Every nation has its way of identifying itself and establishing a feeling of being proud of one’s country. Nationalism strengthens national unity by making people believe that they are better and more important than others. It also plays a crucial role in world affairs, and it can have either positive or negative impacts depending on its outcomes which are also based on ideologies. Western civilization was greatly affected by nationalism in terms of beliefs, political systems, artifacts, and norms. Western values refer to many cultures of European heritage in which they share a similar way of life in terms of ideas, philosophies, and to some extent, ancestral beliefs. The rise of nationalism provided a new sense of identity and competition among the western states in the following ways.
Nationalism has led to the unification of states in a series of phases. In the 19th century, Europe led to the consolidation of small states to form present-day Germany. The 39 states were united to form a confederation and were aimed at coordinating the economies of German-speaking nations (Nafaa, 2019). Different states came together to form the currently renowned United States. Each executive state is governed by the Governor, whom the people directly elect. This unification was done to strengthen Western countries’ economic and political dominance.
Nationalism gave people a new sense of identity; this is acquired when a nation is represented by a distinctive language, culture, and beliefs. People who live in the United States have distinct English from the United Kingdom. They both identify themselves with their language and cannot be defined by that of the other. In the United Kingdom, people recognize the queen as their leader, and they have every obligation to follow her command (Stephens, 2018). Sports have portrayed the identity of a given country by providing a good and positive image of the nation to the world. When different countries participate in a football match, their citizens always wish to win. This significantly brings about a sense of identity as individuals associate themselves with their team.
Creation of a common language; nationalism forced people to find a common language to communicate and pass on ideas. It acts as a unification factor that brings individuals with different beliefs, origins, and colors together. The need for a common language made people learn and use the language to be effective. It was implemented in schools and was used as a learning tool.
Sovereignty and jurisdiction; during the colonial period, different nationalists emerged to fight for their freedom to liberate themselves from their colonial masters. They organized demonstrations demanding their rights and respect for their cultures as colonialists violated them. In the USA, autonomy was granted on 4th July 1776 and was successful because of the American patriots in the thirteen colonies (Greenfeld, 2019). This motivated other nationalists around the world to follow the same path, which has enabled every nation to exercise jurisdiction over its people. People rebelled against their colonial masters and imposed their power. This made the colonialists develop fear and finally resolve to grant freedom.
Nationalism provides unity of the people; European Union was designed in Europe to solve the conflicts that arise and reduce the risk of war. Though European unity faces severe threats and crises, it tries its best to solve the disputes. In Germany, Hitler united the Germans using different techniques to achieve his agenda. Unity can also be provided by the national flag, government institutions like the white house, and all those services as the unifying factors of a given country.
Introduction of education and development of learning institutions; in the 18th century, civilization was determined by nationality. People could get education only through their language but not in the language of other civilizations. Later, people were allowed to learn or get an education not only by using their mother tongue but also by the use of different language civilizations. Nationalism promotes pride; egotism is described as having a good feeling about one’s country. Matthew Wright, a political scientist, and Timreeskens, a sociologist from a catholic university, laid down arguments that nationalism didn’t tell the whole story of national pride (Bone, 2020). He said, “it’s fine to say that pride in your country makes, but what kind of pride are we talking about?” But even though they questioned “pride” as a fruit of nationalism, still many countries are proud of different natural, physical, and historical arts found in their countries.
In conclusion, nationalism should play a vital role in the 21st century by ensuring that other people’s civilizations do not influence people of different races, colors, and origins as they interact. People tend to forget their norms, beliefs, and ethnic values by adapting to other people’s believes and cultures. Therefore, the nationalists should ensure that their culture is well preserved and prevent it from becoming extinct. Secondly, if a conflict arises between two different groups, nationalism should find a unifying factor to create harmony. It should help avoid xenophobia against people from other countries regardless of existing differences.
Bone, A. G. (2020). The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell: Cold War Fears and Hopes 1950–52. Routledge.
Greenfeld, L. (2019). Nationalism: A short history. Brookings Institution Press.
Nafaa, H. (2019). Arab Nationalism: A Response to Ajami’s Thesis on the “End of Pan-Arabism”. In Pan-Arabism and Arab Nationalism (pp. 133-151). Routledge.
Stephens, C. C. (2018). Defining the Monster: The Social Science and Rhetoric of Neo-Marxist Theories of Imperialism in the United States and Latin America, 1945-1973. University of California, Santa Barbara.