialism itself helped give rise to one of the most powerful ideological forces of the 20th century. Some German exiles in France, especially Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, combined the socialist ideas of Owen, Fourier, and Saint-Simon with republicanism in the 1840s to give rise to “communism”, an ideology directed against the power of the liberal bourgeoisie.

And as for the nationalism, Today, we often think of nationalism and patriotism as something that “just makes sense.” “Of course everyone loves their country”, we thought, but nationalism evolved in such a way that it became stronger and stronger from the middle of the 19th century and it would not have a clear solution until well into the 20th century. Between 1850 and 1870 the two most notable cases of the nationalities movement were those that led to the
unifications in nation-states, in two areas where the problem was the existence of
nations divided into several States: in Germany and in Italy.