Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Daniel Unowsky

Committee Member

Walter R. Brown

Committee Member

Andrei Znamenski

Committee Member

Ioan Chindris


This dissertation is a case study: the emergence of liberal nationalism in the mid–nineteenth century Transylvania, one of the poorest parts of the Habsburg monarchy. Even in a still agrarian society it was yet possible for the Romanians to articulate a national program and to fight for self–determination. Simion Brnuiu was the mastermind of the revolutionary program of the Transylvanian Romanians in 1848, the visionary who gave the movement its sense and strategy. The course of his life unfolded along an interesting and often tragic path. Simion Brnuiu graduated from the Uniate Theological Seminary in Blaj. It is fair to say that Brnuiu was both a rebel and a reformist inside the Transylvanian Romanian Uniate Church. The study of law in Sibiu (1846–1848) paved the way to his “laic conversion” to the national cause. The Transylvanian Revolution offered him his lifetime opportunity to actively demonstrate his ideological and militant gift and talent. Brnuiu was the author of the programme of the Romanian Transylvanian Revolution and chairman of the Romanian National Committee, the Romanian revolutionary decisional council during the civil war. He wrote a number of revolutionary texts and programs: the March 24/25, 1848 proclamation, the famous Blaj speech of May 2/14, 1848 (at the open field congress), and other various manifests. His entire dense scholarly work makes out of Simion Brnuiu the first theoreticians of Romanian militant nationalism. After the defeat of the mid–century movement he went on with the study of jurisprudence in Vienna (1851–1852) and then Pavia, where he was awarded the bachelor degree in 1854. Since 1855 he had taught philosophy and natural right at this University of Iai, in Moldavia. The dissertation contains an intrinsic message: nations became over time what their ideologues programmed them to become. If today’s Romanian nation is the real product of imagined projections, this dissertation has sought to illuminate the force of ideas and spirit behind this process of imagining as well as the immense role and responsibility of the intellectual ideologues of the past.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.