History

"Chauvinism" evolved from a French soldier named Nicolas Chauvin, whose surname is the eponym, who reportedly served in the French Army Republic and La Grande Armée in the early 1800s.  Contrary to reality Nicolas was believed to have been wounded in battle 17 times which eventually contributed to his maiming and deformities. He was known for his alleged loyalty and bravery while serving in the French army for which Napoleon supposedly awarded him the prestigious Sabre of Honor, a pension, and 200 francs. For these reasons, according to researcher and author, Gérard Puymège this person was viewed by many to be nothing more than a fictitious character and one who was portrayed in theatre as a boastful solder who was often the object of satire.

 

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Impact

Whether fact or fiction, Chauvin’s legacy has prevailed throughout centuries on many oppressive levels of what is now known as chauvinism: traits of excessive and unreasonable patriotism practices whose definition has evolved into bigotry and bias, be it explicit or implicit.  Rightfully, we define a chauvin as one who forcibly infringes on the civil liberties of others through judicial and/or physical means while using the above tactics.  Though it can present itself in any race or gender, chauvinism has wreaked havoc on many of us on the social and socio-economic level in the forms of police brutality, bullying, racism, sexism, economic suppression, etc.

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