Jingoism – What is it, definition and concept | 2022

We call jingoism the exacerbated degree of nationalism that seeks its expansion through armed conflict with other nations. This ideology places the nation itself on such a level that it defends that it must expand throughout the world.

Jingoism considers that the rest of the countries are inferior in their culture, inhabitants, history, economy, etc. We can summarize the logic of jingoism in the following sentence: If my nation is better and superior to the rest, its expansion is logical, desirable, and even necessary.

There are numerous concepts very similar to jingoism: nationalism, patriotism, ethnocentrism, chauvinism and the like. Some of them show very similar meanings, but what we can say is that this concept of jingoism is the one that inspires the greatest degree of nationalism and exaltation of the homeland. He even defends the use of military conflict to destroy other nations.

Origin of jingoism

It is not common to hear about this term, so it is relevant that we repair its origin. It seems that there is unanimity that the origin is in a song by George William Hunt. Song in which he referred to God as jingo, whose theme was about the greatness of the British Empire of the nineteenth century and against the Turks and the Russians. One of the phrases of the chorus was “we don’t want to fight, but for Jingo we do”. Phrase that summarizes the warmongering, nationalist and imperialist inspiration of jingoism.

Differences between jingoism and chauvinism

Of all the concepts similar to the one at hand, chauvinism is the one that most resembles it. This is defined as the exalted and irrational feeling that one’s own nation is superior to others. This is something that jingoism itself shares. But where does the difference lie? In the warmongering that inspires the latter.

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Jingoism is not only nationalistic, it is also imperialistic, justifying its invasions based on the greatness of the culture and every other aspect of its country.

Jingoist regimes

We have numerous examples throughout history of nations, regimes, and empires that have expanded based on the belief in their superiority. Obviously, these that we are going to describe below were not inspired by jingoism, since in many cases this term did not yet exist. We understand jingoism as a characteristic of these regimes.

  • Spanish Empire: We conceive as such the territories under Spanish rule between 1492 and 1898, that is, from the conquest of America to the loss of Cuba and the Philippines. When the Spanish arrived in America at the end of the 15th century, they began their expansion across the continent under the pretext of the great advance they had. In order to evangelize and civilize the inhabitants of said territory. Something that happened thanks to the alliances that they established with the indigenous peoples themselves.
  • Third Reich: Hitler, once Germany had recovered after the fateful period between the wars, began to annex European countries with astonishing speed and to end up with numerous people of different characteristics, the Jews being the most affected. This was done based on the Nazi belief that the true Germans, the Aryans, were a superior race. This, inspired by social Darwinism, led the leaders of the regime to want to expand throughout Europe, killing those they considered inferior.
  • USSR and USA.: Both countries, during the Cold War, dedicated themselves to spreading their political and economic ideas throughout the world. Although it is not an explicit case of jingoism, we can mention it since they violently wanted to impose their political-economic functioning on many countries. Thus, wars as well known as the Korean war of the 1950s took place; that of Vietnam (1955-1975); or that of Afghanistan in 1978. All of them under the belief that communism, in the case of the USSR, or capitalism, according to the US, was the best economic system.
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