The Global Ascent Of The Nation State Essay

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Those born after 1980 may take for granted the fact that the world is made up of about 200 nation-states, which appear to be more or less equal in terms of the legitimacy of their nationhood. However, history suggests that not all nation-states are created in quite the same way. According to Wimmer and Feinstein: "the global ascent of the nation-state over the pass 200 years was a discontinuous process, unfolding in various waves linked to the break-up of large empires.” By comparing the creation of nation states in the nineteenth century to those of the twentieth century, it is evident that, while the end result was the same, the means of creating nation states can be quite different. There are many factors and events which lead up to independence and nation-state creation, such as nationalist sentiment, revolution, war, treaties, and tensions between people and rulers.
Nation-states created in the nineteenth century are more akin to what Montserrat Guibernau defines as “nations”. Based on Guibernau’s definition, nations are groups of people conscious of forming a community, and they share a common past and culture. Conversely, in the process of creating a nation-state, a group hopes to develop the community after the fact. Nation-states may be the result of a treaty or consolidation of ethnic territories, meaning their histories can be fragmented and incongruent. The new nation-states of the nineteenth century, namely of France and the United States of America, are
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