What Is Nationalism? Definition, History, and Significance

3 minute read
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!

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.

Must 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

What is Cultural Nationalism?

Cultural nationalists believe in promoting a shared national identity based on common cultural values, practices and traditions. 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 than other nations. They believe that a strong national identity is essential for unity and stability within the nation.

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.

What is a Nationalist Movement?

A nationalist movement can be either political or cultural. 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. It can also be a struggle in terms of reaction against wider rights for minority groups.


#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!

Hope you have gotten all the relevant information about Nationalism! 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 *