This essay is just a little longer than you want. It is 290 words. I
hope it explains things in a useful manner for you.
WHAT IS NATIONALISM?
Nationalism is characterized by a loyalty of the people, based on
common geography, descent, language, and religion. Prior to this ,
states were generally organized around religious or dynastic ties;
citizens owed loyalty to their church or ruling family. France,
Germany, and Italy each took their own unique path to this modern
concept of nationalism.
France became a modern nation through inclusion and political reform.
Everyone who lived within the geographical boundaries of modern France
was considered a French citizen and treated as such. Under Napoleon
III bureaucratic efforts produced cultural assimilation which
succeeded in raising the level of consciousness of French culture and
national identity in rural areas of the country.
German nationalism developed around ethnic identity. The modern
German nation was defined by the people themselves, i.e. those who
spoke German and had a German name. Germany attempted unification by
constitutional reforms at the Frankfurt Assembly of 1848 but failed.
Instead, Bismarck unified Germany through war believing it to be the
only means of creating a nation.
Italy grew into a modern nation through ethnic identity as well.
Cavour, in the north, thought unification was nonsense, but he opposed
foreign domination over Italian peoples. Thus, he fought to create a
unified Northern Italy governed by a liberal constitution. Garibaldi,
in the south, had a vision of a liberal society that supported
workers' rights, self-determination, and female emancipation. He led
his army securing the independence of southern Italy for Italian
Nationalism was thus a philosophy as well as a process conceived and
directed by leaders. The introduction of national constitutions and
the struggle for political rights gave peoples the sense of helping to
determine their fate as a nation and of sharing responsibility for the
future well-being of that nation.