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Print Price: $40.95

288 pp.
221 mm x 140 mm


Publication date:
March 2005

Imprint: OUP US

Faith in Nation

Exclusionary Origins of Nationalism

Anthony W. Marx

In a startling departure from the unquestioning liberal consensus that has governed discussions of nationalism for the past quarter century, Marx exposes the hidden underside of Western nationalism. Arguing that the true history of the nation began two hundred years earlier, in the early modern era, he shows how state builders set about deliberately constructing a sense of national solidarity to support their burgeoning authority. Key to this process was the transfer of power from local to central rulers; the most suitable vehicle for effecting this transfer was religion. Religious intolerance, specifically the exclusion of religious minorities from the nascent state, provided the glue that bound together the remaining populations. Exposing the West's idealization of its exclusionary past, Marx forcefully undermines the distinction between a Western nationalism that is civic and tolerant by definition and an oriental nationalism founded on ethnicity and intolerance.

Readership : Students and scholars of political science, European history, and political sociology.


  • "...a broad-ranging comparative narrative that will contribute to ongoing discussion and debate about the evolution of nationalism both as an ideology and as a practical system of power....Marx's engaging and provocative book deserves to be read, questioned, and considered by all who are concerned with the development of state power and national identity."--Muse
  • "Marx has a case to argue and he argues it forcefully, thereby significantly advancing a debate that has tended, in recent years, to languish in a smug and unquestioning liberal consensus. A major contribution to the interdisciplinary literature on nationalism."--Partha Chatterjee, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta
  • "Rejecting almost every previous account of nationalism-- including mine!--Anthony Marx provocatively locates its European origins in rulers' strategies of building support for their regimes by ruthless labeling and exclusion of those regimes' enemies. Marx's work will make students of contemporary nationalism rethink their subject."--Charles Tilly, author of From Mobilization to Revolution and Durable Inequality
  • "This book is a major addition to the social science literature on nationalism; it is also a powerful argument against many of the most celebrated contemporary writers on the subject... The central point of the book is that nationalism results from a process of exclusion (most other writers have stressed inclusion), and particularly from internal discord over religion. As both a political scientist and a scrupulous historian, Marx uses this powerful scheme to explain and differentiate events that occurred in Spain, France, and England in the age of domestic religious conflicts. In this remarkable book, it is Sant Bartholomew whom the author proposes as the patron of nationalism. A grim view, but a rich and persuasive argument."--Foreign Affairs

1. History and Arguments
2. Amassing State and Gathering Storm
3. Founding Exclusions
4. Interregnums of Coexistence and State-Building
5. Cohesion by Exclusion, Redux from Above
6. Superimposing Democratic Inclusion on Forgotten Exclusions
7. Angel of History and Patron Saint of Nationalism

There are no Instructor/Student Resources available at this time.

Anthony Marx is the 18th President of Amherst College. Previously, he was Professor of Political Science and Co-Director of the Center for Historical Social Science at Columbia University. He is the author of Making Race and Nation: A Comparison of the United States, South Africa, and Brazil, winner of the Barrington Moore Prize, and co-winner of the Ralph Bunche Award.

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Special Features

  • Contends Western European nationalism rooted in intolerance and exclusion
  • Promises to be the new "Benedict Anderson" on the subject of nationalism