Nationalism: Origins

Nationalism: Origins

Origins of Nationalism

  • The term Nationalism derives from the Latin word ‘natio’, meaning birth or race.
  • It’s a modern political ideology that only fully emerged in the late 18th Century, around the time of the French and American Revolutions.
  • Nationalism was heavily influenced by the enlightenment ideals of individualism and self-determination.
  • It is founded on the belief that the nation should be the central principle of political organisation.

Different types of Nationalism

Civic Nationalism

  • This is based on shared political values and institutions rather than on common ethnicity or culture.
  • Bone of contention: Civic nationalism can be seen in countries like the United States and France, where diverse ethnic and cultural groups unite under a common set of civic values.

Ethnic Nationalism

  • This form of nationalism is linked to a particular ethnic group or culture and often includes a shared language, faith, and historical experiences.
  • Examples include movements for independence in places like Scotland and Catalonia where shared culture and history play a significant role.

State Nationalism

  • Nationalism is commonly used by states to unify the population and elicit loyalty.
  • Example: North Korea and the former Soviet Union have utilised state nationalism as a tool for control and unity.

Liberal Nationalism

  • This ideology merges liberalist principles such as freedom, equality, and individual rights with nationalist principles.
  • This can be seen in the American Revolution, where the people fought for both liberty and independence from Britain.

Expansionist (or Imperial) Nationalism

  • This is a form of nationalism that supports extending a nation’s authority over other territories, often justified by claiming to bring certain benefits to the subjugated territory.
  • A classic example is British imperialism, which led to the creation of the British Empire.