In discussing nationalism, historians are divided over whether or not people had any sort of national identity prior to the nineteenth centuryâmany say that it had its roots in much earlier periods. Do you agree? What other kinds of identity competed with national identity in two periods (defined above) of European history?
Historians are divided over whether or not people had any sort of national identity prior to the nineteenth century. Some argue that national identity is a relatively recent phenomenon, while others believe that it has its roots in much earlier periods.
Those who believe that national identity is a recent phenomenon point to the fact that the modern nation-state is a relatively recent invention. The first nation-states emerged in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries, and they did not become widespread until the 19th century. Prior to this, people typically identified with their local community, their region, or their religion, rather than with their nation.
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