The issue of national self-determination, the idea and goals of nationhood, and the methods and means for the attainment of such goals, were foremost in the thinking of 19th-century Serbian intellectuals and politicians.
The national dream of a free and united Serbian state began to be realized at the beginning of the 19th century, with two Serbian insurrections against the Ottoman authorities in 1804–1813 and 1815.
Russia And The Balkans (1804): A Program About Slavonic-Serbian State Under The Russian Protectorate (II)
The Karlovci Metropolitan Stevan Stratimirović created the idea of autonomous tributary religion-language-based Orthodox Shtokavian Slavonic–Serbian state in 1804. His concept of a politically united religion-language-based Serbian nation within the borders of a single national state anticipated unification of the historical and ethnic Serbian territories from both the Ottoman Empire and the Habsburg Monarchy.
Russia And The Balkans (1804): A Program About Slavonic-Serbian State Under The Russian Protectorate (I)
Imperial Russia as an Orthodox country and the country with the largest Slavic population gradually inspired the spiritual-political leader of the Serbian nation during the Habsburg and Ottoman lordships, to believe that only the Romanovs could be real liberators and protectors of the Serbs and the rest of the South-Slavs, especially the Orthodox ones.
There were many variations of the project of the unification of the South Slavic or Yugoslav lands towards the end of the 19th century. However, in all of such projects of a Greater Yugoslavia, Serbia was seen as a Yugoslav Piedmont with Belgrade as the “Serbian Bismarckism”.
The development of the “Idea of Union”, i.e. of bringing all South Slavs into one state, originated from the idea of South Slavic common ethnic, historical and linguistic origins, which can be historically traced from the end of the 18th century.