The Romanian Liberals: From the Identity Archeology to the Political Building of the Nation in the Mid-19th Century Cover Image
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Liberalii români: între arheologia identitarã și construcția politicã a națiunii la jumãtatea secolului al XIX-lea
The Romanian Liberals: From the Identity Archeology to the Political Building of the Nation in the Mid-19th Century

Author(s): Silvia Marton
Subject(s): History
Published by: Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti

Summary/Abstract: By analyzing the parliamentary debates of 1866-1867 on foreigners' (notably Jews) requests for naturalization and property rights, this article tries to identify the parliamentarians' answers to the following questions: On what grounds were foreigners accepted as Romanian citizens? How did the parliamentarians define the foreigner? What was required from a foreigner in order to become a citizen? The overall objective is to identify some major themes that preoccupied the representatives of the nation, circumscribed around the primordial character of the "union" and of "nationality", with a special focus on the solutions proposed by the liberals. The argument is that the Parliament, by its vote, instead of granting citizenship rights, merely established the conditions according to which one could become a Romanian. In other words, the Romanian legislators considered it to be of outmost importance to recognize the quality of being a Romanian, that is, a member of an ethnic body, and not to define citizenship as a legal membership. "To be a Romanian" was more of an ethnic belonging, a "given", than citizenship or civic loyalty, defined through political and civic rights. It seems that citizenship was crushed by the primordial character of ethnic loyalty and by the weight of the state as expression and guarantor of the Romanian nation. While engaging the parliamentary debates about naturalization, the article attempts, first, to draw more nuanced conclusions about the lately much-debated character of citizenship in Romania and Eastern Europe during the mid-19th century. Secondly, such an analysis may provide a better understanding of the nature of political representation during the same period.

  • Issue Year: 5/2005
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 563-582
  • Page Count: 1
  • Language: Romanian