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Nationalism Essay

1427 words - 6 pages


I- Nationalism may be defined as a state of mind in which the individual feels that everyone owes his supreme secular loyalty to the nation-state.
        "Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong."
Stephan Decatur- 1816.
        Nationalism is one of, if not the greatest single determining factor of modern history.

How does nationalism affect your life as an American today? How does it affect men and women in a different manner?

How does this desire for a universal world state lurk in the background of our civilization?

Does this hold true today? Can you be considered educated if you are only comfortable in our language and civilization?

         The basic principle was that each nationality should form a state- its state.

II- The Historical Background of Nationalism
        Before the late 18th century nations fell into several categories:

As historians have looked back on these multi-ethnic dynastic states, they have discovered that some were remarkably tolerant. Why is this not surprising?

        The French Revolution marks the "start" of nationalism.

Simon Schama Citizens

III- The Nation State
        In a nation-state the supreme political authority rests upon the will of the inhabitants.

        We must be a people, a volk.

        The idea that we are "WE" and others are "outsiders".

How does nationalism manage to be both inclusive and exclusive at the same time?

"The man who loves other countries as much as his own stands on a level with the man who loves other women as much as his wife." Theodore Roosevelt, 1918. What did Roosevelt mean?


What does "We the People" in the Preamble of the Constitution mean?

        In a nation people have in common:

What should people have in common to be a nation?

Which of these apply to America? Which do not?

        "A collective community of individuals with a collective destiny."


Is the above a better definition of the American people? Why?

        Centrifugal vs. centripetal nationalism.

Why is it dangerous for a nation state to become multi-ethnic?
How can this challenge be met?

IV- American Patriotism

        A- The Problem:
Radical Conservative

How can this amazing transformation be explained?

        Possible solutions:

Is there room for patriotism among American liberals?
Will patriotism be abandoned to the ultra-right militias?

        African-Americans, and American nationality.

Is the struggle of African-Americans to be included in the nation-state mirrored is the experience of other groups? What lesson can be developed from this?


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