Nationalism is a popular sentiment that places the existence and well-being of the nation highest in the scale of political loyalties. In political terms, it signifies a person's willingness to work for the nation against foreign domination, whether political, economic, or cultural. Nationalism also implies a group's consciousness of shared history, language, race, and values. Its significance lies in its role in supplying the ties that make the nation-state a cohesive viable entity.
Nationalism belongs to the modern world. Before the 18th century, people gave their loyalty to their communities, tribes, feudal lords, princes, religious groups, or other universal principles. Borders could thus be changed without popular outcry against the violation of national integrity. For example, when Louis XIV of France seized the free imperial city of Strasbourg on the Rhine in 1681, the people of the city accepted him as their king. By the 19th century, however, nationalist s...