Saturday, May 14, 2016

When was nationalism invented?

I just learned that historians say that nationalism was only invented in around 1800.

I have also read that science was only invented in around 1600, and that before that, it never occurred to anyone to use observation or experiment to guide their thinking.

I have also read that romantic love was also recently invented. Before modern times, couples married for various reasons other than love.

I have heard it claimed that the concept of human races is a modern invention. Until recently, no thought of Caucasians, Negroes, and Orientals as different people.

I have heard that individualism is another modern European invention. Before that, no one thought of people as having indepedent and individual interests. Nobody thought that they could think for themselves.

Until recently, no one understood that gender was a social construct. Well, this claim might actually be true.

And on and on. I don't know what to make of these claims. Most of them seem absurd to me. But I am not a historian.

1 comment:

Demetrius said...

The text of the August 1588 Tilbury speech by Queen Liz One is online. Also, it depends what you mean by "national". If tribal/clan/other district etc. are just other forms of it, then it is the application of the word "national" to an ancient form of grouping that is recent. As in the past boundaries and entities have changed so much, that does not make early entities any less national. As for the others you can go back many centuries and even millennia to find equivalents. Even in the far past where there were settled entities it is remarkable what kinds of technology and science some of them had.