“It is nationalism which engenders nations, and not the other way round.” Such words were written by prominent social anthropologist Ernest Gellner in his work Nations and Nationalism (1983). Nationalism can be defined as a person or group’s loyalty and support for their nation, whatever that nation may be. This brings to light a very troublesome and tortuous subject. Expressed simply as Nationalism, this being is very controversial, many hailing it as a propitious concept, while others putting it down and viewing it in animosity. But what is more controversial & more complex would be the establishment of such. What effects its creation? What factors develop it? And what factors affect it the most?
As with the topic of beauty, War, or Religion, nationalism and its roots are a again, a being of much controversy. Constantly being argued upon, assumptions of nationalism’s creation ranges from it being solely created upon historic, religious, social, geographical, and economical factors, or any combination(s) of the factors stated. An example of an argument which supports History as being the primary (and possibly the only) source of nationalism is prevalent within Margret Macmillan’s work The Uses and Abuses of History (2009) where she states that “History provides much of the fuel for Nationalism” and that the “celebration of the nation’s great achievements—and the shared sorrow at its defeats—sustain and foster it.” What she fails to mention is that there is more to development of nationalism than just history. Through my eyes it is evident that Professor Macmillan hasn’t fully grasped the depth, or simply has ignored the other factors of nationalism. In respect to a nation and its nationalism, history has a major impact on its creation, but by itself cannot fully create, nor sustain nationalism. Rather, factors that affect the creation of nationalism vary within every nation.
The United States of America is one of the greatest superpowers in the world today. Known for the undying patriotism and allegiance of the majority of its people, nationalism runs strongly in the veins of America. Through the rigorous battles over land, politics, or sovereignty, one can argue that it was the history that shaped the nation; whether it is through the Revolutionary War, which gave America its freedom and helped establish its identity as a nation, or the Civil War, which split and reformed the nation, or its westward expansion. Each major event is a major historical factor that helped shape America. But, each major event also contained evidence of other factors of nationalism.
The revolutionary war was arguably initiated due to Economic reasons (rigorous taxation by Britain) and much less historical. There was some tension between the colonies and Britain, but their push for freedom finally began due to heavy taxation by Britain (following the French and Indian war, which left Britain heavily in debt, causing increased taxes within its colonies.) The...