The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956

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Natiualism
DORMAN H. WINFREY
NATIONALISM has been described as a concept so complex
and changing that it defies a short, logical definition.
Boyd C. Shafer, who has written on the subject in his
Nationalism: Myth and Reality, observes that nationalism of the
past two centuries may mean " (i) the love of a common soil, race,
language, or historical culture, (2) a desire for the political inde-
pendence, security, and prestige of the nation, (3) a mystical devo-
tion to a vague, sometimes even supernatural, social organism
which, known as the nation or Volk, is more than the sum of its
parts, (4) the dogma that the individual lives exclusively for the
nation with the corollary that the nation is an end in itself, or
(5) the doctrine that the nation (the nationalist's own) is or
should be dominant if not supreme among other nations and
should take aggressive action to this end." Critics of nationalism
characterize it as a curse on the human race responsible for intol-
erance, uniformity, militarism, and international wars. Advocates
of nationalism, on the other hand, see its blessings in the forms
of stability, economic order, progress, and the spiritual and intel-
lectual improvement of the country. Most persons do agree that
nationalism as the group symbol during the present stage of
civilization has been the prime characteristic of modern history.
The 183o's and 1840's were decades in which the full impact
of nationalism had important results on the European continent.
Simultaneously, during these decades, a nationalism not unlike
that in Europe was responsible for changes taking place in Texas.
Before Texas revolted against Mexico in 1836, Texan nationalists
were undecided toward which of three directions they should
incline. One Texas group favored loyalty to and development
under Mexico, another expressed a desire to be annexed by the
United States, and a third found the idea of an independent re-
public appealing. As the revolution progressed, those who advo-
cated a separate existence for Texas gradually obtained the upper

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101162/. Accessed July 29, 2014.