National Romanticism: Formation of National Movements by Balazs Trencsenyi, Michal Kopecek

By Balazs Trencsenyi, Michal Kopecek

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If I compare the French to the old Polish tradition, I do not mean to offend the French; I only use this comparison to rephrase the recent argument of their public opinion, which knows how to evaluate such laws. Yet, what can I say about the laws that force the nation’s representatives armed with legislative powers, on entering the parliament, to take an oath to the king and the constitution, which they have the power to alter? This kind of oath calls into doubt their being a nation’s representatives, degrades the dignity of their function, stigmatizes them as enslaved servants; what can I say about the laws that force to abandon the religious formula which, devoid of its eminence, is a useless calling of the divine name insulting common sense?

You still hold the mutilating sword you used then, and sharpen its edge in foreign, corrupted forces. You want to create the magnate status, the inherited dignity of peers, the right of primogeniture, and privileges foreign to the Polish law; to preserve insignia of rank, the titles gained illegally or in foreign service, usually in service of Poland’s enemies. You want a Poland in which you could gain the greatest profits while taking pleasure in humiliating the people and preserving their servitude and slavery.

It was also about the basis of social order, the source of national character, and the value of civilization. Most of all, the question of origins was one of the most important tasks assigned to the newly emerging discipline of national history. In the late 1840s the predominant answer to MIHAIL KOGĂLNICEANU: SPEECH ON NATIONAL HISTORY 45 this question remained the ‘Latinist’ one elaborated by the ‘Transylvanian School’, which affirmed the ‘pure’ Latin origin of the Romanians. Repudiating the exaggerated views on the Latin origins of the Romanians, Kogălniceanu followed in the tradition of Naum Râmniceanu and argued that, apart from the Romans, the Dacians too played an important part in Romanian ethno-genesis.

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