Advanced Essay #3: The Foundation of Nationalism


In this essay, my goal was to explain what comes along with nationalism, and how it relates to patriotism. While writting this essay, I was able to understand the world slightly better. Being in SLA allows me to interact with different people while giving me willingness to learn about others. These are experiences that many people might never experience outside of this school, city, or country. In a sense, I was brought back to the real world. Writing this reminder that the world, is not perfect.


Throughout the world, people are separated into different categories, which impacts their lives completely, in a good or bad way. Possessing a classification is completely inevitable, especially when the whole world is built around classifications and division. There is a reason why people are divided in this world, and it's all because of something most of us, see no problem with. Nationalism.

When a nation comes into being, an invisible barrier appears at the border of this nation. Inside of this barrier, lies a certain kind of belief. Thought. State of mind. A mindset that all of those, inside of this barrier possess. This mindset isn't unique to this nation, as all of the other nations also possess the same kind of mindset. People in these barriers are connected to one another when it comes to their own nations. They feel pride, love, and hope, as their nations succeeding could mean their own success. When they accomplish any great dead for their nation, they feel patriotic. These people would give their lives to keep those inside of the barrier safe, and to keep the barrier from shattering. Political activist, Emma Goldman, who criticizes the mindset behind patriotism, states, ¨“When the child has reached manhood he is thoroughly saturated with the belief that he is chosen by the Lord himself to defend his country against the attack or invasion of any foreigner…” This quote perfectly touches upon the mindset of those in a nation. Inside of this barrier people will be shaped from young, to protect it from any other outsiders who are not from within the barrier. This mindset isn't something new either as it reaches as far back as ancient times when knights would protect their homeland from intruders.  The moment you become part of a nation, being patriotic becomes something extremely important. Especially when trying to fit in. When everyone possesses the same mindset, the only way to fit in with everyone else is to possess the same mindset as well.

Nationalism plays a huge role when it comes to people's refusal of understanding other nations. These people are completely blind when faced with the truth. They believe in something completely imaginative. A concept, which restraints and shackles them to their own nations, preventing them from interacting with one another. Making learning and understanding each other much less probable. These are done through various ways as social media, education, books and many other things within a certain nation can cause a person to be this way. Especially if purposefully created to guide someone´s mindset, as we see today in North Korea and China.

These shackles and these barriers could be easily taken down as long if their ignorance and arrogance were to disappear. If they didn't allow themselves to become mindless sheep and followed their own thoughts, they wouldn't be like this. A quote from Benedict Anderson´s book, ¨Imagined Communities,¨ uncovers this, “It's an imagination because the members of even the smallest nations, will never know of their fellow members, meet them, or hear about them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion” These people will never truly be capable of truly understand one another. They share the same mindset and choose not to go through the barriers of other nations to understand them as they are patriotic towards their own, even though, not a single one of these people know everyone in their own nation. “Indeed, conceit, arrogance, and egotism are the essentials of patriotism. “ This quote from Emma Goldman and her piece, ¨What is Nationalism¨, is perfect for this idea because it shows the reasons why many of these people, choose to not understand others. Even though patriotism can be seen as prideful, successful and helpful, in truth, patriotism is formed from arrogance, segregation, greed, and other evil ideas.

There is a reason we go to war. This idea of being better than others that nationalism brings, allows countries to become greedy, causing conflict with one another. Russia going after Ukraine, England and the many places it colonized many years ago, colonizers. The greed overshadows their emotions as even the cruelest of things, becomes something acceptable, just because they are doing it for your own nation. Emma Goldman declares ¨We Americans claim to be a peace-loving people. We hate bloodshed; we are opposed to violence. Yet we go into spasms of joy over the possibility of projecting dynamite bombs from flying machines upon helpless citizens.¨ This quote is a complete summary of how nationalism can turn people into beasts. Normal people who have never seen blood in their lives, from young to old, accept other citizens being killed for the sake of their greed. As long as nationalism exists, humans will never be able to come together and live in peace as Benedict Anderson states, ¨No nation, Imagines themselves, continuous with mankind.”


Anderson, Bennedict. "Imagined Commmunities." Rebels library. N.p., n.d. Web. Jan. & feb. 2017.

"Emma Goldman: What Is Patriotism?" Emma Goldman: What Is Patriotism?N.p., 1908. Web. 19 Jan. 2017.