Nationalism is a political principle that originated in the late eighteenth century as an idea intended to legitimize the existence of a nation-state for each people (defined by language, history, and common traditions, beyond political divisions). During the nineteenth century and early twentieth century, this principle has gradually become one of the main in Europe and was often presented as an emancipation movement with strong social connotation, especially among the people, which were deprived of their own state and were under the domination of an elite foreign to their culture, such as the Irish, Czechs or Poles.
This term also refers to political movements claiming the necessity to exalt a nation in all its forms (state, culture, religion, traditions, national preference for employment …), as opposed to other nations and people. This second variant of the movement has developed from the late nineteenth century and appeared sometime very chauvinistic and xenophobic with its supporters mainly from lower middle class.
From the mid-nineteenth century, nationalism also took the form of a national sentiment more or less widespread and exalted in the population of a country, which basically manifested itself (especially in the twentieth century) in multiple doctrines or political ideologies, ranging from communism (e.g. the concept of Patriotism anti-imperialist by Mao Zedong) and fascism (anti-capitalist concept of Totalitarianism by Benito Mussolini) to parliamentary democracies, through the Third International. Thus, it has often served as a justification for ethnic cleansing in the twentieth century.
For your research paper on nationalism to be argumentative and interesting it is necessary to indicate that the eighteenth century society witnessed origins and spreading nationalism as an idea in the minds of the politicians. It is also important to mention that many historians agree that nationalism can be seen as an attempt to organize society according to principles of the emerging market economy in the sixteenth century. However, they refuse to consider it as a simple mechanical consequence of the economy, showing that its implementation was heavily influenced by local political dynamics and social functioning specific to diverse populations. Historians indicate that if an agrarian economy can tolerate a society where writing and knowledge are the privilege of a minority, and where the whole society is partitioned, an industrial economy needs homogeneity of the population and interchangeability of individuals (a “social entropy”), hence the need for a large share of the writing, knowledge of a common language and egalitarianism.
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