Khmelnytsky and Szela. Radical Romantics Struggling with Peasants’ History of Poland

In Poland, a new form of political “we” was invented, tailored to the conditions of a nascent modernity, which largely coincided with the era of romanticism. It was then, in the first half of the nineteenth century, that the first attempts were made to write a people’s history of Poland, i.e., a telling of history from a perspective in which not the elite, but those from the lower strata of society were the main actors. The project to construct such a narrative came to an end following the Galician slaughter, a phenomenon that generated a fear of the masses. Despite the ultimate failure of this quest to tell history from the perspective of the people, these efforts can still provide inspiration for the exploration of history from a grassroots and democratic perspective.