Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date



The French Revolution of 1789 was instrumental in the emergence and growth of modern nationalism, the idea that a state should represent, and serve the interests of, a people, or "nation," that shares a common culture and history and feels as one. But national ideas, often with their source in the otherwise cosmopolitan world of the Enlightenment, were also an important cause of the Revolution itself. The rhetoric and documents of the Revolution demonstrate the importance of national ideas. The Republic relied on national symbols, such as the tricolor flag and the “Marseillaise” anthem, to spread nationalist ideas throughout French society; and by means of a nationalized military to other countries.