Nationalism


Figure 1.--Here we see American children dressed in different flag costumes. It looks like some sort of Fourth of July tableaux. Images like this are uniquely American. This photo-back post csard was taken about 1910. (Photo postcarss first appeared in 1904 and a new start patten appeared with the Arizona statehoof in 1913.) The curious thing about American nationalism at the time was that it was not backed with massive military spending as was the case in Europe and it welcomed huge numbers of forein immigrants.

Nationalism is a powerful concept which has had a huge impact on modern history. At times it has had racial connotations, but this has not always been the case. Under the Fascists in the 20th century it took a particularly virulent turn. We have noted several instances of mixed national background and the struggles associated for the children involved. Some Europeans in the 19th and early 20th century looked down on America for its mixed ancestry wondering if this constituted the basis for a true nation. Nationalism is a belief that countries or nations whether defined (ethnically or culturally) are the primary units of humam society. Proponents of nationalism make a range of cultural, economic, and political claims based upon their comminment to their country and its service. The fundamental claim is that the nation as defined is the sole only legitimate basis for the any political state. Furthermore each nation believes that it is entitled to its own political state and self determination. Here nations come in conflict because many nations have overlapping territorial claims and some nations fall totally within the territory of larger states. Complications arise because a nation usually consists of an ethnic, religious, or cultural community while a state is a soverign political enitentity. Modern nationalism is a largely European concept, although it is now most intense in the countries outside the European Union. European states until the French Revolution were largely multi-ethnic kingdoms and empires. Even in unifoed countries like Britain France, and Spain there was considrable wthnic and linguistic diversity. The wars of the French Revolution and Napoleonic era inspired the growth of nationalism, often due to the opposition to French occupation. This led to the unification of Italy and Germny as well to the desore for states among the barious national groups of central and eastern Europe. The nationalism of the 19th century led to the terrible tragedies of Worl;d War I and II. As a result, the concept has come into disrepute in Europe. In contrast it is often a highly effective rallying cry to the people of the Third World.

Definition

Nationalism is a belief that countries or nations whether defined (ethnically or culturally) are the primary units of humam society.

Claims

Proponents of nationalism make a range of cultural, economic, and political claims based upon their comminment to their country and its service. The fundamental claim is that the nation as defined is the sole only legitimate basis for the any political state. Furthermore each nation believes that it is entitled to its own political state and self determination. Here nations come in conflict because many nations have overlapping territorial claims and some nations fall totally within the territory of larger states. Complications arise because a nation usually consists of an ethnic, religious, or cultural community while a state is a soverign political enitentity.

Chronology

Nationalism is a powerful concept which has had a huge impact on modern history. Modern nationalism is a largely European concept, although it is now most intense in the countries outside the European Union. Early nationslist outburts among the Celts and Germans masy have been more tribal than national. The first huge impsact of nationalism on history was probanly the Protestsant Reformation in Germany and the subsequent Dutch War or Independence. European states until the French Revolution were largely multi-ethnic kingdoms and empires. Even in unifoed countries like Britain France, and Spain there was considrable wthnic and linguistic diversity. The wars of the French Revolution and Napoleonic era inspired the growth of nationalism, often due to the opposition to French occupation. This led to the unification of Italy and Germny as well to the desore for states among the barious national groups of central and eastern Europe. The nationalism of the 19th century led to the terrible tragedies of World War I and II. As a result, the concept has come into disrepute in Europe. The Europeans discarding nastioinalism as a dangerous relic from the past, dicarded nationalism and brgan building what is now the European Community. In contrast, nationalism at the sam\e time emerged as a major force in the Third World. Here it is often a highly effective rallying cry to the newly independent people in Africa and Asia a well as Latin America with a longer history of independence.

Race

At times narionalism has had racial connotations, but this has not always been the case. Under the Fascists in the 20th century it took a particularly virulent turn. We have noted several instances of mixed national background and the struggles associated for the children involved.

Country Trends


America

Some Europeans in the 19th and early-20th century looked down on America for its mixed ancestry wondering if this constituted the basis for a true nation.

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Created: 8:52 AM 4/24/2006
Last updated: 8:14 PM 12/6/2009