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Nationalism vs. Patriotism: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on December 26, 2023
Nationalism refers to advocating for national interests, sometimes at others' expense. Patriotism refers to love and pride for one's country.

Key Differences

Nationalism involves advocating for one's nation, often placing its interests above others. On the other hand, patriotism is the love for one's country and a desire to see it thrive without denigrating others.
Nationalism can foster a sense of superiority and exclusion. In contrast, patriotism is about positive feelings towards one's homeland.
Nationalists may support aggressive policies for national benefit. Whereas, patriots express pride in their country's values and achievements.
Nationalism often involves a strong sense of identity linked to national power. In contrast, patriotism is more about cultural and historical appreciation.
Nationalism can lead to conflict with other nations. Patriotism focuses on internal unity and respect for other countries.

Comparison Chart


National dominance and superiority.
Love and pride in one's country.

Attitude Towards Others

Often exclusionary or competitive.
Inclusive and respectful of other nations.

Policy Stance

Aggressive or expansionist national policies.
Supportive of national interests without hostility.


Tied to national power and often ethnicity.
Based on cultural and historical pride.

Global Impact

Can lead to international conflicts.
Promotes internal unity and global harmony.

Nationalism and Patriotism Definitions


Advocacy for national superiority and interests.
His nationalism was evident in his support for aggressive foreign policies.


Devotion to and love for one's country.
Her patriotism was reflected in her community service.


Prioritizing national goals over international cooperation.
Nationalism influenced their withdrawal from international treaties.


Pride in one's national heritage and culture.
Celebrating national holidays is an expression of patriotism.


Strong identification with one's nation.
Nationalism drove their push for national independence.


Emotional attachment to one's homeland.
Her patriotism inspired her to honor the nation's traditions.


Desire for national advancement, even if confrontational.
The party's nationalism favored expanding the country's territory.


Support for one's country's values and principles.
He displayed his patriotism through active civic engagement.


Belief in the unique virtues of one's nation.
His nationalism was rooted in a belief in the country's exceptionalism.


Respect and appreciation for one's country.
His patriotism was evident in his respect for the flag.


Devotion, especially excessive or undiscriminating devotion, to the interests or culture of a particular nation-state.


Love of and devotion to one's country.


The belief that nations will benefit from acting independently rather than collectively, emphasizing national rather than international goals.


Love of one's country; devotion to the welfare of one's compatriots; passion which inspires one to serve one's country.


The actions of a patriot


The desire to compete with other nations; nationalism.


Love of country; devotion to the welfare of one's country; the virtues and actions of a patriot; the passion which inspires one to serve one's country.


Love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it


Can nationalism lead to conflict?

Yes, it can create tensions with other nations.

What is patriotism?

Love and pride in one's country and its values.

What is nationalism?

Advocacy for a nation's interests, often asserting superiority.

Does nationalism support international cooperation?

Nationalism often prioritizes national goals over global collaboration.

Is nationalism linked to ethnicity?

It can be, depending on the context and ideology.

Do nationalists prioritize their country over others?

Often, nationalism involves putting one's nation first, sometimes at others' expense.

How does patriotism manifest?

Through cultural celebration, civic duties, and respect for national symbols.

Is patriotism aggressive?

No, it's about positive feelings towards one's country.

Can nationalism be harmful?

It can lead to exclusion and conflict.

Can patriotism be inclusive?

Yes, it often involves inclusive pride in one's nation.

Do patriots respect other countries?

Yes, patriotism includes respect for other nations.

Does patriotism support global harmony?

It can, as it doesn't inherently oppose other nations.

Can a patriot be critical of their country?

Yes, patriotism allows for critique aimed at improvement.

How does nationalism affect domestic policies?

It often influences policies that prioritize national over global interests.

Can nationalism lead to isolationism?

Yes, in its extreme forms.

Does nationalism value diversity?

It can vary, but often nationalism is less inclusive.

Is patriotism harmful?

Not usually, as it's generally a positive attachment to one's country.

Does patriotism mean uncritical loyalty?

Not necessarily; it can coexist with constructive criticism.

Are nationalism and patriotism the same?

No, they have different implications and expressions.

Is patriotism about loving one's country as it is?

It's about loving one's country, sometimes aspiring for its betterment.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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