Dating the Nation

Anthony Smith challenges the modernist view of nationalism that traces its origins to Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary Europe.

It was for the patrie of citizens that so many oaths were sworn, starting with the celebrated Oath of the Tennis Court taken by the deputies in June of l789, an oath that Jacques-Louis David later immortalized in his unfinished but detailed drawing of the scene. In this solemn enactment of a secular contract, the nation was born anew, and in its name, the revolution of progress was inaugurated in France and then exported to all the lands that the revolutionary, and later the Napoleonic, armies conquered.

 

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