The Cosmopolitan Predicament   /   Fall 2009   /    Essays

Cosmopolitanism and Nationalism

Anthony D. Smith

The dream of world citizenship and the universal republic has a long history. In ancient Rome, the Stoics envisaged the unity of humanity in a community of virtue. In the Middle Ages, the unity of church and state in Christendom extended this universal vision to all the peoples of Catholic Europe. Following its demise, attempts were made to revive the idea of a universal republic during the French Revolution, notably by Anacharsis Cloots, the self-designated “Orator of the Human Race,” and Claude Fauchet, who preached a Rousseauan Christian religion of universal brotherhood. It then entered into the various liberal and socialist narratives of the nineteenth century, which, in a spirit of evolutionary optimism, foretold the transcendence of class, ethnic, religious, and national divisions by a united, free, and fraternal brotherhood—and latterly sisterhood—of humanity.

To read the full article online, please login to your account or subscribe to our digital edition ($25 yearly). Prefer print? Order back issues or subscribe to our print edition ($30 yearly).