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Flemings and Walloons Essay

Flemings and Walloons Essay

Flemings and Walloons In the 19th and 20th centuries, Flemings and Walloons were divided by political and economic tensions, but the most outstanding source of division was social differences. The Flemings and Walloons went head-to-head because of the divergence in their culture and ultimately, the way they lived their day-to-day lives. Both of these groups wanted the country of Belgium to be run in their favor, but with that would come a clash of cultures. The first controversy between the Flemings and Walloons was political tension.

After the Belgian Revolution in 1830, the new nation of Belgium had to come to terms in context of political leaders, but the dispute between the Flemings and Walloons was so strong that no political settlement could be officiated. In Document 2, an American diplomat speaks about the history of Flemings and Walloons, stating that Walloons are impatient politicians and deny tradition, while Flemings feel strong nationality and are better contenders to run the government.

This document is supported by Document 4, where a Brussels-based newspaper claims that Walloon control the north, but resist monarchial power, while Flemings are ardent supporters.

In Document 8, a French observer discuses the struggle for political power between the Flemings and Walloons, stating that the Catholic Flemings lead a politically dominant party and their leadership demands must be met over those of the Walloon politicians.

Through years of battling, Walloons and Flemings still found their selves butting heads in the political arena, but still, all of that fighting came down to one issue: language. Another controversy that arose was economic competition. The potato famine had reached Belgium by the 1840s, straining the economy and there was a struggle of who would come out on top. In Document 4, a Brussels-based newspaper explains the Walloons in the north, stating that they are prominent in the economy and the Flemings resent their occupation.

In Document 7, a Political leader speaks about improvement in the Flemish region, saying that they are under a system of economic exploitation that causes suffering within the Flemish community. In Document 9, a government publication assesses the differences in the economy of the Flemings and Walloons. The Flemish regions remain agricultural and commercial and in Wallonia manufacturers produce textiles and metallurgy, so there is a complete diversion in working economical paths because they run in completely different ways.

The hard line of division that separated the Flemish and the Walloons still came down to their refusal to produce together, let alone work together. The last and most dominant controversy between the Flemings and Walloons was social tension. With nationalism on the rise, the Flemings and Walloons were completely divided by their languages: who would be the receiver of national pride? In Document 1, it is made clear that there is a distinct line of separation between the north (Flemish country) and south (Wallonia).

In Document 5, a Flemish pamphlet states that there is a bilingual disputation in Belgium and Walloons are trying to invade Belgium with French language, which should be considered absurd while Flemish culture is traditional and the language must be recognized by all Belgians. In Document 6, a French diplomatic observer discusses the differences between Flemish and Walloon thought, saying that while they do spend much time debating in the political setting, that in the end, all of the tension and dispute comes down to the factor of language.

In Document 10, a Belgian political leader says that the language issue dares to move even farther that just a matter of being a Dutch speaker or a French speaker, he says that the Flemish culture and history as a whole fights for a real equality of language and culture and that all problems between the Flemings and Walloons stem from their differences in language. In Document 10, a Flemish publicist demands nothing but equal rights, saying that the problems between the Flemings and Walloons are not confined to small areas anymore, but the whole country is in dispute.

Lastly, Document 12, taken from a London paper, says that the problems between the Walloons and Flemings are caused by pure jealousy and while they consider themselves better than the other, all are equal, but only they can figure that out. The relationship between the Flemings and Walloons throughout the 19th and early 20th century was a very strained one. While nationalism was rising, the groups kept fighting because of political, economical, and most of all social differences.