The Ukrainian intelligentsia emerged in the 19th century and helped to forge a strong sense of national identity for the Ukrainian people. After the European Revolutions of 1848, the concept of "nationhood," or nationalism, developed within the intelligentsias of both eastern and western European societies. The recently formed and newly emerging European nations were composed of people who recognized themselves as entities by virtue of their historical, linguistic or ethnic links. All of the new nations united their people under a particular political organization and occupied a defined territory on the continent. In the second half of the 19th century, European intellectuals began to advocate devotion to one's nation and national unity as a cohesive ideology for their new nations.
The Ukrainian gentry in the Austrian and Russian Empires accepted and developed their own extensions of these continental ideologies. In the Ukraine, an ideological revolution began to draw "folk" culture and the culture of the elite closer together and the Ukrainian intelligentsia began to study the history, folklore and language of their people. Influenced by the ideological developments of their time, particularly the concept of nationhood, the Ukrainian gentry began to aspire towards independence from their political oppressors. The Cossacks were revered as national heroes and the original Ukrainian "folk."
For the Ukrainian intelligentsia, the Cossacks symbolized the Ukrainian tradition of resistance to social injustice and political oppression. Moreover, Ukrainian began to be used as a literary language and Ukrainian culture became the focus for a class which had neglected its roots for a time. One of the most famous Ukrainian intellectuals of this period was Taras Shevchenko. His poetry served to inspire future generations of Ukrainian nationalists with their messages of revolutionary solutions to social injustice and the oppression of the Ukrainian nation. In this period, the Ukrainian national anthem, " Ukraine has not yet perished", originated as a poem published in 1863. The hopes and aspirations of the 19th century Ukrainian intelligentsia were finally realized after the fall of the Soviet Union, when the Ukraine became an autonomous and independent country.
- ^ Swyrich, Archive materials