National republicanism is a political ideology rooted in radical republicanism and anti-monarchism, characterized by its emphasis on civic nationalism, national restoration, and self-sufficiency. It first emerged among Amerikaener and Yankee intellectuals during the 19th century and gained prominence in the American Spring of Nations and the Russian Revolution of the early 20th century.
National republicanism is built upon several key principles that distinguish it from other political ideologies. These core concepts are central to the national republican belief system and have informed the actions of political parties and movements subscribing to this ideology.
- National Restoration: National republicans advocate for a complete transformation of society through the overthrow of the old order and the creation of a new, unified national consciousness. This process typically involves a political party that prioritizes the national interest above all else, ultimately leading to the establishment of a nationalist republic.
- Anti-Liberal Democracy and Monarchism: National republicans view liberal democracy and conservative monarchism as systems that oppress and weaken the nation, making the people subservient to foreign interests. They argue for a more robust, nationalist system that promotes the nation's welfare and sovereignty.
- Self-sufficiency and Protectionism: Central to national republicanism is the belief in national self-sufficiency, which emphasizes a modernist and protectionist approach to development. This includes the promotion of domestic industries and resources, as well as the limitation of foreign influence on the nation's economy.
- Nationalization of Industry: Unlike certain forms of fascism, most national republicans advocate for the nationalization of key industries, rather than their corporatization. This approach aims to ensure that the nation's resources and infrastructure are controlled and managed for the benefit of the people, rather than private interest.
- Anti-Colonialism: National republicans view colonialism as a violation of the integrity of nations, driven by the pursuit of profit at the expense of the colonized people.
The term "national republicanism" was coined in 1910 by Hungarian writer Mihály Kun as nacionalizmus republikanizmusa (a republicanism of nationalism) and was later translated into French as le national-républicanisme, giving way to the English term national republicanism.
Concept of the nation-state
De iure belli ac pacis, written by Dutch humanist Hugo Grotius in the early 1600s, noted the distinct national societies (nations) which had interacted with each other during the Eighty Years' War and the Thirty Years' War. The Dutch Republic, a state of Grotius' era emerging from Spanish colonialism, can be said to be the first distinguishable nation-state in modern Europe. The Peace of Westphalia in 1648, ending an era of chaos, was the progenitor of the formal concept of territorial sovereignty.
Synthesis of the ideology
While influenced by numerous traditions, three main factors are considered when determining the formation of modern national republican ideology. These components are thought to be critical precedents to the Russian Revolution, which birthed the first successful national republican state in 1926. They are;
- the achievements of the Augustine period (late 18th century, early 19th century),
- the works of French intellectual Achille Ferré Bazaine & his associates (late 19th century),
- and the events of the American Spring of Nations (early 20th century).
Augustine Spiga's success in overthrowing the Bourbon monarchy of France in the 1790s and abolishing the ancient feudal state had profound domestic effects on France, as well as internationally. The establishment of a republic driven by popular sovereignty and revolutionary ideology, only to be extinguished with the rise of the Valentine monarchy in the 1810s, solidified the belief that a national rebirth (renaissance de la Nation) can only be achieved via unabashed revolution against monarchy and traditionalism.
Industrialization of much of Europe during the 19th century uplifted concepts such as liberalism, imperialism, and capitalism into public life. Numerous philosophers and ideologues emerged during this time of change, including the French Achille Ferré Bazaine. A Marseilles native and avid critic of King Louis XVII as well as the communard movement, he is considered an imminent forefather of national republican thought. Bazaine centered his ideas around rational nationalism, believing that rationality and Enlightenment thought naturally lead to the concepts of the nation-state and centralization of power. He imagined that this should be primarily achieved with a national rebirth where traditional, anachronistic power structures are to be dismantled and should be replaced by ideologically-driven nation-states, an idea he terms une nation vivifiée (the animated nation). His counter-revolutionary activities eventually led to his infamous assassination in 1879.
In the early years of the 20th century, many North American nations began their own so-called national rebirths; battling colonialism, autocracy, and establishing their own states ideologically independent from the empires of Europe. American events inspired many in Europe, particularly in Russia, where the nationalist-republican Vosstanist Workers' Party was formed in 1906, merely years after New Netherland gained their sovereignty. A year later, the League of Nationalists was formed in Manchester. In 1910, Hungarian writer Mihály Kun coined the term national republicanism. These movements eventually culminated in the triumph of the Russian Revolution in the 1920s.