To define nationalism and understand its impact on modern Europe.
1 and 1/2 class periods
Students begin this activity by taking an opinion poll, then discussing implications of their answers. The more “yes” answers, the greater the tendency toward a feeling of nationalism.
Class members will next read about similarities between nationalism and school spirit, as well as modern nationalism, which began with the French Revolution.
In the final part of the lesson, students pretend it is the 1800s and they have just become the leader of a country in Europe. Their nation has suffered through years of poor government, hard economic times, and disastrous wars. As leader, they have decided to use nationalism to rally their discouraged people and raise the country to a position of power and respect among world nations. This goal can only be reached by getting people to be proud of their country, and by convincing them that they should put their nation ahead of their own self-interests. Many important decisions must be made regarding such things as the country’s government, armed forces, foreign trade, and system of taxation.
Each student's plan to rally their people using nationalism is created by answering thirteen questions. Here are the first two as an example.
(1) What would be a good national slogan that people could identify with and rally behind? (Example: “My country right or wrong!”)
(2) Do you believe warfare should be used to gain more territory and add to the prestige of your country? Explain your answer.
You can have the students do questions 1-6 during class and use the last 10 minutes of the period to discuss their responses. Then, assign questions 7-13 for homework and discuss answers at the beginning of the next class.
Easy-to-follow Teacher Instructions included.