Does there exist a German nation around 1848?
- A family that is closely linked with the US authorities
- A strong commitment to the American political and economic life
- The incarnation of the "model family" in the American myth of the Kennedys
- A controversial ?clan?
- The hidden faces of the Kennedy clan
- The end of a myth?
What is a Nation? The question becomes particularly important in Germany in the nineteenth century. According to Madame de Stael, the nation is defined as "a group of people speaking the same language and who wish to live free of definite borders, the right soil is good enough compared with its corollary the right of German blood." To identify the problem of designing the German nation, a political appraisal of St Roman Empire seems necessary. Indeed, why is this national seed of the Holy Roman Empire and the Germanic Confederation working well for almost 1000 years, with a northern commercial center (Hanse), a rural southern pole, and a representation of inland states? Was the concept of a nation born in Germany or was it not merely political? The nation is more of an ideological construct than a concrete reality, which explains the difficulty to give a fully satisfactory definition. Its etymology is related to the concept of birth (nascere). Thus, in medieval times, the idea of a nation referred to a group of men who were assigned a common origin. But the modern conception of the nation goes far beyond ethnic or tribal interests. It finds its source in a rather complex set of relationships that underpin the sense of belonging. It is thus both external to individuals, while it is internalized and transmitted from one generation to another. To win, it also assumes the existence of a long-term commitment to live within the same unit. Some objective data are used to define a nation: territory, ethnicity, language, religion, culture and government. But the idea of nation is not reducible. Thus there are several nations that are multilingual or multireligious (eg Germany). There are also nations without their own territory or others that are shared between several states. So it appears that the nation is as a building whose function is to ensure social cohesion and enforce the authority of the state. The nineteenth century is no shortage of transitional years, but 1848 seems to be, for Germany as in most European countries, the decisive moment. However, we need to ask ourselves more precisely without exaggeration and a shift in history, how a German nation was constituted after 1848.