Examples of Nationalism

, Staff Writer
Updated November 24, 2020
American flag waving as examples of nationalism
    American flag waving as examples of nationalism
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    Used under Getty Images license

The term nationalism refers to the loyalty of an individual or a group to a nation. This term is primarily used when referring to a group that elevates the status of one nation above others and focuses on the degradation of others' cultures or the promotion of their own. Explore examples of nationalism.

What Is a Nationalist?

Nationalism isn’t just pride in one’s country. It goes beyond that. Nationalists think that their country is superior to other countries. Because they are superior, nationalists will not collaborate with global efforts or unions. In extreme cases, it can lead to the segregation of ethnicities and/or ethnic cleansings.

Economic Nationalism

Nationalism can also be found in the economy. Economic nationalism is when you favor your goods and services over other countries. One example is the Made In the USA campaign. The premise behind this campaign is that materials made in the US are superior to products made in China, for example.


Nationalism vs. Patriotism

Patriotism and nationalism can get confused sometimes, but the two are different. Patriots love their country. This can be seen in their pride and willingness to defend it. However, patriots do not feel the need to dominate other countries or display the superiority prevalent in nationalists. The need to be number one and dominate others in nationalists can often lead to military aggression.

This can be seen in the French Revolution in the way that Napoleon Bonaparte worked to spread the enlightened ideals of the French throughout Europe by force. The French Revolution is a perfect example of nationalism at play. Check out other nationalism examples.

Understanding Nationalism Through Examples

Many examples of nationalism include situations in which a nation comes together for a specific cause or in reaction to a significant event. Explore several different examples seen throughout history.

  • In the Battle of New Orleans when the Americans beat the British, Andrew Jackson became the “Hero of New Orleans” and boosted American’s sense of superiority over Britain.
  • India's promotion of India as a Hindu nation is an example of nationalism. It calls for everyone to adhere to Hindu ideals even though there are vast religions in the country.
  • Donald Trump's "America First" campaign was seen as a form of nationalism because it pushed American ideals on others and excluded specific cultures.
  • Hitler's unity of the Germans through various techniques in order to achieve his agenda is a historical example of nationalism.
  • Nationalism is evident in European countries' colonial expansion. The Europeans tried to push their thoughts and ideologies on other countries, sometimes by force.
  • The unity of the Soviets when bringing their country to collapse after the Cold War is a display of nationalism in recent history.
  • The unity of the Serbian minorities in Croatia and Bosnia led to ethnic cleansing.
  • Scotland elected a nationalist party in 2007.
  • In 2007, Wales' successfully elected a new nationalist party. The purpose of the party was to promote the Welsh language and traditions.
  • Symbols such as the Union Jack and songs such as Rule, Brittania! are examples of the manifestation of nationalism in England in the 1700s.
  • The Greek War of Independence was begun by Greek nationalists as a show of united rebellion.
  • The unification of the Turkish speaking peoples in Central Asia called Pan-Turkism was an ideology of Turkish nationalists.
  • Vladimir Putin's annexing Crimea from Ukraine, and "Russia against the world" rhetoric is an example of nationalism.
  • Aryanism, an ideology which states that Aryans are the master race, has been considered a form of, or a component of, nationalism.
  • The Japanese, during WWII, displayed nationalism. The Japanese elite worked to show their superiority and try to rule over others.
  • Benito Mussolini is an example of a nationalistic leader.
  • Keeping Canada’s dairy industry local is an example of economic nationalism because it prioritizes the economic interests of Canadian citizens.

As these examples show, nationalism can be used for good purposes or for bad purposes depending upon what the nation comes together in order to accomplish.


Perspectives of Nationalism

There are two perspectives about nationalism's genesis: primordialist and modernist:

  • primordialist - This suggests that nationalism is the result of humans' evolutionary tendency to gather and unite in groups. Pierre van den Berghe is a primary proponent of the primordialist perspective.
  • modernist - This suggests that nationalism is very new, and its existence requires contemporary societal and cultural constructs. Henry Maine, Max Weber, and Ferdinand Tonnies are some of the prominent modernist theorists. The first usage of the word "nationalism" is attributed to Johann Gottfried Herder in the late 1700s.

Looking at Nationalism

Nationalism can be a powerful means of achieving goals as a country. Nationalism can also be a tool of manipulation by the leadership of a group or nation and can lead to grave violence. Now that you know a bit about nationalism, you might want to take a look at totalitarian governments.