Nationalism has proved to be the single most powerful European political ideology of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As a political outlook, nationalism was and is based on the relatively modern concept that a nation is composed of people who are joined together by the bonds of common language, customs, culture, and history and who, because of those bonds, should be administered by the same government. That is to say, nationalists contended that the territory of political administration should coincide with the boundaries of ethnic groups. This chapter discusses how nationalism was very much a cultural construct of European writers and intellectuals. It considers the intellectual instruments of nationalism, including the press; dictionaries, lexicons, grammars, and textbooks of language; national political histories; histories of literature and art; national and regional museums; school systems and universities; and racial theories.
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