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Process of Globalization and Nationalist Movements


Globalization is a vital process in the development of humankind, but its rapid spread is not necessarily a positive phenomenon. Everything in the world needs balance, and in this case, the change comes in the form of the rise of nationalism. Nationalist movements usually present a response to emerging challenges, and, from this point of view, are an excellent mechanism of regulating the situation in the world (Legrain). Hence, the problem comes from specificities of the economic, social, and political development of the country (Martin et al. 4). Both political approaches have apparent benefits for the government, but the choice between globalism and nationalism is dependent on the current situation. Therefore, the appropriateness of these options should be defined through the consideration of their history and the correspondence to the needs of present-day society.

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Nationalism in the Past

The first political approach under consideration is nationalism, and its roots go back to the times when an American identity was forming. This process took place in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and one can see its reflection in modern society (Maguire 179). The formation of nationalism was influenced by British ideals and values, but they were reshaped under the impact of traditional American perceptions of the country’s place in the world. It was complemented by the views on freedom and liberty of the citizens of the United States as opposed to European restrictions (Maguire 180). Hence, although the emergence of the national identity and, therefore, nationalism, is an internal process, it does not happen without the participation of other countries.

By the end of the eighteenth century, the newly formed national identity received support from the government, which turned it into a political instrument. Its development defined the performance of the country’s politics as well as the course of the American Revolution (Maguire 181). As a result, the concept of American nationalism was shaped through the inclusion of various population groups inhabiting the vast geographic area. The key idea was the primacy of their interests over those of European countries and the rest of the world (Maguire 181). The principles of American nationalism, while seeking ultimate freedom in any possible aspect, result in the latest societal changes (Bonikowski and DiMaggio 949). They lead to the necessity to choose between benefits for the country or the world.

Globalism in the Past

In contrast to nationalist movements, the concept of globalism appeared in the nineteenth century with the expansion of the United States’ influence on a global scale. It was fundamentally dependent upon the process of globalization resulting from the rapid technological development of all countries in the world. The increased ease of information flows defined the course of international politics for the following century (Zinkina et al. 128). The creation of connections between governments and their citizens contributed to the emergence of globalism as opposed to nationalism. It affected all the spheres of human life and, as any other notion that contradicts the previously existing concept, found both supporters and opponents.

As a prevailing political approach of the twentieth century, globalization brought the world to a new level through the enhanced development of all countries. It was achieved by eliminating the sense of isolation of developing countries, increasing the speed of financial and technological operations as well as promoting economic activity throughout the world (Zinkina et al. 129). However, despite the benefits, there were severe drawbacks, such as the emergence of numerous threats, including international insecurity and ecological issues (Zinkina et al. 130). The existence of such complications is the reason why people start to turn away from supporting globalist views and become concerned about the preservation of national values and assets.

Nationalism in the Present-Day World

The current political situation in the world requires the determination of the citizens’ views on occurring processes. This consideration leads to the emergence of the nationalist stance of some citizens in the United States. In its present state, American nationalism is focused on the promotion of national sovereignty and the rejection of international governmental structures (Bonikowski and DiMaggio 950). In the perception of its supporters, further globalization poses a threat to the nation’s meaning and its role on the world’s stage (Bonikowski and DiMaggio 952). Such a position reflects the attempts to keep a strong government that, in turn, would be able to help other countries and the world as a whole.

Nationalist movements have their benefits for the American government and all the spheres of life of its citizens. First, they address the need to save the position of the United States as a multiethnic nation formed over the centuries of the country’s evolution. Second, nationalism promotes patriotic sentiment that, in turn, results in the strengthening of American cultural identity. Third, the support of this approach allows the government to maintain its role as a significant participant in the international arena for having more influence on the decisions made for the benefit of the whole world (Bonikowski and DiMaggio 952). Hence, the intention of nationalists leads to the improvement of the country’s image and thereby allows for further development of international collaboration. Therefore, the perception of nationalism as a threat by its opponents is not entirely justified.

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Globalism in the Present-Day World

Globalization, in its current state, is not a rapid but stable development of the world’s economies, and its support seems to be reasonable in terms of the prosperity of American society. However, it is an ongoing process, and its course can be changed through the growing influence of nationalist activists. The apparent advantage of globalism, as opposed to nationalism, is its continuous evolution and flexibility that allows readjusting the government’s policies by changing trends and emerging tasks (Martin et al. 5). The very notion of development seems to be a positive phenomenon. Nevertheless, to ensure the required outcome of the implementation of this approach, it is necessary to have a clear direction.

Globalism in the present-day world seems to address solely economic issues, whereas neglecting societal aspects of life. However, the needs at home are more important for the development of the United States than encouraging free trade or enhancing world progress. Thus, for example, people living below the poverty line, do not benefit from globalization because one of its critical outcomes is the reduction of social programs (Martin et al. 6). Therefore, this phenomenon cannot be considered purely positive by everyone.

The Optimal Approach for Modern Politics

The choice between nationalism and globalism should reflect the current political and economic trends. Hence, it is critical to understand the mechanisms of the change from one approach to another resulting from the shift in the government’s needs. Every process in society is characterized through specific cycles that it goes through at different times. Thus, for example, economic dynamics reflect a certain cyclical regularity, and this process is imminent (Zinkina et al. 130). Political trends, in turn, also demonstrate the cycle of changes depending on the increase in power of one or another party, which allows them to balance between the interests of various population groups. Therefore, the latest change from globalism to nationalism only indicates the normality of the political processes.

As it was mentioned above, such an event happens as a reaction to an external threat that the government attempts to eliminate to ensure the safety of its citizens. This process is complicated due to the existence of several reasons for the shift from one political model to another. The principal circumstance that influenced the strengthened nationalist stance is the spread of coronavirus infection (Legrain). It will hinder economic development and lead to losses for all countries in the world, but the shift to nationalism is vital for their future prosperity. Hence, the return to nationalistic policies of the United States should be considered not as something negative but as a change of seasons that eventually leads to stable warm weather.


The transition between globalism and nationalism is frequently perceived as a threat to the government and its people. However, it should not be considered as such because this process simply reflects the current world trends. When one approach changes to another, there must be a reason for it. The need to worry should arise only in the case when it happens without precondition and solely by the will of activists of the ruling party. As for the current situation, it seems perfectly normal, but only until the threat of coronavirus is gone. Thus, the concerns of citizens in the United States are unfounded as the rise of nationalism is merely the response to the latest changes in the world.

Works Cited

Bonikowski, Bart, and Paul DiMaggio. “Varieties of American Popular Nationalism.” American Sociological Review, vol. 81, no. 5, 2016, pp. 949-980.

Legrain, Philippe. “The Coronavirus Is Killing Globalization as We Know It.” Foreign Policy, 2020. Web.

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Maguire, Susan E. “Brother Jonathan and John Bull Build a Nation: The Transactional Nature of American Nationalism in the Early Nineteenth Century.” National Identities, vol. 18, no. 2, 2016, pp. 179-198.

Martin, Ron, et al. “Globalization at a Critical Conjuncture?.” Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, vol. 11, no. 1, 2018, pp. 3-16.

Zinkina, Julia, et al. “Modern Globalization: Global Technological and Economic Transformations in the Late Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries.” A Big History of Globalization, Springer, 2019, pp. 123-152.

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