What is Nationalism? Definition, History, and Significance

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What is Nationalism

Hey, guys! Mr. Owl 🦉 is here. I see that you want to know about ‘Nationalism’. Hootfully, I’ll be of help to you! Since we owls are very wise. If you scroll further down this blog, you’ll see all the information you will need!

Just as a large family cherishes its traditions and ancestors, Nationalism celebrates the collective history and values of a nation. Furthermore, Nationalism is an ideology that centres around the idea of a shared national identity and pride in one’s nation. In this blog, you will explore the essence of Nationalism, its historical development and its significance in shaping our modern societies.

Understanding Nationalism

Nationalism is a political and cultural ideology that promotes loyalty and devotion to one’s nation and its interests.

  • Moreover, it encourages a sense of belonging and solidarity among citizens who share a common heritage and identity.
  • Additionally, Nationalism highlights the importance of a unified community bound by a common language, culture, history, and territory.

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

National Values, Ideas, and Beliefs

Furthermore, Nationalism encompasses different 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, hence protecting them from external influences.
  • National Unity: Foster unity among their people, transcending regional, ethnic, or religious differences, to form a cohesive national identity.

Also Read: What is Patriotism?

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.
  • Moreover, influential figures such as Johann Gottfried Herder and Giuseppe Mazzini contributed to the development of nationalist ideas.
  • Therefore, inspiring movements for independence and unification across Europe.
  • During the 20th century, Nationalism played an important role in the struggle for decolonization.
  • Hence leading to the emergence of new nation-states in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

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

What is Cultural Nationalism?

Cultural Nationalists believe in promoting a shared national identity based on common cultural values, practices and traditions.

  • Moreover, these shared cultural values can be history, language, religion, art music as well as social norms.
  • The cultural nationalists usually feel that their shared national identity and shared cultural values are superior to other nations.
  • Additionally, they believe that a strong national identity is essential for unity and stability within the nation.

Significance of Nationalism

Furthermore, Nationalism has deep significance in shaping modern societies and global politics as it contributes to:

  • 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.

Also Read: What Is Fascism: Definition, History, and Significance

What is a Nationalist Movement?

A Nationalist Movement can be either political or cultural such as the Indian National Movement.

  • A political nationalist may be carried out and initiated in a more structured way.
  • Sometimes this may also turn into a military struggle in want of Statehood or independence and autonomy from a larger political organization.
  • On the other hand, the Movement may also be initiated by the members of a national group for the rights of its members.
  • Additionally, it can also be a struggle in terms of reaction against wider rights for minority groups.

Also Read: What is Marxism?

What is Nationalism in India?

Indian nationalism is a unique blend of unity and diversity. It centres around the idea of a nation for all Indians, despite their religion, ethnicity, or language.

  • This sense of shared identity arose largely in opposition to British colonial rule.
  • The oppression faced by people under Colonialism promoted a common bond.
  • Leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and numerous others played an important part in uniting these diverse groups under the banner of independence.

However, Indian Nationalism is not without its complexities. While it highlights a common Indian identity, it also acknowledges and celebrates the richness of India’s diverse cultures and traditions. Religion, for instance, is a powerful force in Indian life, and religious identities have played a part in the national narrative. Ultimately, Indian Nationalism is the story of a nation finding its voice and developing a united future while embracing its inherent diversity.


#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?


“Kiddos, I’ve answered all your queries with the utmost precision that I was capable of. Now, I’ll be taking my leave, but if you think I might have missed something, do drop a comment. I always respond!

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