I’ve always thought that American “identity” is more about “constitutional patriotism” rather than “nationalism” (which I don’t like FYI). The Nativists would surely be the U.S. equivalent to European Nationalists?
You call your forebears in the Revolutionary War the “Patriots”, no?
I find it strange that Catholics on this thread are waxing lyrical about “national identity” when it is a secular enlightenment concept that came to the fore with the French Revolution. It’s an explicitly anti-Catholic idea in origin.
Patriotism, by contrast, is as old as the Roman Republican love of “patria”.
Constitutional Patriotism has become prominent in post-war Germany. Nationalism is too loaded a historical term, for obvious reasons, in that country:
The concept of constitutional patriotism originates from Post-World War Two West Germany: “a ‘half-nation’ with a sense of deeply compromised nationality on account of their Nazi past.” In this context, constitutional patriotism was a protective and state-centered means of dealing with the memory of the Holocaust and militancy of the Third Reich…
In the United States of America, constitutional patriotism is primarily based on two documents: The Constitution and The Declaration of Independence. Expectations of political behavior are outlined in the Constitution and the ideals embodied by them both have encouraged civic empowerment. The United States demonstrates the ideas of constitutional patriotism in that Americans find a source of unity in their constitution which is able to supersede other cultural influences, forming a broader American identity. The principles of the Declaration of Independence contribute to the basis of constitutional patriotism in America because, as William Kristol and Robert Kagan say, they are “not merely the choices of a particular culture but are universal, enduring, and self-evident truths.” These documents have both validated government action and citizen response…
Throughout the country’s early history the Constitution was used as the basis for establishing foreign policy and determining the government’s ability to acquire land from other nations. In the country’s inception, government officials broadly interpreted the Constitution in order to establish an archetypical model for foreign policy.
The battles, political and physical, over slavery are also demonstrations of constitutional patriotism in the United States, as they demonstrate the alteration of norms and values. In the mid 1780s. hundreds of thousands of slaves served as the cornerstone of American production. The constitution’s defense of the rights of slave owners created a rift in the values of America:half of the country adhered to the Declaration of Independence’s belief that ‘all men are created equal’ while the other half adhered to the constitution’s ruling which allowed slavery. The rhetoric of many anti-slavery protesters appealed to the Constitution and Declaration of Independence in order to resolve this split in interpretation. Frederick Douglass stated that “the Constitution of the United States, standing alone, and construed only in the light of its letter, without reference to the opinions of the men who framed and adopted it, or to the uniform, universal and undeviating practice of the nation under it, from the time of its adoption until now, is not a pro-slavery instrument.” Similar rhetoric led to the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution and a universal anti-slavery constitutional patriotic view, changing the norms and values of society, which were then reified in the Constitution.