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The Rumanian National Movement in Transylvania, 1780-1849 (Harvard Historical Monographs)

Hitchins, Keith

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ISBN 10: 0674780353 / ISBN 13: 9780674780354
Published by Harvard University Press
Used Condition: Good Hardcover
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0674780353 Harvard University Press; no dj; solid and clean; marks on textblock; no apparent marks to interior text; quite solid. Bookseller Inventory # SKU1031219

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Rumanian National Movement in ...

Publisher: Harvard University Press

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Good

About this title


Long before Rumania existed as a sovereign state, Rumanians struggled for national identity in Transylvania, an area in Eastern Europe of great ethnic and cultural diversity. The growth of their national consciousness between 1780 and 1849 affords an intriguing case study in nationalism. Keith Hitchins gives us in this book the first systematic survey and analysis of the movement--its leadership, techniques, and literary and political manifestations.

Transylvania at that time was a principality in the Habsburg domain inhabited by four groups: Magyars, Szeklers, Saxons, and Rumanians. Through the centuries the region had frequently changed status--at times independent, more often dominated by either Hungary or Austria. In 1867 it became an integral part of Hungary. After the First World War it was annexed by Rumania (which had won its independence in 1878) and is Rumanian soil today.

Hitchins finds that in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the national movement in Transylvania was led by Western-oriented Rumanian intellectuals, the majority of whom were Uniate and Orthodox priests or the sons of priests. Their principal weapons were their writings, the schools, and the church.

Influenced by the Enlightenment, these men fashioned the goals of the movement and gave it its characteristic dimensions--its moderation, rationalism, and Western orientation. Through their emphasis on education and their own personal labors in the fields of Rumanian history and linguistics, they succeeded in creating a national ethos, without which political activity of any kind would have been fruitless and on which, later, more secularly-oriented national leaders could base their specific political demands.

Chronicling the changing course of the Rumanian struggle, the author shows that the nationalists began with a demand for the feudal rights enjoyed by their neighbors the Magyars, Szeklers, and Saxons, who were represented in the provincial diet and organized according to estates, or noble nations. Still reasoning within the context of a feudal constitution and thinking in terms of the historic principality, the Rumanians, who constituted a majority of the population of Transylvania, did not yet dare dream of a separate Rumanian nation in which they would be the dominant element.

By 1849, however, they had come to regard the recognition of Rumanian autonomy within the Austrian Empire as the paramount issue and even looked toward the accretion of Rumanian-inhabited areas outside Transylvania to the grand duchy they hoped to see established. Ultimately, their goal became a union of all Rumanians, including the Kingdom of Rumania, in a modern national state.

About the Author:

Keith Hitchins is Professor of History, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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