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The Intellectual Origins of the Nation: Political and Historical Nationhood in France and Germany 1789-1809

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Title: The Intellectual Origins of the Nation
Subtitle: Political and Historical Nationhood in France and Germany 1789-1809
Subject Classification: History, Politics and Government 
BIC Classification: HB, JP
BISAC Classification: POL010000, PHI019000, HIS010020
Binding: Hardback, ebook, pp.(to be confirmed)
Planned Publication date: March 2025
ISBN (Hardback): 978-1-80441-608-2
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-80441-609-9


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The concept of political Nation is arguably the most significant contribution of the French Revolution to European political history. Unlike democracy, the other major idea driving the Revolution, the Nation is accepted by all political regimes, whether democratic or not. In spite of what has been repeatedly said, the Revolution did not create the nation: on the contrary, the creation of the political nation was the origin of the events that, at the end, formed the French Revolution.

This is the first work of its kind which has attempted to define who constituted the ‘political nation’ in French ideology. In parallel with the Revolution, German scholars developed a different concept: the 'historical nation'. This concept was essentially identified from the outset with the idea of 'Volk', and in so doing, the 'Volk' replaced the 'nation'. Both concepts of nation, political and historical, emerged separately at the end of the 18th century, but by the end of the 19th century, the 'political nation' had adopted some important characteristics of the historical one. Although the idea of 'nation' developed during the 19th century, its origins have not been explored.

In the book, the author investigates the French revolutionaries' understanding of the nation and the significant differences between the bourgeois and sans-culotte concepts. Both ideas, political and historical nationhood, shared an essential characteristic: they exclude a section of the population, as later Marxist ideology did with the bourgeoisie versus the proletariat.

This unique work will be of great interest to political historians, scholars and researchers.


Author: Miguel Angel Vecino is a career diplomat who has represented Spain in many posts in Europe and U.N. Former student of the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (historiography of International Relations) at the Sorbonne, he has published numerous articles in the press and specialized magazines on international politics in Europe. He has also lectured and participated in debates and courses on European history and international politics, and taught at the Sorbonne before entering the Diplomatic School. He has collaborated in books on International Relations, Brexit and Spanish II Republic. He is a member of the Board of the Commission of History of International Relations and of the International Studies Association.


This title is currently being reviewed. Please check back for further updates in due course. 

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