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Nationalism 2 Essay, Research Paper

Society is made up of a variety of distinct cultures. Together all of these societies combined and create the ultimate society ‘the Human Race’. The Human Race must be viewed through all its very diverse components. It is important to defend and protect each of these individual components and this is to be achieved though promoting nationalism. In today’s world, we have encouraged democracy and freedom of speech. Freedom to express one’s feelings on nationalism comes hand in hand with these ideologies. If we are able to support our views on freedom of rights, we, society, must recognize all the nationalistic views that exist. These views should be recognized as constructive suggestions on preserving the unique societies of the world. Our constitution condemns the discrimination of any group or individual, no matter what their ethnic, religious or cultural orientation. Although nationalistic feelings should be allowed, the fine line between allowing one to express their own opinion and preventing the discrimination of others must be considered at all times. One philosopher, Rudyard Kipling, showed how Social Darwinism (a theory suggesting a process of natural selection by naturally weeding out those with weak characteristics) is connected with nationalism by stating They should take who have the power. And they should keep who can . He argued that nations are in a permanent struggle for existence. Strong nations who defeated weaker nations in war were superior and therefore fit to survive. There have been several cases in the past that shows the importance of nationalism. One of these cases includes the opposition of Napoleon. After conquering a vast area of Europe, the people among those conquered and allied with Napoleon developed a sense of nationalism. They began to resent paying taxes to France as well as sending soldiers to serve in Napoleon s armies. The people wanted to restore their own government, along with their own customs and traditions. This feeling of nationalism lead to the fall of Napoleon. Nationalism can still be seen today in such cases as that of Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein, the Iraq president, had Iraq invades its tiny neighbor, Kuwait, after talks break down over oil production and debt repayment. He later annexes Kuwait and declares it a 19th province of Iraq. It was believes at this time that Iraq intended to invade Saudi Arabia and take control of the region’s oil supplies. He also has implimented sanctions to try and control the imports and exports of his country. It is important to remember that nationalism can be positive with an example such as the Canadian Summer games which offer Canadians a chance to feel pride for their countries achievements, as well as negative in such cases as the FLQ crisis where Quebec s nationalistic feelings developed violent overtones. After considering these events, it is conceived that the positive form of nationalism should be encouraged within a countries border, however, the government must carefully monitor the situations to ensure they do not take on violent or discriminatory characteristics.

Firstly, nationalism can positive when it comes to simply promoting the continuance and pride in ones culture. However, when it is taken to a point of violence, problems arise. Quebec has very nationalistic feelings towards their French culture. This form of nationalism can be very positive,

allowing the exposure of the French culture and helping support Canada’s

multicultural status. This type of nationalism should be encouraged and

even supported. However, in the past Quebec’s nationalistic feelings have been pushed to the extreme and have resulted in violence. In October, 1970, the FLQ (Front de Liberation de Quebec), a group supporting Quebec independence, kidnapped James Cross, a British Nationalist, along with Pierre Laporte. They threatened to execute these individuals. A ransom note was given stating “Through this move, the Front de Liberation de Quebec wants to draw the attention of the whole world to the fate of the French speaking Quebecer, a majority ‘jeered at and repressed on its own territory be an erroneous political system and by an economy managed for by the interests of American high finance, the big racists and imperialist bosses.” This case shows how the FLQ simply wanted to promote their culture, – however their methods of achieving this took on a violent over-tones and the situation became out of control.

Secondly, nationalism can be viewed as pride in ones own country or ethnic origin. However, there are many examples of when nationalism has taken on racist characteristics. One of these examples is the Ku-Klux Klan. This group originally appeared after the US Civil War. When the North won the war against the South over slavery and economic issues. Black Americans were given equal political and civil status. Many whites were against this equality and were willing to resort to violence and even murder to counter this. Since they could not openly oppose the government, they created an undercover group – the Ku-Klux Klan. This violent group had no limits when it came to what they would do to both Black Americans and Whites who believed in equality. This is a clear example of supreme nationalism involving violence.

Thirdly, nationalism has actually been one of the driving forces behind both the World Wars. In 1914, there was an incident which involved a Serbian nationalist organization. At the time, because of the European boarders, there were some Serbian s living in Austria-Hungary. This group felt that this area should belong to Serbia. As a result of this, one of the members of this nationalist group, Gavrilo Princip, assassinated the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, Archduke Ferdinand. This nationalistic presentation was one of the major events that set the stage for World War I.

In conclusion, nationalism can be viewed from a positive or negative perspective. Events that bring a nation together to celebrate and promote their cultural identity and institute pride for their culture should be supported and even encouraged as they are essential for the protection of the many vast and unique nations that make up our world. However, when nationalism gets out of hand and takes on violent and discriminatory characteristics, as in the case of the FLQ, the KKK, or even the Sarajevo affair, it must be dealt with in a suppressant manor, ensuring the event does not result in any serious problems. As long as a proper balance is maintained between supporting positive nationalism and preventing negative nationalism, nationalism feelings should be encouraged.


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