What Does It Mean to Be an American? Patriotism, Nationalism, and American Identity After 9/11



The period of heightened nationalism in the United States that followed the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 provided unusual conditions for investigating issues surrounding the distinction between patriotism and nationalism and the relationship between national identification and pluralistic values. In a survey of national identity and social attitudes conducted in late September 2001, two different definitions of national unity were inserted in the introduction to the questionnaire in an attempt to prime activation of different conceptualizations of nationality. Results demonstrated that the priming conditions did have an effect on the pattern of interrelationships among measures of patriotism, nationalism, and tolerance for cultural diversity.