How Nationalism Impacts World Politics

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  • 0:01 Nationalism Defined
  • 0:54 The Positives
  • 2:04 The Negatives
  • 2:41 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley
Nationalism has the ability to provide tremendous benefits to a society, but also the capacity to wreak devastation if its power is misused. In this lesson, we'll take a look at nationalism's impact on the world stage.

Nationalism Defined

Meet Marco. He's the leader of a newly formed state and is trying to develop a sense of nationalism for the citizens of his newly established state as part of his nation-building efforts. Nationalism is one's identification and patriotic loyalty to his or her nation and its interests. A nation is a group of people that has a shared identity that often consists of a common language, culture and history. Jewish people, for example, comprise a nation.

Nation-building involves trying to turn a group of people within the boundaries of a country into a nation. A state that consists of a nation is called a nation-state. For example, Israel is a state containing members of the Jewish nation. Now, let's take a look at the positives and negatives related to creating a sense of nationalism.

The Positives

Marco wants to forge a strong sense of nationalism among his country's people because of the benefits nationalism provides to a state. A sense of nationalism binds the people of a state with different socioeconomic classes, religions and education together by providing them a common identity and common purpose. The United States is a perfect example of the power of nationalism since its population is very diverse, and yet, pretty much all of its citizens have a strong devotion to the United States and its national goals.

Marco knows that his young country will not succeed without the loyalty and stability created by nationalism. Without a sense of nationalism, citizens may put their own interests, or the interests of their particular ethnic group, religion or social class, ahead of the interests of the state. This may create hostility to the state and other groups of people in Marco's country. Hostility creates instability, and instability leads to failed states, which are states that cannot successfully manage their internal affairs and protect their borders.

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