- from Nationalism
American, Russian, Mexican, Iranian, Chinese, Kenyan – people use these words and others to describe nationality, or what country a person comes from.
Citizens in the United States come from many different ethnic backgrounds, countries of origin, and religions, but they all think of themselves as American. It’s the same in other countries, too. Nationality is one of the most basic ways people around the world describe themselves.
The idea of nationalism, or loyalty to a nation, might seem ancient. But it really began at the end of the 1600s. Before then, people mostly gave loyalty to a state, or government, run by some sort of ruler, like a king, a powerful family, or the Church. The American and French Revolutions of the 1700s inspired people to feel more connected to each other by their nationality, or shared land, culture, and language. Soon, the idea that each nationality should form a nation-state – an independent country of its own – took hold all over the world. Nationalist movements started to unite groups of people into nation-states.