Peasants into Europeans


As a concept, nationality has a paradoxical genealogy. It was first incubated by Westphalian accomodation (and its cohorts of erudits with antiquarian bends towards Gauls or Etruscans or Teutons), then coopted by centralising Jacobins and ultimately spearheaded by Napoleon throughout traditional Europe. Thus nationality has a distinct bourgeois pedigree, emerging from the birth pangs of Revolution and War. Admittedly, nobiliary reaction was originally both cosmopolitan and pragmatical, exhibiting dynastic and courtesan loyalties and an opportunistic allegiance to Christianism as a paternalistic option vis-à-vis blazing modernity. It agonised quietly yielding some few inheritors.