As far as we know, Earth is the only planet that has life. But since humans developed cities and industries, the modern lifestyle has changed.
An Essay The nation state as the general form of state organisation is a product of the last years. Before then, most of the world was ruled by empires, whether colonial such as the British or territorial such as the Russian.
The Treaty of Berlin in had seven signatories, the Treaty of Versailles was signed by 32 countries, and the United Nations now has members.
This essay traces the origin and implications of this revolution in the world's political affairs. Nation states have three great advantages from previous forms of state organisation. Their lack of centralised dictatorship has enabled their societies and economies to develop, they are the sole environment in which democracy can appear, and they do not have a tendency to increase their territory.
They have been made possible by a form of economic prosperity which does not depend on the ownership of land but on trade, industry, and capital investment. The enormously greater economic added value of that prosperity has created in each state a civil society which adopted a cultural self-identity which we call nationality.
In a nation state, that nationality is the source of legitimacy in its political system.
The problems now faced by nation states are primarily economic and environmental: These problems of course arose earlier, but until about years ago most states were also afflicted with actual or threatened wars, internal or external.
With the end of empires and the formation of nation states, these wars have largely ceased. This remark may seem surprising given the many actual and potential conflicts which still rage, but in comparative historical terms it is true. The major wars of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries were not caused primarily by nationalism, as is commonly supposed, but by the ambitions of empires actual or attemptedcountered by other empires or by nation states.
The essay has three principal theses, one relating to the nature of a state, one relating to the origin of nation states and the third to their development from previous forms of government.
We first note that origin of political power lies with legitimate authority. A legitimate ruler can expect to have his or her instructions obeyed.
When civil wars occur, as they have in the history of most countries, the cause is invariably a dispute between two or more authorities claiming to be legitimate. Secondly, we relate the origin of nation states at a particular time and place, namely the western edge of Europe in the 16th and 17th century, and for a specific historical reason.
Until then and in other places, the primary loyalty of states was not to a nation but to a ruler or dynasty, or sometimes to an oligarchy, army, church, or tribal chieftain. These forms of government were legitimate and stable, but their stability was impermanent. Violent conflicts over succession of rulers, territory, forms of government, or subjection to other states broke out at regular intervals and partly undid the effect of previous stability, preventing the development of a civil society and nationality.
West European states were protected from these conflicts by the Holy Roman Empire in central Europe, which was strong enough to defend them from predatory states to the east but not strong enough to interfere in their internal affairs.
Perhaps for this reason, the West European states benefited from long-lived and stable dynasties. Further, the Holy Roman Empire was too weak to prevent the formation of city states in Northern Europe and Italy which became very wealthy through long-distance trade.
These wealth and trade patterns were eventually shared with the West European states and began development of the modern economy. These two factors were not present to a sufficient degree in those parts of Asia, Africa, and America where empires with strong political identities existed.The Logos Edition is a new concept for enhanced delivery of the classic LinguaLinks Library.
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