An Issue of Nationalism in USA

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Nationalism refers to the body of thought or beliefs held about the nation by its people and how their collective actions and attitudes acknowledge the upmost importance of the nation, subsequently achieving or sustaining the moral, cultural and/or political outcome of their country. Nationalism is how one feels toward their nation. Therefore nationalism determines how strong a nation is, by the unity of the people. Nationalism is one of the most profound pillars of society at every level of history. Often nationalism can be traced back as the root cause of so many events since the beginning of recorded history. Nationalism normally serves as the line of demarcation between two groups of people not necessarily countries that can cause sociological rifts between the two groups. Possibly leading to mistreatment of one group by the other or even war. Nationalism can be manifested as a state ideology or as a non-state popular movement. These manifestations give rise to five forms of nationalism (ethnic, religious, civic, cultural or ideological) which are used to classify sub-types of nationalism. There are over 10 sub-types of nationalism, some of which seek unity and self-governance for people of certain ethic groups while others seek expansion and economic growth for nations against the global community. Other forms of nationalism have been criticized for hiding racism while other forms of nationalism seek to bring social unity and equality regardless of ethnicity.

Nationalism in USA

American nationalism or United States nationalism is a form of civic nationalism found in the United States. Essentially, it indicates the aspects that characterize and distinguish the United States as an autonomous political community. The term often serves to explain efforts to reinforce its national identity and self-determination within their national and international affairs. The outcome of the War of 1812 was surprising and unexpected. The British were dominating most of the war, such as the burning of Washington, but in a surprise upset in the battle of New Orleans the over confident British were destroyed. This upset brought around the Treaty of Ghent, which led to an armistice between the two countries. Having beaten the British again, the American people developed a strong sense of nationalism.

This war may not have been fought by America as unified because the North was very against the war, compared to the south, but the outcome produced one nation of people united together. The people got the sense of nationalism because they had defeated the British yet again, and they were now seen as a military threat. This raised more feelings of nationalism because they could be proud of their country now because the rest of the world was recognizing America. The collapse of the Federalist Party was also an event that shaped the feelings of nationalism. Feelings of nationalism were also able to spread through American literature. Writers such as Washington Irving and James Fenimore Cooper wrote books that helped promote American nationalism. Nationalism was further heightening by a plan that Henry Clay came up with. This plan known as the American System, started with building a strong banking system, then moved on the implementing a protective tariff, which caused eastern manufacturing to grow. The final part of the American system was transportation. The networks of roads and canals allowed supplies to move all over the country. Supplies were moved from North to South to East to West. This form of transport kept each area dependant on the other areas for supplies, and therefore kept them economically and politically connected. This strengthened nationalism even more because America was no longer split South, and North. It was a united country politically and economically tied.

Nationalism is growing nearly everywhere, including in the United States. But nationalism is not the same in every country. American nationalism, since the birth of the republic, has been more internationalist than the typical nationalist fare, meaning it has been more inclusive and more open. It has been more inclusive in the sense that anyone, regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity, could become a citizen of the United States, and it has been more open in the sense that, with exceptions, America welcomed immigration and freer trade.

Traditional nationalism rallied around monarchs, state churches, mercantilism, and ethnic homogeneity. Early America had no monarch, national church, or strong central government, and was largely born in reaction against all three. Despite flaws—maltreatment of indigenous populations, slavery, and sectarian enmity (mainly anti-Catholic bias)—American nationalism promoted republican values of racial equality and religious freedom. As a rule, for more than two centuries inclusiveness and openness trumped narrow elitism, economic nationalism, and ethnic chauvinism. In this form, American nationalism has shaped the international system. Even before it became a military power, America discomfited the proponents of traditional nationalism in Europe; elites there hoped that America would fracture and fail, and often convinced themselves it would do both.

Then, after America became a world power in the 20th  century, republican ideals caused it either to shun a traditional imperial role (the case after World War I) or to embrace an unconventional open-trade model that deliberately shifted relative power to former adversaries and others (the case after World War II). Starting with Germany and Japan, the United States helped other powers rise relatively as the United States declined relatively. The latest great power in this story, for better or worse, is China. America may be the first great power in history to deliberately share its wealth and nurture more open and stronger democratic partners, the first ever to turn the core Enlightenment idea of a non-zero-sum order into a grand strategy. It is an internationalist form of nationalism that is hard to understand in traditional terms.  A nationalism of internationalism has been good for America, too. When America pursued inclusiveness and openness abroad, it fashioned a better society at home—and this was no coincidence. For example, America’s open model of world politics after World War II not only built a thriving global economy and defeated the Soviet Union abroad but also accommodated the civil rights revolution, emancipation of women, unprecedented immigration, and rapid economic growth at home. The only time during the 20 th  century that America faltered was in the interwar period, when it pursued a more traditional nationalism abroad and deepened Jim Crow racism at home.

Advantages and disadvantages of Nationalism


  1. It develops the infrastructure of the nation.  National pride means caring for what is yours. When there is a strong sense of nationalism, then there are programs in place to care for roads, bridges, and other needed infrastructure items. This also means good-paying jobs are generally created to build these needed items.
  2. It inspires people to succeed.  The American Dream is an example of nationalism. The idea that someone can come to the US from anywhere, pursue their own version of happiness, and achieve what they want to achieve in life is an effort many wish to have access to having. People are inspired to succeed because of their desire to be independent.
  3. It gives a nation a position of strength.  One should always negotiate from a position of strength. Thanks to nationalism, a nation can be as strong as it can possibly be as a community and this can give it global negotiating power.


  1. It often leads to separation and loneliness. Nationalism’s superiority often causes a country to not only be independent from the rest of the world, but also separated from the rest of the world. Treaties can become more difficult to form. It can become difficult to have a strong import/export market. This is because the focus is always on the self first.
  2. It can lead to socioeconomic cliques.  Nationalism just doesn’t occur at the community level. It also occurs at the individual level. This leads to people separating themselves based on labels they create on their own. This can be based on wealth, religion, ethnicity – anything that makes one person different from another.
  3. It can lead to war.  When two nations focused on nationalism clash in their ideals, both will feel that they are right and the other is wrong. If either feels like their values are under attack, then nationalism can also become the foundation for war. The advantages and disadvantages of nationalism must be carefully balanced for this to be a positive experience. Being patriotic is fine. Assuming your personal patriotism is better than everyone else around is what brings out the negative. Nationalism in USA on today.

Today, we hear the sloppy, misconceived term “white nationalism” more often than we hear about American nationalism. And whenever the term nationalism is raised, it is often quickly conflated with racism. For instance, at an Oct. 23 rally, President Donald Trump declared that he was a nationalist. He used the term in contrast with globalist, who he called “a person that wants the globe to do well, frankly not caring about our country so much.” Many commentators quickly deplored the President’s statement as a dog-whistle admission that he truly supports “white nationalism,” once again suppressing legitimate debate over the value of American nationalism, while insisting that racialist “white nationalism” is what we really should be talking about. This is a problem. Because it’s American nationalism that the U.S. needs right now. Never in our lifetimes have we seen America’s various tribes so divided, so intolerant of one another, so quick to delegitimize and even threaten violence. The mutual loyalty that has bound Americans together as a nation seems like it is disappearing.

The United States has a big problem with nationalism: it's uncomfortable with everybody else's. Yet there's a great irony here: the United States seems quite unaware of the fact that it is one of the most enthusiastically nationalistic countries of the world. More remarkably, it regularly miscalculates the force of nationalism abroad. Today nationalism is probably the single most widespread ideology in politics across the globe. If you ask most Americans what they think about nationalism, you'll likely get a negative response. Nationalism will be variously characterized as archaic, narrow, intolerant, racist, zealous, irrational, uncompromising, a hindrance to the creation of a more globalized world, and an overall danger to the international order.

In short, America would generally like to see nationalism go away. The United States has problems analyzing nationalism because there is a bias toward "rational" or "scientific" thought. The US policy world and society as a whole increasingly explains events through statistical or theoretical analysis of various types of data—even when the feelings, impulses, beliefs, and views of another culture are integral components of the event. In sum, America's encounter with nationalism is problematic. It reflects some of its own anxieties about the potentially divisive role sub-nationalism can play within American society; it is also perceived as a broad force overseas that is fundamentally programmed to resist the American superpower agenda. American problems in grasping the character and dynamic of foreign nationalism are deeply entrenched.


While nationalism has to be practiced with great care to see humanity and civil life is helped by it, the youth has an immense role of changing the existing flaws by adequate application of progress and knowledge of the same. Nationalism is very important for improving the country's development, prosperity and future of its citizens. There is a concept of nationalism in every developed country. It is difficult to imagine a country that has no sense of nationalism. Nations should protect their countries, their homeland, at the expense of their lives and their blood. For this reason, sense of nationalism is very important, and the feeling of nationalism in every citizen comes from the time he/she was born in his/her own country. In America, nationalism has developed extensively. But, “nationalism” has become a dirty word in the modern era, having become inextricably associated with repression of minorities and imperialist ambition. Americans show their nationalism not only in America, but also in other countries by protecting each other.

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An Issue Of Nationalism In USA. (2019, Aug 02). Retrieved February 23, 2024 , from

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