Are changes in society due to an evolution of thinking or as a result of the forces of nationalism? The word revolution, when referring to government systems, means, great change, a violent overthrow of the present government. The French revolution did involve a great change and the effects of the new ideas spread across Europe, abolishing the feudal system and traditional thinking. To say that evolution in thinking was the cause of society s changes would be elementary at best. Mankind has been around for a very long time, yet only recently has this emergence of ideas and forces occurred. Napoleon saw the ideas that came from the revolution and philosophers, he instituted them across France and the regions that he had dominion over. If the revolution didn t occur, society would now be as it was then, despite all the new ideas spewing from various liberal thinkers. Nationalism caused the average person to look beyond their local community, now they look around fully within their nation state borders and at other countries. Evolution created to ideas, but alone all they would be, are ideas. Forces of nationalism resulted in the actual changes in society. The French revolution started nationalism in Europe, making the country borders, which were for the most part, based upon differences in culture. Nationalism strengthened patriotism and other values, giving people the ideas and will to over throw empires. One example of this was Bismarck unifying Germany into one country. Freedom from empires gave the freedom for new ideas to be expressed and put into use. Economical transformations resulted and many nation states thrived with an era of political and social justice. How can someone say that the political, intellectual, economic and social changes resulted from an evolution of thinking? It is clear that the revolution in France, which led to Napoleon s rule, let the idea from philosophers be realized. While changes in government have always be thought, they were never before institutionalized. The French revolution was not the first. History has seen the rise and fall of many races and empires, from the Huns to Caesar. Yet not until the Napoleonic Period (1799-1815) were these radical ideas implemented. The combining of several states into one country was done in this period; one example is Germany wherein three hundred states were unified into just thirty.
Countries today highly reflect upon thoughts of nationalist. Many countries are indeed characterized by their ethnic origins. This has unfortunately been the cause of war and strife, due to the placement of borders or lack of a people s own country. To decide whether or not the forces of nationalism are the cause, lets look at what nationalism has done. The breakup of U.S.S.R. is one of the main examples, patriotic sentiments forced one of the stronger empires to split. One of the advantages of nationalism is the development of democracy in the Easter Europe.The forces of nationalism have by far been the most powerful of forces. Many people would argue that without the original idea the changes of society could not possibly occur, how could it possibly be realized if there is no original idea. Yet this does not necessarily mean that it should be credited as the cause. Many ideas go by and are not used, not necessarily because they are bad ideas, its more of the fact that they were at the wrong place or time.The death of Marie Antoinette was a symbol of nationalism, she was an Austrian and distrusted by the French people. The beheading of her, was a personification of nationalism, the people of France did not want to have a non-French-origin person in power. This led to more changes in society as the old hierarchy of France was overthrown. The thought of a nation to be ruled by people of similar beliefs had a huge impact on the world. If Napoleon had not introduced this new concept, the rest of Europe would have remained as it traditionally had for the past. While the French revolution supplied the new ideas and Napoleon implemented them, nationalism was bound to occur no matter, in new colonies such as the United States of America. The French revolution gave way to the new ideas and Napoleon spread them further across Europe and the colonies. Without these two time periods, the philosophers would have remained unjustified in their words and the society within the seventeen hundreds would have remained the same.