While national identity is a complex topic, the rhetoric is generally built on two fundamental principles that are often in conflict, historic determination and self-determination.
Historic and geographic arguments are given for why a particular location has belonged to, or been under the governance of, a particular group for a very long time. Principles of continuity, cultural importance, and security require this historic status to remain. The other central argument of national identity is self-determination, a modern concept developed in the 20th century primarily through the United Nations Charter on Human Rights. An examination of these ideas is the starting point of any discussion.