During nationhood formation, either colonialists or nationalists used different institutions as political entities to reinforce their ideologies. There were also attempts to make the young nations to remember or forget incidences that could support each agenda. This paper is an explanation of how museums were used in nationhood.
Explanation for Museums
Museums came up because of political inheritance and were used by colonialists as powerful and prestigious institutions to reinforce their own ideologies. In this way, they represented the political struggle over the educational policies that were meant to be brainwashing the political views of the natives. Through museums, the colonialist displayed their culture as superior to that of the natives and in this way managed to convince some of the people that they were not ready for self-rule. Thus, they inhibited the natives’ “right of self-rule and instituted colonialists’ right of conquest” (Anderson 182).
Memory and Forgetting
Many places were renamed by foreigners to reflect their home names mostly by using the word New. This naming system indicated the parallelism that existed in people’s lives, for instance, New London and London showed that those people who came from London to North and South America were still holding the culture of their homeland while indicating to the natives that they were living a different life from theirs. It was a way of connecting with people located faraway, therefore aroused a sense of awareness, and shared interests. Ultimately, it encouraged perpetuity of culture of foreigners in foreign lands, for example Europeans in America (Anderson 192).
Similarly, place naming induced a sense of nationhood among the colonialists and was aimed at reinforcing their mission. It therefore facilitated the imagination of communities towards colonialism. To the foreigners, newness was about abolishing the cultures of the natives such as it was done on the Christian calendar that changed to Year 1 and the Aborigines to Peruvians.
Nationalism in Emerging Communities
The increasing nationalism thrived on the sense of parallelism that was created by the foreigners, European colonialists. Therefore, changing culture acted as a link between the nationalism in the new and the language of Europe. It was embodied in languages other than Latin---English Spanish, and French. Those who wanted nationalism considered these languages civilized.
Time New and Old
The declaration of independence in 1776 gave impetus to the spirit of nationhood among many nations in North America. It was seen as unprecedented and successful act done through military action. It was an inheritance worthy entering the annals of history. It was thus to be emulated by other nations such as Venezuela that declared nationhood in 1811, using the same words in their constitution as was used in that of United States of America. One of the reason why nations emulated the declaration of independence in the United States is because they considered the words of their declaration a universal truth and value, that was also applicable to them.
The explosion of nationhood that followed the 1776 declaration of independence by the United States could only be compared to the French Revolution. A notable feature of the nationhood as was in 1776 is the break from the historical past where explorers were given precedence in declaring independence. The 1776 declaration did not mention early explorers like Christopher Columbus, Roanoke, or the Pilgrim Fathers that “discovered” America (Anderson 193). In essence, there was a profound break from history where the antiquity of the American history were forgotten, there was no remembering the past. Nations wanted to move forward with new spirit.
Emergence of nations in North and South America thereafter changed the political landscape in the regions. There developed a sense of synchronized transoceanic pairing Europe and Western regions that was intelligible with the natives of those regions (Anderson 194). Establishment of institutions gave force to 1776 and 1789 declarations rendering them historical precedents and models. Notably, nationhood heralded the reading of history by the two groups, nationalists and the European foreigners, genealogically as the expression of a historical expression of a serial continuity (Anderson 195).
Remembering the Ideologies of the Dead
The ideologies of those who preceded the coming of colonialists like Michelet shaped the spirit of nationalism among the natives. Nevertheless, the colonialists wanted people to forget the atrocities done by the early explorers. Instead, nationalism represented a new form of consciousness in the minds of the natives and this was necessitated by the difficulty in viewing nations as new concerning colonialists’ views (Anderson 199).
Language was used to preserve the history of nations in North America. The use of native languages such as the creoles made national imagination possible in the first place. In some instances, such as Paraguay, none Spanish native languages even became national language. However, any attempt to give historical impression using language received insurmountable resistance from the Europeans. In fact, all the schools, print media, and administration habits in American region were committed to advancing languages of the Europeans at the expense of the native languages (Anderson 197).