October 24, 2018
Social Studies Essay
The Effects of Patriotism and Nationalism in the World
Different groups of people are required to interact with each other everyday.
Those interactions are governed by complex political concepts such as nationalism,
and patriotism. Nationalism is a complex idea that works to unite a group of people
with shared characteristics against other groups of people who are different.
Nationalism divides people, and creates conflict between groups of people. A
concept that is part of that idea of nationalism is patriotism. Patriotism is being
proud of membership of, or belonging to a particular nation. However, patriotism
can lead to the creation of an idea of what the ideal member of a particular group
looks like, and deviation from that image can cause conflict within that particular
nation. The pride of belonging to a certain group can lead to putting your group’s
national interest, or what best benefits your nation, before the interests of any
other people or nations. The previous statement describes ultranationalism, which
is dangerous because it can lead to the oppression of other smaller or less
militaristic nations. In the source, which is a quotation by the former President of
France, Charles de Gaulle, he expresses that patriotism is,”when the love of your
own people comes first…” as opposed to nationalism being “when hate for people
other than your own comes first.” Gaulle’s perspective expresses that patriotism is
a positive force, that unites a people, whereas his definition of nationalism better
fits the concept of ultranationalism, and that idea of putting the national interest of
one group above all others divides nations and creates conflict. The French
perspective is influenced by events that occurred during the French Revolution
where the people rose up against the monarchy and took control of the government
for themselves. The new government had a motto of “freedom, liberty, and
fraternity,” and the people were loyal to each other, rather than to a particular
religion or leader. That loyalty to other members of their nation created a positive
patriotism that helped to change French society. Those events that happened in the
past influence modern nationalism today, especially in France. Charles de Gaulle’s
perspective should be embraced to a limited extent. His definition of patriotism
should not be fully embraced because patriotism leads to the creation of an image
of what a member of a particular nation should look like, and there can be conflict
when there is deviation from that image. His definition of nationalism, or more
accurately ultranationalism should be embraced because that idea of putting one
nation’s national interest above all other nation’s interests creates conflict.
Patriotism is like a knife, it can be used as a positive tool to unite a people,
and cultivate pride in membership to a particular group, like during the Olympics.
At that time, smaller conflicts within a...