By OLIVER ZIMMER
Oliver Zimmer examines the ways that the Swiss outlined their nationwide identification within the 19th century, within the face of a altering family and overseas history. Zimmer explores why the state grew to become the point of interest of public difficulty at specific ancient junctures, how diversified social actors created and re-created Swiss nationhood, and why the Swiss embraced a few definitions instead of others. starting within the 1760s, which witnessed the genesis of an early nationwide stream, the publication leads to the Eighteen Nineties while Switzerland built right into a smooth state.
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6 W here such bonds existed, he asserts in a key passage, ‘they m ade the task o f nationalism e a s ie r. . 7 If H obsbaw m ’s argum ent about the relationship betw een pre-m odern group consciousness and modern nationalism is highly instructive, so is his related statem ent that its students ought to resist the tem ptation o f retrospective nation alism . Such retrospection has not alw ays been avoided in accounts o f Swiss history. H ans Conrad Peyer, for exam ple, in his otherw ise lucid constitutional history o f medieval and early-m odern Sw itzerland, tends to ignore the qualita tive difference betw een pre-m odern group consciousness and m odern national identities, m aintaining that a ‘com m on national consciousness’ had becom e discernible by the early fifteenth century.
43 The above quotation also contains the central accusation directed against the Confederates: that they had violated the social order in w hich the nobility held 19 C ited in Brady, T urning S w iss, p. 39. The dualism o f oppression versus liberty offers o f course a less than accurate portrayal o f the C onfederate reality. The S w iss cantons did not struggle for social and political equality in any modern sense. The considerable degree o f social and political differentiation, both at the level o f the C onfederation as a w hole and at the level o f the cantons, is em phasised by Sablonier, ‘S w iss C onfederation’, p.
A lthough the docum entary evidence available could substantiate neither the events nor all o f the protagonists that constitute the m yths, Tschudi did not hesitate to present them as factual evidence. 58 W riting as a m em ber o f the C onfederate elite, Tschudi was anxious to le gitim ise not only the Sw iss C onfederation as an independent political entity but also the role o f its leading families. His chronicle thus provides an im pres sive testim ony to the potential threat that the liberation narrative - based as it was on the dualism o f a virtuous peasantry and vicious nobility - posed to the C onfederate elites them selves.
A Contested Nation by OLIVER ZIMMER