The Difference Between Patriotism and Nationalism

As we approach important national holidays and events, discussions about patriotism and nationalism tend to arise. Often used interchangeably, patriotism and nationalism are two distinct concepts that can have a significant impact on the perception of a country and its people. In this blog post, we will explore the difference between patriotism and nationalism, and why understanding this distinction is vital.

What is Patriotism?

Patriotism is a feeling of loyalty and devotion towards one’s country. It is characterised by a genuine love for one’s homeland and a deep sense of pride and respect for its culture and values. Patriotic individuals often hold their country in high esteem and celebrate its achievements, traditions, and history. Patriotism can unite people of different ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds in the common goal of defending the values and ideals of their country.

What is Nationalism?

Nationalism, on the other hand, is a political ideology that emphasises the importance of the nation above everything else. It is characterised by an extreme sense of superiority over other nations and often involves a desire for dominance and expansion. Nationalistic individuals tend to believe that their country is inherently better than all others, and that its goals and interests should take precedence over anything else. Nationalism can lead to xenophobia, isolationism, and the formation of an us vs. them mentality.

The Impact of Patriotism and Nationalism

Both patriotism and nationalism can have significant impacts on how a country is perceived, both by its own citizens and by others around the world. While patriotism can be a unifying force and a source of pride and identity, nationalism can be divisive and harmful. Nationalism can lead to intolerance, exclusion, and even violence, as some groups seek to impose their views on others or to dominate other nations. Patriotism, on the other hand, can foster a healthy sense of community and encourage citizens to respect each other while working towards a common goal.


While patriotism and nationalism may seem similar, they are fundamentally different concepts. While patriotism involves a love for one’s country and its values, nationalism prioritises the nation above all else, often at the expense of others. It is important to recognise these differences to avoid the negative consequences that may arise from excessive nationalism. By celebrating our country’s achievements and upholding its values while also being open to other perspectives and cultures, we can foster a healthy sense of patriotism that unites us and makes us proud to be a part of a diverse and inclusive nation.

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