Nationalism is a strong belief in one particular country being better than other nations. In fact, it is closely connected with patriotism. According to some creationism stories, human beings are viewed as superior to other creations of God, and this resulted in a tendency among people to believe that some groups are better than the others are. There are many stories of the development of nationalism and its many different directions of evolution. However, in general, nationalism is based on the political principles that lead to the formation of a different government. It is described in many ways depending on the factors considered as a descriptive criteria. They may include patriotism, ambition, aspiration, loyalty, love, and many other aspects. Nationalists are people who have strong feelings concerning the betterment of their homelands in relation to other countries (Gellner & Breuilly, 2008). Some of the nationalist movements played a critical role in the achievement rise of nationalism around the world. On many continents, nationalism emerged on the basis of a great number of issues concerning economics, politics, and social spheres and developed through civic, cultural, and ethnic groupings. There are certain aspects of the groupings that are associated with nationalism: churches, trade unions, political parties, schools, universities, firms, supranational groupings, empires, and all other similarly lasting and significant associations of people. Both the history and theory of nationalism are complex, but one can understand them following the process step by step that nationalism is the adherence to the principle that the claims of the members of one nation override any claim of other people (Guibernau & Rex, 2010).

Get a price quote
Title of your paper
Type of assignment
Writing level
First order only: 00.00

Background Information

Nationalism is a direct consequence of the existence of various nations. They unite people and give the sense of continuity beyond the frames of an individual’s life. Nationalism is closely connected to the traditions passed from generation to generation and community relations. As far as nationalism is concerned, patriotism is considered not enough according to Edith Cavell and conforms to the following statement: a sense of inclusion in any unity entails a sense that others are excluded. Nationalist movements around the world were spearheaded by a number of individuals who were true patriots to their respective nations. The movements were based on the use of the civic, cultural, and ethnic forms of nationalism (Forman, 2010). In the 19th century, those individuals who fought not only for their freedom but also for the freedom of the entire nation practiced nationalism. Such liberals as Hegel and Mill argued that freedom can only be applied in the civic space of national society and requires the participation of the individuals within that society. In the late 19th century, nationalists were viewed as the groups fighting for the freedom for personal gain; in other words, nationalism was closely associated with the hunger for power. During colonization, nationalism was outlawed since it categorized under resistance where the pioneers could be seen fighting for their freedom. The colonial powers could not provide them with such opportunity or space because those individuals were a threat to them (MacCormick, 2016). The emergence of nationalism was based on the ethnic aspect rather than the civic one since mostly particular communities or people from the same family with the conservative benefits on the agenda spearheaded the movement.

Some famous nationalist movements and nationalists include Wafd Party in Egypt, Zionism and Balfour concerning Jews in Palestine, Mohandas Gandthi who fought for the independence of India from Great Britain, Mustafa Kemal from Turkey, Peza Shah Pahlavi from Iran, Boxer Rebellion in China, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya fighting for independence, Mao Zedong in China, and many others. Most of the aforementioned nationalists are associated with all the three forms of nationalism. However, one document cannot describe all of the movements and nationalists that are or have been previously active around the world (Chen, 2010).



Custom Writing on
Any Subject




Only Original






BA, MA and
PhD Writers




Any Citation



Forms of Nationalism

There are many forms of nationalism, but nationalist movements utilized mostly the following three forms: civic, cultural, and ethnic. Civic nationalism is based on the involvement of all citizens in the liberation of the nation. Its scope of the politics does not consider ethnicity, race, color, language, or any other discrimination to be important factors (Eriksen, 2010). It is purely political and has been used in the fights for independence. The groups only share specific political practices and values which unite them. Some examples of civic nationalism the French Revolution and the American Revolution in the 19th century. Morever, nost of the African nationalists practiced this kind of nationalism for the sole purpose of gaining independence from their colonial masters.

Being based on politics, civic nationalism is a modern form of nationalism since it concerns the state of nation taking into account the beliefs and spirit of citizenship. The political nature is about having some particular behaviors and traits. All of them, including language, religion, laws, education, and many other important aspects in the society, must be shared equally. The success of civic nationalism depends on the basic needs of the citizens, such as food, shelter, rules, health, and other factors. This is a situation where the community operates as a unit, and every individual has a share of the distributed resources (Michailova & Hutchings, 2006). Citizenship and national integration play critical roles in harnessing civic nationalism. Britain and France can serve as the good examples of nationality being derived from citizenship. Since civic nationalism is based on political territory considering it as its sphere of influence, the notions exuded much confidence in the citizenship and political boundaries. The civic nationalism proponents strive for the uniformity of political space that is not influenced by any discriminatory factors. The historians have argued that the civic nationalism is superior to the other two forms nationalism. The practically of civic nationalism is related to the differences in the historical development in most European nations. For instance, Nelson Mandela of South Africa became famous due to his being a civic nationalist.

Ethnic nationalism is characterized by the involvement of the part of community in liberation movements. This kind of nationalism had the aspect of politics but was based on th existing discrimination by language, color, religion, race, and other factors. Ethnic nationalism is the continuation of cultural nationalism because it has some elements of culture. The Basque lands of Spain serve as a fine example. Ethnic nationalism is concerned with particular groups in their relation to the natives. It is closely associated with the migration and settlement of many tribes across the world. A good example of ethnic nationalism is the reaction of Germany to the invasion of Napoleon in 1806 as well as the Poles and Baltic people under the Russian Empire’s rule, the Serbs under the Turkish rule in the Ottoman Empire, and the Croats under the Habsburgs in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Exclusive savings! Save 25% on your ORDER

Get 15% OFF your FIRST ORDER + 10% OFF every order by receiving 300 words/page instead of 275 words/page

Finally, cultural nationalism combines the two forms of nationalism where politics is closely connected to various cultural aspects, such as arts, music, and traditions. The movements based on various cultures and traditions were connected with the advancing beliefs making people rebel against the colonial powers using art to gain independence (Dik?tter, 2010). The cultures were set in such way that other groups who were different were excluded. The cultures were used to gain some political advantage, such as forming trade unions and political parties ensuring that those who were in power felt their influence. They were also the perfect mode of discrimination: cultural groupings could decide to listen to a particular kind of music, participate in different activities separately from the other groups, eat specific food accepted in their groups, and even become disobedient to some extent. This form of nationalism is closely related to ethnic nationalism where people were divided in accordance with their race, religion, complexion color, and language. Individual division takes place in the same manner, and people help each other only in case of some problems. Mao Zedong of China is a leader of the brightest and the most famous nationalist movements that resorted to using the cultural form of nationalism.

Modern liberal nationalism has modified the forms of nationalism integrating all the three in order for them to have some similar features, such as rejection of ethnic nationalism. Liberals allow a common cultural basis, but emphasize that the national identity affects the ethnic aspect, and to avoid the issue of discrimination, nations must foster individual freedom and autonomy by emphasizing the voluntarily chosen nature of national commitment to escape conservative ideas. Moreover, national identification is a real choice for people: it is the expression of authentic sentiment and loyalty rather than a legitimizing ideology for the expanding state or an idea invented by the elites in order to legitimize a new order of power to ensure that the success of a nation depends on the collective effort of the whole nation and not the individual one.

The forms of nationalism have some interrelated issues which are quite similar since all of them are about fighting for a place in society.

Need reliable and quick help with your paper?

Connect us right now

Typical Example of Nationalist Movements

The movement that Mao Zedong led in 1949 transformed China from the old industry to a modern one. The movement was used to claim independence of the country from the colonial powers. In this case, Mao Zedong combined all the forms nationalism in China providing a perfect example. Mao used culture to advance the political agenda in China during colonization. He was a staunch political activist hiding in the cultural policies. In fact, art played a critical role in the political influence. The Communist Party, of which Mao was the head, embraced all the forms of nationalism. First, cultural nationalism was greatly used when the Cultural Revolution took place. The Communist Party formed a kind of unique language to use for the peace restoration for to the people of China (Tamir, 2013). The language could only be understood by some sections within the party of Mao. Cultural nationalism demonstrates diversity in all aspects of culture: art, literature, and traditions being used for the advancement of the agenda of the nationalists. The Communist Party acted in the exact accordance with cultural nationalism. Culture was used in order to spread propaganda undermining the image of colonial powers (Johnston, Banting, Kymlicka & Soroka, 2010). Indeed, culture as a way of life has a substantial effect in society, and freedom is especially required and, in fact, inevitable in terms of nationalism. Cultural groupings could be used to show various kinds of discrimination. These groupings are seen as different nations, and nations have political implications according to the views of many historians. This can be related to the religious organization that has historical connections to Judaism and the Catholic Church in Poland, Ireland, and Scotland. It also relates to the Welsh movement for disestablishment of the Church in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Furthermore, civic nationalism was practiced by Mao’s movement as well. It involved the use of the doctrine of state sovereignty and world order of mutual independence that dominated the politics of the modern world. Mao applied civic nationalism when he formed the Communist Party by involving many people in order to not display the signs of being conservative or introverted in his affairs. The members of the party functioned as one unit. The membership in the party was a matter of mutual recognition. In order for one to belong to a group, they had to be recognized by the other members. The Communist Party united its members in accordance with the aforementioned rules of membership.

Finally, ethnic nationalism could be observed on the members of the party belonging to one race, particularly Chinese (Loh, 2010). Ethnic nationalism was proved to take place when Mao introduced the use of particular language signs to render some information which he could use to undermine the image of the colonial powers. Music and videos were used for the members of the Communist Party to understand. The songs majorly had the message that broadcasted considerable propaganda undermining the image of those in power at the time. The use of different languages was the way of enhancing ethnic groupings which resulted in the formation of many separate nations in the society. The group was self-determined because of enjoying the rights attributed to people or nations. The issue of involving people and nations creates many problems for which finding an agreeable solution could prove to be quite difficult (Margalit & Raz, 1990). Ethnic nationalism was applied the least due to many different languages and was not easy in terms of recruiting enough members through the process.


In conclusion, nationalism is the adherence to the principle that the claims of a nation and its members override any claims of other nations. Nationalism and nationalist movement appeared in many countries all over the world and resulted in peace, cohesion, and harmony among the peoples. Nationalism and nationalist movements make use of the civic, cultural, and ethnic forms of the idea. Indeed, nationalism has incorporated the aspect of belief, law, and culture based on some principles concerning its application. There are a great number of nationalist movements in the world that were used for certain political reasons. Most of these movements were led by some prominent individuals in society that worked as nationalists. The forms of nationalism differ: civic nationalism concerns the inclusion of everybody and ethnic nationalism is about division in accordance with race, language, and other factors. Ethnic nationalism is the type of extension of cultural nationalism because it has some elements of culture as well. Moreover, ethnic nationalism is concerned with particular groups and the natives. Cultural nationalism is based on some parts of culture, such as art, music, and traditions. Mao Zedong provides the example of nationalist movements that comprises of all three forms of nationalism. The significance of the study can be established by investigating the overriding factor in all the forms of nationalism. The study’s findings provide the evidence of numerous nationalists and nationalist movements adopting the use of at least one the forms for efficient and productive operations. Taking the aforementioned arguments into account, the future study of the issue should deal with differentiating and connecting the types and forms of nationalism.