Place and Politics: Local Identity, Civic Culture, and German Nationalism in North Germany during the Revolutionary Era


This study examines North Germany during the transformative era of the French Revolution, Napoleonic occupation, and Wars of Liberation; it reveals international exploitation, military occupation, economic destruction of the city-state Hamburg as well as the republic’s liberation and post-Napoleonic autonomy. Examining shifts within local culture and the role of public opinion on civic morality, this book underscores the relationship between the civic ethics, public language, and collective memory in the construction of political identity and concludes that the transformation in values at the local level ultimately provides the crucial direction in the process of modern nation-building. Throughout the 1800s, the public commemoration and memory of occupation and liberation, rather than the actual Napoleonic experience, shaped the development of German nationalism.

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Katherine B. Aaslestad, Ph.D. (1997) University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, is Associate Professor of History at West Virginia University and has published widely on republicanism, civic morality, public memory, and the Napoleonic experience in North Germany.
It is well written and finely presented. It is based upon original research in German, Danish, and French archives, as well as extensive reading of a long list of primary sources. For the historian of Napoleon’s empire, it adds yet another geographical piece to the jigsaw puzzle [...]. For the historian of Germany, who might be more accustomed to dealing with territorial peculiarities and regional distinctiveness, it convincingly charts the evolution of political culture in that increasingly rare polity—the city-republic—in a period of extraordinary change.
Michael Rowe, Central European History 39 (2006), 710–712.
List of Illustrations


1. The Republican Ideal: Commerce and Civic Culture in Late Eighteenth-Century Hamburg
2. Print and the Public in Hamburg
3. Hamburg and the French Revolution: Republican Morality Examined and Celebrated
4. Luxus and Egoismus: The Threat to Hamburg’s Civic Identity
5. Hamburg’s Quest for Neutrality and the Emergence of Hanseatic Solidarity
6. Hambourg, bonne ville de l’Empire française: Annexation into the Napoleonic Empire
7. The Liberation of Hamburg and Changing Notions of Patriotism
8. Epilogue: Remembering the Wars of Liberation in Nineteenth-Century Hamburg

For readers interested in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic era, occupation and war, transformations in political culture and urban life, nationalism and state-building, public memory and commemorations, as well as the dynamic relationship between local, regional, and national identities in early modern and modern Germany.
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