Patriotism vs nationalism

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Patriotism and nationalism are two words that used to be synonyms, but have now taken on different connotations. We will examine the meanings and connotations of the words patriotism and nationalism, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Patriotism is the love and affection one feels for his country. The feeling of patriotism is based on the values a country espouses and the way it strives to improve. Patriotism is based on the belief in the inherent goodness of the system of government in a country, and the goodness of its people. The word patriotism is derived from the word patriot, from the Latin word patriota meaning fellow citizen, and the suffix -ism, meaning a system or doctrine.

Nationalism is the love and affection one feels for his country. However, nationalism is rooted in the belief that one’s country is superior to all others, and carries the connotation of disapproval of other nations or a rivalry with other nations. While patriotism does not disparage other countries, nationalism builds up one’s own country by tearing other countries down. Nationalism supports dominating other countries. The word nationalism is derived from the word nation, which comes from the Latin word nationem meaning origin or tribe, and the suffix -ism.


“As I reflect on this definition, what patriotism means to me is honoring family, friends and the men and women who served our country to protect the basic freedoms that we are afforded daily,” he said. (The Star Beacon)

Those who rally to the cause express patriotism in ways that often embody the best of human nature – sacrifice, honor, commitment, and selflessness, to name a few. (The Christian Science Monitor)

My research on education and nationalism suggests that threats by Iran’s leadership to resume enrichment are not the actions of a totalitarian state lumbering toward war but instead reflect the demands of an Iranian public determined to assert their country’s sovereign rights, even at the cost of supporting an otherwise unpopular government. (The Washington Post)

The authoritarian Institutional Revolutionary Party, which monopolized domestic politics for decades, relied on nationalism — often of an anti-U.S. character — as a pillar of its legitimacy. (Bloomberg News)