PHILOSOPHICAL ORIGINS OF NATION AND NATIONALISM This chapter traces the philosophical origins of the concept of nation and nationalism. It focuses on the defining figures of eighteenth and nineteenth centuries including Fichte, Herder, Kant, Hegel and Marx. 1.1 Fichte: Concept of Nation and Nationhood In chronological terms Fichte's thoughts and ideas on nationhood emerged in the limelight after Herder's. In his emphasis on language as the central criterion on nationality, he owes much to Herder's work. In addition to this, his ideas on education form a core characteristic of his nationalist programme and were elicited from Pestalozzi. In the light of these, some critics and scholars have often raised question marks over Fichte's exploration of the subject of nation. In this context, H.C. Engelbrecht in his maiden study of Fichte's writing notes that, 'there was ..... little originality in Fichte'.1 Alluding to the second political Patriotic Dialogue of 1807 Reinhold Aris, a contemporary of H.C. Engelbrecht notes that Fichte: "suddenly seemed to grasp the full truth of the assertion put forward by Herder and the romantics that each state was an individual representation of the divine characteristics which distinguished it from other state."2 However, such criticism of Fichte's landmark work is a distortion of the whole truth. A comment made by Eugene Anderson, an American scholar is relevant here, 'he was one of the first to conceive of nation as the means of uniting the individual, the group and God, and to preach the gospel of national lore as the binding, harmonizing force.' Just by throwing analytical light on the diverse constituents of Fichte's theory of nationalism, critics and commentators have highlighted his intellectual debt to others. But the veritable index of genius lies in the mode and manner in which he combined these diverse components. The vitality of the links he contrived to blend and the 1 . H.C. Engelbrecht, Johann Gottlieb Fichte: A Study of his political writings with special reference to his Nationalism (1933) New York: AMS Press. 1968. p. 27 2 . R. Aris, History of Political Thought in Germany; 1789-1815 (1936) London: Cass, 1965. p. 353.