chapter  15
The revolutionary period, 1789–1802
ByMarc Belissa, Patrice Leclercq
Pages 11

The revolutionary period (1789-1802) has long been seen as the defining moment of the construction of the nation-state and its corollary, nationalism. For some historians of the nineteenth century who were both liberals and nationalists, it was the sole justification for revolutionary violence. Recent research has begun to change this perception. Françoise Brunel, for example, suggests that we should pay more attention to the differences between concepts of state, country and homeland (fatherland, patrie), and Jean-Yves Guiomar reminds us that the Revolution did not in fact create the association of state/nation, but rather the association state/homeland, which is different from the former in that it does not exclude a concept of universal citizenship. Finally, Florence Gauthier and Marc Belissa have shown that the constitution of what we today call the nation-state was not central to theories of natural rights which were the common language of patriots in many countries.1