Difference Between Nationalism and Patriotism

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 13, 2022, 9:48

Both nationalism and patriotism allude to "the love for one's country". Patriotism is the "love or devotion to one's country", whereas nationalism is "the loyalty and devotion to one's country".

Both definitions appear the same.

Nevertheless, there is a major Difference Between Nationalism and Patriotism. Nationalism is "the elevation of one nation above all others and promoting its culture and interests above those of other nations or supranational institutions". Patriotism, on the other hand, is free of this constraint.

Nationalism and Patriotism - Meaning

Patriotism is a sense of pride, commitment, and attachment to one's nation and other patriotic citizens, similar to love. Factors like history, race or ethnicity, culture, religious beliefs, etc., can impact feelings of attachment. A sense of pride unites all people, which allows them to persist in the face of hardship.

For instance, if colonial Americans did not share common patriotic principles, they might not have chosen the path to freedom from England.

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In most modern contexts, nationalism is the "identification with one's nation and support for its interests, particularly to the exclusion or detriment of others' interests". Nationalism, in a word, is an extreme kind of patriotism.

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Difference Between Nationalism and Patriotism

Let us take a look at the key Difference Between Nationalism and Patriotism -



Nationalism believes that one's home country is better than all others. It can also imply suspicion or contempt for other countries, giving the impression that they are rivals.

Patriotism lies in the principles of liberty, justice, and equality. Patriots believe that their country's government and people are inherently good and should work together to enhance their living conditions.

Nationalism enjoys a negative aura. It promotes a more extreme and exclusionary love of one's country- at the expense of foreigners, immigrants, and even residents who they believe do not belong to the nation in some manner, typically owing to racial or religious differences.

Patriotism enjoys a positive undertone. It is a broad notion that includes positive feelings, attitudes, and behaviours. Moreover, it believes in the principles of toleration and multiculturalism.

Any criticism is repugnant to nationalism, seeing it as an insult first and foremost. Nationalism seeks hollow explanations and excuses for previous failings. Furthermore, any dissent will be considered a threat to the unity and integrity of the country.

Patriotism attempts to learn new things from criticism. They value constructive criticism, see shortcomings, and provide suggestions for improvement.

Nationalists are more concerned with maintaining the status quo because they are hesitant to recognise that their country has made mistakes.

While proud to be a citizen, a patriot may recognise flawed government laws and practices and attempt to correct them.

Patriotism and nationalism are motivated by a love for one’s country, but they are not synonymous. The Main Difference Between Nationalism and Patriotism is that while patriots are proud of their homeland without declaring that every other country is terrible or evil, nationalists believe in “right or wrong, my country”.

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FAQs on the Difference Between Nationalism and Patriotism

Q.1. Where does the Difference Between Nationalism and Patriotism get blurred?

The Difference Between Nationalism and Patriotism gets blurred because both terms refer to love for one’s nation, which confuses most people.

Q.2. What is the Difference Between Nationalism and Patriotism in terms of foreign policy?

The Difference Between Nationalism and Patriotism in terms of foreign policy is that Patriotism believes in the benefits of cooperating and working with other countries, whereas isolationism and jingoism are the by-products of nationalism. Isolationism dictates severing ties with other nations and multilateral organisations, and jingoism dictates aggressive foreign policy.

Q.3. What is the Difference Between Nationalism and Patriotism in terms of toleration?

The Difference Between Nationalism and Patriotism in terms of toleration is that Nationalists think that the cultural views or practices of others (other countries or groups of people living in their country, whom they believe to be different) are intrinsically wrong, improper, or inferior, whereas patriotism recognises and values cultural differences.

Q.4. Why is it necessary to understand the Difference Between Nationalism and Patriotism?

It is necessary to understand the Difference Between Nationalism and Patriotism because when patriotism is taken to its extreme, it becomes confining, chauvinistic, and parochial. One must know where to draw a line between these two terms and understand that loving one’s nation does not necessitate disparaging other countries or cultures.