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Definition of the German nation before 1848

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Towards the end of the 18th century, the Holy Roman Empire, which reigned over Europe for more than 800 years, was more than a reflection of itself. Weakened by the Treaties of Westphalia in 1648, the only institutions that still exist are the Diet and the Court of Empire. This bloodless empire brought together over 300 entities ranging from 51 cities, 64 ecclesiastical principalities and 200 laymen. The German world came down then to a confederation of states with Prussia Hohenzollern in the north, the Austrian Hapsburg states in the south-east and south. The power struggles between Hapsburg and Hohenzollern surfaced and the confederation appeared to condemn the emergence of any national sentiment. Yet in 1812, the poet Stein declared, ?I have a homeland, it is called Germany [] my wish is that Germany will become big and strong to get back its sustainability, independence and nationality.? Less than half a century later, a national assembly was elected in May 1848, to discuss the ?fundamental rights of the German people'. Until 1815, one could observe a confused awakening to the notion of Germany, led by France and the ideological currents. From 1815, the German Confederation and the frustration it created caused the growth of a national feeling, encouraged by economic development, and saw the birth of an attempted union of Germany.

Napolean Bonaparte imposed the Treaty of Campoformio (1797) which yields to France the entire left bank of the Rhine.
The Treaty of Luneville, also called the Germanic recess of Regensburg (1801-1803) represents compensation for the German princes dispossessed, but greatly reduces the number of German states
Napoleon condemns the St Empire disappearance, in Pressburg in 1805. Francis II to gave up his title of Emperor to the Holy Roman Empire.

On July 12, 1806, Napoleon gave a constitution for the Confederation of the Rhine which has four kingdoms, five grand duchies, 11 duchies and 16 principalities. Taking the French standards for money and the administration and it applied to the Civil Code. Despite scattered uprisings in 1809, the German world is transformed: it goes from 300 states and principalities in 1802 to 37 states in 1812.

Tags: German nation before 1848; German Confederation; unification of Germany

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