What Is Nationalism? Definition, History, and Significance

2 minute read
What Is Nationalism

Let’s delve into the concept of Nationalism, an ideology that has significantly influenced societies and politics throughout history.

Nationalism Explained in Simple Terms – Just as a large family cherishes its traditions and ancestors, nationalism celebrates the collective history and values of a nation.

Nationalism is an ideology that centres around the idea of a shared national identity and pride in one’s nation. 

In this article, we will explore the essence of nationalism, its historical development, and its significance in shaping modern societies.

Understanding Nationalism

Nationalism is a political and cultural ideology that promotes loyalty and devotion to one’s nation and its interests. It fosters a sense of belonging and solidarity among citizens who share a common heritage and identity. It emphasizes the importance of a unified community bound by a common language, culture, history, and territory.

Also Read: What is Liberalism: Definition, History, and Significance

National Values, Ideas, and Beliefs

Nationalism encompasses various core values and ideas that are central to its philosophy:

  • Patriotism: Expressing their love and loyalty to their homeland and its symbols, such as the flag and national anthem.
  • Self-Determination: It asserts that a nation’s people have the right to choose their political and territorial status freely.
  • Sovereignty: Advocating for independent nation-states capable of making autonomous decisions.
  • Cultural Preservation: Preserve and promote the cultural heritage and traditions of a nation, safeguarding them from external influences.
  • National Unity: Foster unity among their people, transcending regional, ethnic, or religious differences, to form a cohesive national identity.

History of Nationalism

The origins of modern nationalism can be traced back to the late 18th and 19th centuries, a period of great political and social change. Nationalism gained momentum as a response to the declining power of empires and the rise of nation-states. Influential figures such as Johann Gottfried Herder and Giuseppe Mazzini contributed to the development of nationalist ideas, inspiring movements for independence and unification across Europe.

During the 20th century, nationalism played a significant role in the struggle for decolonization, leading to the emergence of new nation-states in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

Also Read: What is Anarchism: Defination, History, Significance

Significance of Nationalism

Nationalism has profound significance in shaping modern societies and global politics:

  • Nation-Building.
  • Identity and Belonging
  • Independence Movements
  • Cultural Expression: Nationalism encourages the preservation and revival of indigenous cultures and traditions, enriching the global cultural tapestry.
  • Political Influence: Nationalism can influence domestic and foreign policies, impacting diplomatic relations and international dynamics.


#1. Who is considered one of the early influential figures in the development of nationalism?

#2. Which core value of nationalism emphasizes the right of a nation's people to freely choose their political and territorial status?

#3. What significant role did nationalism play in the 20th century?


Hope you have gotten all the relevant information about what nationalism is! If you want to know more about topics like this, then visit our general knowledge page! Alternatively, you can also read our blog on general knowledge for competitive exams!

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *



25,000+ students realised their study abroad dream with us. Take the first step today.
Talk to an expert