When politicians, academics, and commentators today talk about “nationalism” in the American context, what do they mean? Nationalism has a long history that must be fully understood before it is adopted as a banner around which to rally the American cause. The idea of nationalism, especially in the 20th century, has been associated with causes diametrically opposed to the civic, cultural and creedal patriotism of Americanism. That American creed stressed the bottoms-up sovereignty of the people, not of a top-heavy nation-state. Although surely advocates of a new nationalism for America do not wish to embrace the worst aspects of the historical nationalism, why would they wish to embark on a path that forces Americans to explain the differences? Why would they wish to diminish the universal claims of natural liberty that made America exceptional and different from all other countries?
Please join our panel of experts for a discussion on this important trend in public discourse, how to think about the use of the term “nationalism”, and why it matters.
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