Dr. Bruce Farcau
Discuss how the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars altered the nature of European international relations. How did both contribute to the development of the nation-state concept?
The Treaty of Westphalia set the tone for international affairs between European countries by recognizing that each sovereign nation is positioned as the sole authority within its territory.
This treaty deemed it inappropriate to intervene in the affairs of another state. Rulers had been granted the authority to govern themselves, with virtually no outside interference.
The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars introduced what would be the two remaining major developments of modern nation states in Europe. Nationalism and the concept of ideology. In reference to ideology, the monarchs that occupied France were at the center of all of the turmoil. The French Revolution brought upon a violent new form of an ideology. It was anti-aristocratic, anti-monarchial, anti-clermatic. At the time, France was a major power in Europe and was thought of as a hearth of intellectual thought. Writers like Voltaire, Rousseau, and Montesqieu, had spread around the continent. Great intellectuals were present around France spreading their beliefs which alarmed many Europeans when it became evident that the French were really overthrowing the government. The French began to call for the integration of Enlightenment ideas into their politics such as equal rights and namely, popular sovereignty. The demand for popular sovereignty would ultimately contribute to the development of nation-states. Other nations saw what was going on in France, and did not want any part because these ideas are now being put into action. An agreement between the European powers was made to contain the rebellion that had let out in France to prevent it from spreading out to other nations. But France had mobilized a massive army by arming its own citizens. The French Revolution had inspired them to fight (they had motivation) Revolutionist France had attempted to create a single French nation. The first step to unify France was to create a single acceptable French language which was imposed on everybody. All education, political, economic, etc. matters would be now conducted in the common French language. The new regime redrew province boundaries to abandon outdated loyalties to shift the focus to the state. And the French opted to rid of the church to a larger stem? So that there would not be a divided loyalty between Catholicism and the state. And the destruction of all underclass. France now recognized the lower classes...