Notes on Nationalism- A2 Government and Politics Essay

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Pages: 5


The nature of the nation and the differences between nations and states.
- A nation can be defined as a group of people who consider themselves to have common circumstances at birth. These common circumstances are strong enough for them to adopt collective goals based on their national identity. Nationalism is therefore an emotional phenomenon felt by the people.
- There are a number of typical circumstances of birth that may give rise to nationhood including having a single common ancestor, a common historical experience, common culture, ethnic identity, geographical proximity, religion, attachment to territory.
- A state is a political reality. It either exists or it doesn’t. In contrast to the concept of nation, it
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* It implied the demise of imperial power and the risk of civil war in those countries that were multinational in culture. * However as more nation-states began to establish, conservatives began to understand that nationalism could be a force of order, instead of disorder. * They believed that people were bound together by their traditions and a common sense of their own history. This united them more powerful than any government institution could be. * While liberals saw nationalism as a way of creating and maintain individual and collective liberty, conservatives saw it as a mean by which societies could be held together. * Conservative nationalism can also be defensive in nature, and this occurs when the national identity is perceived to be under threat.

Expansionist/aggressive forms of nationalism and their ideological origins
-Radical nationalism presented by the Nazis lead to the assumption that nationalism is expansionist and aggressive.
-Since the late 18th century a number of nationalist wars have been fought in attempt to spread their hegemony, or defend their existing spheres of influence and other nations trying to thwart them.
-Nationalists have often used expansionist militarism in order to create or preserve a sense of unity. Certainly this was the case in Mussolini’s Italy where the