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A History of Modern Political Thought in East Central EuropeVolume I: Negotiating Modernity in the 'Long Nineteenth Century'$
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Balázs Trencsényi, Maciej Janowski, Monika Baar, Maria Falina, and Michal Kopecek

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198737148

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198737148.001.0001

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“Playing the Piano that does not yet have Strings”? The Cultural-Political Programs of the “National Revivals”

“Playing the Piano that does not yet have Strings”? The Cultural-Political Programs of the “National Revivals”

Chapter:
(p.143) 4 “Playing the Piano that does not yet have Strings”? The Cultural-Political Programs of the “National Revivals”
Source:
A History of Modern Political Thought in East Central Europe
Author(s):

Balázs Trencsényi

Maciej Janowski

Mónika Baár

Maria Falina

Michal Kopeček

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198737148.003.0005

The main goal of Romantic political thinkers in East Central Europe was social and cultural emancipation. Equality before the law, property rights, the right of representation, and freedom of expression were central to this program of modernization. This paradigm represented a fusion of Late Enlightenment reformism with a Romantic emphasis on the peculiar national tradition and the cult of heroic sacrifice. Besides extolling historical rights, the Romantic political discourse also invoked natural rights, both individual and collective. The creation of an authentic national culture and the delineation of new historical models formed the core of Romantic “identity politics.” Language supplied a useful argument to defend the antiquity, unity, continuity, and uniqueness of the respective nation. Various visions of reorganizing the region emerged, including plans for federations and demands for regional autonomy. Furthermore, the idea of “national mission” was an important part of the Romantic political discourse across the region.

Keywords:   late Enlightenment, Romanticism, “national revival,” freedom of expression, historical rights, natural rights, national language, national Messianism

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