Talk:Nation state

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Why are nation-states successful?[edit]

Why have nation-states proved so successful and enduring?

They were historically stronger than city-states (Venice, Bruges, Genoa) and more in control of the raw materials furnished by their hinterland. They were more organized than leagues of city-states (Hansa) where decisive action was required. They were more cohesive than empires (Hapsburgs). Plus, it just worked out that way. --Wetman 15:50, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Tulie Budiselich took the MSP Test today. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:31, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

Difference between "nation-state" and "nation state"[edit]

The terms "nation-state" and "nation state" are used in the article, seemingly interchangably, but I am not sure. Is there a difference between the two? I find "nation-state" at, but not the other. Is the second even correct, or should it be replaced with the first? Authr 04:25, 2005 Jun 19 (UTC)

Then you could make all references in Wikipedia "nation-state." Try the Search feature "nation state *" (with the asterisk), to locate all the "nation state" instances to correct to "nation-state"... --Wetman 05:36, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Good question. The idea of nation-state has become virtually a compound word; so I think the two may be interchangeable. But it certainly calls for analysis & discussion. Nobs01 20:40, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)

What if we begin with the idea of city-state, as modelled in anciet Hellas, then trace that through the "kingdom-state", of which Great Britain is an excellent prototype, then eventually "nation-state".Nobs01 23:00, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)
That is the history of politics perhaps, but these are each different conceptions. History is cumulative, but it is not progressive: parliamentary Britain did not "evolve" out of a city-state. It is technology that is progressive and cumulative, not history.--Wetman 15:50, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Well, we might have to speak of "political nation states", if this article is to hold any water, seeing the United Nations is made up of 189 member nations-states. Nobs01 23:01, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The apparent need for a term "political nation state" shows that "nation state" itself is not fully understood. See the bulleted explanations I added below. --Wetman 15:50, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The article speaks of the term "nation" as meaning "people", not a "government"; this is absolutely correct. However, "nation" in its common evolved meaning today does not necessarily mean common racial or ethnicity. A "nation-state" is "people living under a common government", regardless of ethnic & racial origins, as a civilization does not necessissarily denote some common racial of ethnicity. People of the same race belong to different nations & civilizations; as people of a common civilization belong to different races and nations. When the sons of Charlemagne divided the kingdom between those of the same nation who adopted a Latinized version of thier originally Teutonic langauge, the French nation-state was born. Their ethnic brothers & cousins who kept their Teutonic dialect gave birth to the German nation (it was a while before it got organized into a common political entity). Nevertheless, it ultimatley became a divided "nation", as this article defines it, speaking two seperate languages yet sharing a common ethnicity. So it's pretty obvious today, the meaning of the term has evolved.Nobs01 23:17, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC) Can any of this information be sourced?Nobs01 15:01, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Nobs01, though understanding that "nation" still has some conotation of its original natio, incorrectly insists that all political states are nation-states, simply redefined as "'people living under a common government', regardless of ethnic & racial origins" But "nation-state" is not an entity that exists regardless of ethnic origins: that's in fact precisely what it means. "Sovereign state": that's the missing expression that we're all searching for. Ethnicities do evolve out of common roots, as the East Franks and the West Franks that Nobs01 has instanced.


  • A nation is not necessarily sovereign: Kurdistan, Tibet, Brittany.
  • A nation may be sovereign, in a nation-state: Iceland
  • A sovereign state may include more than one nation: Belgium.
  • A sovereign state may be constructed on quite other bases: United States, Indonesia --Wetman 15:50, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Very good answer. Could you comment on the various nation-states on Arab origin, now consisting in excess of some twenty states. Nobs01 16:12, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Just by categorizig them in that fashion, as "Arab", we are limiting our vision: Let us ignore the thought that Islam is still meant to be a "community" that embraces all, as "Christendom" was meant to do, but never genuinely did, either. Yemen would certainly count as a nation-state, and the Gulf Emirates show that a small state can operate successfully based on a very narrow, even tribal definition of "nation", if there is enough money. Lebanon was never a nation-state: part of what made it so sophisticated, so multicultural and "European" at one time. But Syria by contrast is a nation-state, quite ruthless to its impotent minorities. Other comparative failures as sovereign states are sometimes the symptom of French and English map-making in the 1920s and earlier: Baluchistan would have been a nation-state, vetoed by oil-rich Persia (postage stamps were issued however). Islamic Pakistan is not Arab, but not simply a Pashtunistan either; it overlaps with Afghanistan in a network of less-than-national and more-than-national tribal loyalities, which extend to Pakistan's Northwest Territories. The Ottomans wisely knew to govern the artificial pre-Iraq as three vilayets: Mosul, Baghdad and Basra. So I can't draw an overarching conclusion. But the bulleted ideas above still hold true. --Wetman 19:04, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Thanx; your comments regarding Japan are interesting. Samuel Huntington says in Clash of Civilizations something along the lines that Japan is the only civilization in existence today that is also a self-contained nation-state. Also, what would be the role of a common language, like Arabic, English, or Chinese in the make of various "nation states"? thx Nobs01 19:24, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Well Japan does have a long history of enforcing its isolation: the only comparable examples are the universal isolation of mountain peoples, creating localized culture that may be expressed as a polity with an apparent unity from the outside. The meaningfulness of languages' roles lie mostly in the details of their unique histories. But their roles can be thought of as either active or passive, as instruments of policy or as expressions or symptoms of cohesion. The details of your three examples are all different: think of their roles as vehicles: vehicles of religion, of "patriotism", of commerce, of indigenous culture, of culture imposed from without, of elites, of suppression, of resistance. I can think of historical situations where each of those languages has been the vehicle of each of those roles. So can you I'm sure. --Wetman 21:31, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)
OK, now it's looking clearer. Thx Nobs01 00:29, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

"Disputes" paragraph[edit]

The "Disputes" paragraph currently reflects misconceptions and misreadings. When the general article Nation-state is edited to be more emphatic and perfectly clear, perhaps this "Disputes" paragraph can be dropped. --Wetman 5 July 2005 23:42 (UTC)

How would a "nation state" then differ from the German concept of "Völkische Städt", loosely translated "Peoples State"?Nobs01 5 July 2005 21:36 (UTC)
Perhaps such an expression intentionally blurs the two: its subtext suggests that those who are not of the volk have no authentic place in the Staat. I thought that this point had been made in the article as it stands, or have they not been made clearly? It's a Nazi concept, is it not? Quite clever. I've included it. -Wetman 5 July 2005 23:42 (UTC)
That's a good inclusion in the article, and sraight to the point. Volkische Stadt is usually translated "People's State", but more properly would be "Folkish State" (not "Folks' State"). Hence understanding of what "folkish", in the German & Nazi context means. To be "folkish" is somewhat of almost a mystical nationalism among some Germanic peoples, believing something along the lines that the Jews time has past and "das Volk" now have become the inheritors of the title of the chosen people (not necessarily the chosen of the Judeo-Christian God, however). And of course, one can anticipate arguements. Nobs01 6 July 2005 00:37 (UTC)
See these ideas at Völkisch movement. --Wetman 8 July 2005 20:33 (UTC)

Its hard to make sense of the disputes paragrah, as it is. A lot of the text at this article, which I am reworking, seems to suggest that only an absolutely perfect version is a real nation state. The comments on Belgium seem to mean something like that. Of course many states don't approach the ideal type, but the article should simply point that out, and give examples. Belgium is a nation state, but it is a disputed and weak nation state, thats what needs to be said. There are separate article on Belgian nationalisms to refer to.

"Völkische Städt" doesn't exist in German. "Völkischer Staat" would be correct but isn't used in German language. The German word would be "Nationalstaat".--MacX85 (talk) 19:48, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Diaspora and irredentism[edit]

The present version confuses the existence of a diaspora with cross-border minorities. The 'greater' nationalisms are seen as related to diaspora. The correct term is irredentism, that is, nationalist claims to neighbouring territory on the grounds that it is part of the national homeland. Usually no 'diaspora' lives there, but simply members of an ethnic group who have ended up on the wrong side of the border. The author of this section does not seem to know the term irredentism, which has its own separate article. The list of 'greater' nationalisms belongs there. Some of them are pan-nationalisms, which is again different from irredentism. I will add later a section on nationalist responses to the fact the the nation-state border usually does not match the location of the national group.Ruzmanci 8 July 2005 19:45 (UTC)

A good distinction, Ruzmanci. Excellent re-edit. Haven't edited at Irredentism myself for months. An effective difference between diaspora and the situation claimed by irredentists is Urrecht, the claim to territory inhabited since "time immemorial", which is always inextricably involved in irredentism, justifying it in the eyes of its proponents. In your edit "In the ideal model of the nation state, the population consists primarily of members of that nation" ideal and primarily are denying one another: wouldn't the description of an ideal nation-state improve with this clause dropped out, viz: "In its ideal model, the state not only houses the nation, but protects it and its national identity." Could you make a statement about Revanchism in this article to link the two articles? And I think "nation" needs the briefest clarifying definition at its first appearance, for the concept is clouded by the common usage as a synonym of "state". --Wetman 8 July 2005 20:33 (UTC)

Whole section is now added with mostly new text, existing links to irredentist movements were kept, except greater Poland which turns out te be the name of a province. Link revanchism added. See below.Ruzmanci

Article rewritten[edit]

The whole article has now been rewritten to match the rewrite of nationalism. The sections have a more logical order, the English has been corrected where necessary, and duplicates have been removed. The history section is still very schematic, but better than the older version which was merely one theory about nation-state origins, plus some loose comments.Ruzmanci 9 July 2005 13:24 (UTC)

It's a good rewrite, but I would question one basic premise. The article seems to explain "nation-state" resulting from the break up of larger empires. There is a contrary view that "nation state" grew up from a smaller collection of city states, that ultimately achieved some level of political integration. Nobs01 9 July 2005 17:35 (UTC)

Text has been clarified. I don't know any example where a collection of city states became a nation state, in Germany and Italy only relict city states were left by the time of unification.Ruzmanci 11:56, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

I have an interesting text on the subject written by Arnold Toynbee, in A Study of History, will be glad to locate it for you, but it may take some time cause presently I'm deeply into another subject. Thank you. Nobs01 17:23, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

Toynbee and city-states[edit]

I would recommend three sections from A Study of History, beginning with

The Impact of the Solonian Economic Revolution upon the International Politics of the Hellenic World, brief extracts,
"...the Solonian economic revolution could not be carried out without enlarging the ordinary working unit of Hellenic economic life from a city-state scale to an oecumenical scale..."
What's actually being "carried out" here? Toynbee's theory of a "Solonian" economic revolution— which precedes the enlarged economic unit. But do the city-states depend on one another for oil and grain? Or does Toynbee have a Large Idea that the historical facts are selectively mustered to support? This isn't good history, just as Karl Marx isn't good history for similar reasons.--Wetman
"So long as the ordinary working unit of Hellenic political life continued to be the city-state whose limits had now been so far transcended on the economic plane, it was possible that a political conflict between city-states, in the shape of war or privateering or piracy, might at any moment arbitrarily cut short those oecumenical economic activities which had now become indispensable for the maintenance of the increased and increasing population..."

to give you a flavor of the content (Toynbee can be dense reading). This is by far not the last word. Once this material is digested, I'd be happy to provide links to

"The Impact of Italian Efficiency upon Transalpine Government", and
"England in the Third Chapter of the Growth of the Western Society"

for further development on the subject. Thank you.Nobs01 18:09, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

If Toynbee provides us our basic working model of the nation-state, does Thomas Carlyle still explain the French Revolution for us?

This can be related to the political integration that the EU now seeks; to steal Toynbee's idea, free trade and economic integration cannot be carried out without enlarging the ordinary working unit of European economic life from a nation-state scale to an oecumenical scale...", or something along that line. I raise this cause as the article now states, nation-states came into existence as the result of a disintegration or breakdown of larger states (with no explaination how those larger states came into existence, a gapeing hole). Toynbee essentially refutes the nineteenth century view that civilizations grew up from a race based, or nationality based model. "The same civilization contains different races, whereas the same race belongs to different civilizations" to paraphrase his thesis that, national origin is a dead end to understanding how civilizations come into being. Nobs01 19:29, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

I don't know if Toynbee titles Athenian-era Greece as a proto-nation-state, but I have seen that elsewhere. But the key word is 'proto' because I never saw anyone claim that it was a nation state, in the modern sense.Ruzmanci 17:49, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

In conext, Toynbee uses the Hellenic city-states as an example that failed to unify into a nation state. Hence the significance of the next reading,The Impact of Italian Efficiency upon Transalpine Government, which I would subtitle, "The growth of Parliamentarism", which in this case, resurrected representative democracy from the the Hellenic world, but still failed to achieve political integration. The final reading, England in the Third Chapter of the Growth of the Western Society, Toynbee observes England, with a system of parliamentary democracy, grows into a "kingdom-state", of which the idea of "nation state" is based. Nobs01 19:28, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

More on Toynbee[edit]

The three above readings fit into Toynbee's overall theory of challange and response, the challenge being to create a integrated political order; Toynbee cites the response of the Hellenic civilization to the challenge by creating a system of bi-lateral treaties etc., that ultimately failed to raise the "parocial" interests of city-states beyond thier own horizon. The challenge then was taken up by successor Italian city-states that again failed (both those sections come from Part IV, BREAKDOWNS OF CIVILIZATIONS, and are symptomatic). The Contribution of England, on the other hand, comes from Part III, GROWTHS OF CIVILIZATIONS, where in fact England's response to the same challange was to unify as a nation state. Perhaps in studying this issue, one should take note of the term parochial state (and "parocial interests"), and understand how that relates to the idea of nation state.Nobs01 19:50, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Switzerland a nation state?[edit]

I thought Switzerland was a Confederation of nation states, not a single nation state. The Swiss Cantons were originally nation states (semi-autonomous regions) that joined to oppose Austrian taxation. Today Switzerland is diverse and represents many nationalities, but it is still a Confederation of states (cantons).

It is debatable whether Switzerland is or not a nation-state. It is a state, of course, but it's not certain it is a nation, since the 'Swiss' nationality doesn't exist, only 'German', 'Italian', 'French' and 'Romansch' nationalities do. Only Swiss citizenship exists.--Andrelvis 18:15, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

Wetman writes "Switzerland is part of the definition of "nation-state": no one "debates" the fact". Who made up that definition? There is no Swiss nationality any more than there is a European nationality. Switzerland is a state, more properly a confederation of states. There is no nation. Examples of nation-states are Japan, Korea, Israel, Gaza, Iceland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Morocco, Libya, Egypt, Eritrea, Kenya, Singapore, E. Timor, Samoa, Marquesas, Tonga, Nepal, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Liberia. In the U.S., Indian Nations are almost independent states as they are granted Tribal Sovernity. Hawaii is a state that could become a nation-state depending on how indigenous rights are resolved, likewise for Alaska.

The U.S. likes to consider itself a nation-state ("one nation under God") however reality shows this belief to be purely mythical.
    So What.  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:12, 3 July 2009 (UTC) 
Historians made up the idea of "nation-state" in order to discuss the rise of France and England as entities under monarch-headed bureaucracies. The term was not used in medieval times. Quibbles could be gathered under the topic sentence, "No nation-state perfectly fulfills the definition." Then, if Switzerland is not a nation-state, the above quibble might be thoroughly laid out and referenced in the article—explaining whose reservations these are— keeping the Wikipedia reader always in mind. Has a definition of "nation-state" that does not include Switzerland nor Eire perhaps been rendered a vehicle for self-expression rather than one of primary service to a reader, one might ask? --Wetman 14:10, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

It seems to me it is just a matter of the English language. A state is a geographical entity. A nation is a group of people that share a common ethnicity or identity. Therefore a true nation-state would be a geographical entity largely composed of one ethnicity. Japan would be the classic case, though not 100% Japanese, it is close, what 95%? And the state of Japan is very closely tied to the people of Japanese ethnicity. Another good example is Israel, again a state that is closely tied to a people of a given ethnicity (we call them Jews). Of course, the counter-example: Palestine and Palestinians. The problem being two ethnicities claiming the same geographic state. How Switzerland could ever be considered a nation-state is beyond me, it is in fact the opposite, it is a loose confederation of states that tolerates different nationalities. There is no Swiss ethnic identity. Just one example: there is no one Swiss cheese, each region has unique traditions. Switzerland can certainly be divided into German, French and Italian "like" sections, however there is much more than just that. As for France and England being nation-states, perhaps that was once a sort of assimilationist's dream. Certainly there was the dream of "reuniting" the Roman Empire. But the Roman Empire was never a nation-state, Italy was never a nation-state. Certainly the Holy Roman Empire and Napolean and Hitler had dreams of forming a nation-state. But France was never a nation-state, you had the major Langue d'Oc and Langue d'Oil divisions, which still exist today, though the language has been standardized. Southern France is quite simply Mediterranean, Central France is Paris, Northern France starts blending into German identity, in fact there is no French-German ethnic border. Modern France also has a significant Muslim population. The modern U.K. is certainly no nation-state. Was England ever a nation-state? Angles? Are we excluding Wales? Cornwall? Cumbria? Isn't the royal family German? King Arthur's Britannia? Are we supposing an Anglo-Saxon nation-state? In conclusion, in the English language, the definition of nation-state is very straightforward - what is interesting is what people have supposed to be or have been nation-states. The original 13 U.S. colonies were originaly largely an English nation-state, New Amsterdam anglicized into New York and New Jersey, with the French banished to Canada and Louisiana, the Germans given some minority status particularly in Pennsylvania, Africans enslaved, and indigenous persecuted and pushed west. Likewise, South Africa was for a while a nation-state. Seems to me the concept of the American melting pot in the U.S. presuposes a nation-state, with immigrants within one generation melting into "average" Americans, thus the U.S. is the state composed of those of American nationality. But does anyone still really believe the myth of the American melting pot? The myth of the "average American"?

  Yea. I do. Who the hell are you to tell other people how they may think of their own country and/or nation state?  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:29, 3 July 2009 (UTC) 

Seems to me a good framework for this article would be to start with the compact OED definition:

"a sovereign state of which most of the citizens or subjects are united also by factors which define a nation, such as language or common descent."

Then figure out what states are nation-states and why. Clearly Japan would be a nation-state and Switzerland and the U.K. would not be. Proceed from there. Maybe eventually include dreams of nation-states to be with the notions behind the dreams. Maybe include attempts to make nation-states out of England or France or the U.S., again with analysis of the notions behind these attempts.

One other comment: the Swiss prefer to call themselves CH, Confederation Helvetica, the old Roman name for the region. In other words, it's a united region, not a nation or nationality. They could have attempted to form a nationality around the legend of William Tell, but they didn't - probably something to do with the legend itself - William Tell objected to the notion of a greater Austrian nationality. In the U.S., Thomas Jefferson objected to the notion of a greater Protestant nationality.

Another comment: after reading through the several wikipedia articles, I think a mistake is made in saying that the original empires of Europe broke up into nation-states. They broke up into smaller geographically based (divided by rivers, mountains, etc.) states. As part of the propaganda of state-building (perversely called nation-building), they may have been called nation-states, as if the nation-state is a better thing, but they were not nation-states. Germany attempted to create a nation-state, complete with the ethnic cleansing that would be required to create a nation-state in a continent with a history of many different ethnic groups constantly on the move. England and the English language may have attempted to create a nation-state. The U.S. may have attempted to create a nation-state. But, by definition, these are not nation-states, this is abuse of the language, for propaganda purposes. Seems to me the NPOV approach would be to clearly point this out, rather than continue to use language like most European states are nation-states, etc. Seems to me it is POV to claim a state is a nation-state when it clearly by definition is not.

 Wow. Abuse of the language, propaganda. Is there a penalty for this? This is clearly important stuff. Is there a UN Agency in charge of this nation state crap?   —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:40, 3 July 2009 (UTC) 

In conclusion: Switzerland is not a nation-state, it is a confederation of states with a high tolerance of diverse nationalities, in fact, if there is such a thing as a Swiss identity, it is this notion that the state should not attempt to enforce a uniform nationality but should exist to allow existing nationalites to coexist without resorting to warfare or assimilation.

Maybe a clarification is helpful: William Tell didn't oppose Austrian nationalism because he was a Swiss nationalist, he opposed the imposition of any nationality over another, he opposed the notion of the state enforcing a common nationality, in short he opposed the notion of the nation-state for the Helvetic cantons, the confederation was formed in opposition to the notion of a single dominant state nationality, and still exists as such today. Switzerland is the anti-nation-state. How ironic that it should be labelled by others as a nation-state. Presumably the notion of no single dominant national identity, no lowest common denominator, is somehow a meta-nationality? Like calling Atheism a religion?

Hey, Andrelvis, where did you find that the "Swiss nationality" does not exist? That's news to me, and I'm a swiss national/citizen (whichever). Pheasantplucker 11:27, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

two types of nation-states[edit]

There are two types of nation-states and the current article needs to be reworked to reflect this:

1. The literal definition: a nation-state is a geographical state that is largely populated by a single ethnic nationality, for example Japan or Iceland. Often this is promoted as an ideal state, in particular in the case of Japan, cultural uniformity and assimilation is said to give an economic advantage in the world marketplace.

2. Unfortunately, the term nation-state is also used incorrectly for geographic states that attempt to promote a single state national identity to promote their validity. The obvious example is Nazi Germany which attempted to define a single German identity. However, this is an extreme case. More typical would be France or Italy or China which standardized its languages into a single national language and to some degree promoted national identities. However, upon closer examination, it is clear there is no one French or Italian or Chinese ethnic nationality. As an example, one can look at the French-German state border, it is clear this is not the French-German ethnic border, in fact there really is no French-German ethnic border. The most glaring example of the error of this misuse of the term nation-state is when Switzerland is said to be a nation-state. Clearly there is no Swiss national identity and in fact the confederation primary exists to prevent a state (internal or external) from attempting to promote a single national identity, the most obvious example being the existance of four official languages which all students must learn to speak fluently. Rather than a state that promotes a single nationality, this is a state that attempts to promote existing nationalities equally without an emphasis on assimilation to a single state defined nationality. Another example would be Canada.

Is there a fixed definition for nation-state?


It'd be great to have a criticism section to the article. I'm sure there is criticism addressed towards nation-states? - Quirk 11:45, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Nation-states vs. NationStates[edit]

Shouldn't there be a disambiguation page to distinguish between 'nation-state' (this page) and NationStates the web game? There's no links to it anywhere, not even one of those 'Nation-states redirects here, for NationStates the web game, click here' thingies at the top. 07:11, 23 May 2006 (UTC)


They expanded from core regions, Paris and London, and developed a national consciousness, and sense of national identity (Frenchness and Englishness).

Who ever wrote this has little knowledge of English history. If England expanded out of anywhere, and I personally do not think it did, it was Athelney. Also "Both assimilated peripheral regions and their cultures (Wales, Brittany, Aquitaine and Occitania), where regionalism and nationalism resurfaced in the 19th century". This implies that the Welsh stopped being Welsh for hundreds of years and then suddenly re-emerged as a nation in the 19th century. I would be interested to see that position argued out in a North Welsh pub!

Further this paragraph completly ignores the fact that England is not a nation state (and has not been so for hundreds of years) and so is not very relevent to this article --Philip Baird Shearer 10:02, 25 May 2006 (UTC)


"Often the nation is in many ways defined by the state to build a nation-state, rather than the nation-state being built by creating a state for a clearly pre-existing nation (eg. USA, Switzerland, Belgium, etc.)."

This is not sourced. It should be, as it is more than questionable that any state at all has been built for a "clearly pre-existing nation". Several recognized historians argue the reverse. Lapaz 15:50, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Deleted errors about the Dutch Republic[edit]

I cut most of the information on the Dutch Republic, it was full of errors, although it is a good example of how national mythology manipulates historical events to create a national 'origin myth'.

The Dutch Republic of 1581 is not the same thing as the Batavian Republic of 1795.

The Eighty Years' War included no 'nation-building' in the current sense.

'The Dutch' did not rebel rebel against Habsburg Spain, the revolt was initially local, inter-aristocratic, and did not coincide with any 'Dutch' political unit.

William of Orange only became 'an iconic leader of the Dutch people' after he was dead, when early nationalist historians began to identify him as such.

His (invented) title is not 'Father of the Nation' but Father of the Fatherland.

Protestantism was only the 'dominant Dutch religion' in terms of armed force - the Protestants were a minority, even in the areas they controlled.

'The burghers' therefore did not all share an anti-Catholic anti-Spanish mentality. Many of them remained Catholic, and they had more to fear from their Protestant neighbours.

The Dutch language as standard language did not exist. Holland-based dialects were only spoken in part of the area affected by the Dutch Revolt.

The Netherlands still has no 'single language' in 2006, let alone having one around 1600.

'Spanish religious persecutions' were matched by Protestant persecutions, in the areas the Protestants controlled.

There was no uniform national enemy, or indeed any national unity. Large sections of the population, especially in the South, regarded the 'Dutch' forces (not the Spanish troops) as 'the enemy'.

Far from 'strengthening national feelings', the military conquest of the southern provinces created a hostility to 'Holland', and a residual hostility still persists.--Paul111 10:48, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

The title of Father of the Nation is quite common for the Dutch expression "Vader des vaderlands". The Southern Netherlands have little to do with the Dutch republic as a nation state, afterall the current country occupying that area is Belgium is still not a nation state. The common enemy was Spain, there is no denying that. The first steps towards a Dutch standard language were taken shortly after the revolt, which still doesn't mean they hadn't got their own language which was said. The Dutch did revolt against habsburg spain and william of orange was an iconic leader during his life. Rex 09:49, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Father of the Nation is not the correct translation, and the title is a later invention anyway. The southern provinces of Brabant and Limburg (NL) are not in Belgium. Spain was not the common enemy of Protestants and Catholics, this is a fiction of 19th-century nationalist historians. There was no 'single language' in the Dutch Republic, and there is still no single language on its former territory. Wikipedia is not a soapbox. Nationlist historiography should be treated as such, and not presented as fact.--Paul111 10:48, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Are you calling me a nationalist Paul111? Because indeed wikipedia is not a soapbox, and I will not engage in an insulting conversation just because you can't prove what you say. Rex 11:34, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

  • OK, ladies, don't revert each other any more. Let's talk about these things. Watch out for WP:3RR - CrazyRussian talk/email 14:37, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Articles which are reverted lose all changes. If you don't like an edit then confine any reverts to that edit. Don't delete other edits unless you have a reason.--Paul111 14:38, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Yes that's the point of reverting, so they may lose all the changes. I thought that was obvious.
Now, I'm here and I see discussion. Now I'd like to know why you are right and I am wrong via the use of FACTS and SOURCES Paul111.
Rex 16:51, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

You should not use blanket reverts as a way of intimidating other users. The article has now been cleaned up, and the sections simplified. The Dutch Republic has been noted as an early example of a nation state, along with Portugal and England. Some more details about these three could be added, although not to duplicate for instance Elizabethan era. The nationalist version of Dutch history which you added earlier, shoul be sourced. It can be sourced, but only to nationalist historians of the 19th and early 20th century, In addition, the version you quoted is that of the Protestant historians, there was a separate Catholic nationalist historiography. If you quote these historian, then you should identify them as such, and note that their perspectives are no longer accepted by the majority of historians in the Netherlands, except as an example of national mythology.--Paul111 11:13, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

I suggest you watch your tongue with who you call a nationalist User:Paul111, because I employ a zero tolerance policy concerning personal attacks, you've been warned.
As for your "improvements" where are the facts to back up the things you say and why is your version better?! How do you back up your assumptions on the majority of historians in the Netherlands as of now and how on earth do you make assumptions on the religion of the person who wrote that?!
Rex 11:34, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

Under general system of verzuiling, the academic world in the Netherlands was divided by religion (among other things), until the 1960's. Until that time, historians at a Catholic university (Nijmegen) produced a Catholic-inspired history, historians at a Protestant unversity (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) a Protestant version. The Catholic and Protestant schools of Dutch national historiography originated in the 19th century, and predate the compromises of the verzuiling. The curious dispute about whether Rembrandt was a Catholic illustrate how the historians spent their time (or wasted it). There is no problem in identifying the various schools, and their biases, which more or less disappeared in the 1960's.Paul111 18:02, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

Ridiculous, these are contempory times and old documents do not lie neither do opinions. you revision Dutch history and have no facts to back up your changes. Rex 10:36, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

"X is not a real nation-state"[edit]

I moved all the text referring to both the ideal nation-state, and to what might not be a nation-state, into one section. I also moved all the historical text into the History section.

Some people think that, for instance, Switzerland is not a nation-state, as you can see from some of the edits. Although this article should emphasise that nationalist claims are almost always disputed, it also has to provide a description of nation-states as generally understood, and as they are treated by the theory. The article cannot base itself solely on the objections to the usage. If Switzerland is not a nation-state, then what is it? If Brazil is not a nation-state, then what is it? Most nation-states are far removed from the ideal of happy unified societies, which is how they promote themselves. The revised text acknowledges that.--Paul111 19:49, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Article cleaned up[edit]

I cleaned up the article format, and some of the sections. Some of it was a mess, with some points triplicated, and apparently pasted at random in text about something else. The present version is more legible, and is a basis for expansion. However, the History section already has a lot of overlap with the nationalism article. Further additions to it should preferably not duplicate content.--Paul111 11:03, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

Blanket revert after clean-up[edit]

User Rex has, apparently out of pique, reverted the entire clean-up of the article. From his comments, he is clearly very irritated about the deletion of his material on Dutch nationalist history. However, he has not confined himslef to re-inserting that material, but instead reverted the entire article. All improvements have been lost.

It is a major problem with Wikipedia articles on nationalism, that nationalists see them as a vehicle for their views. The result is a cluster of very low quality articles. I have recently cleaned up the white nationalism article as well, and I expect similar hostile reactions there. Under the Wikipedia structure, there is nothing to prevent users choosing a bad article which reflects their views, over a good article which does not. This is what produces the low-quality articles on controversial issues, and consensus can not resolve the problem, which is inherent in the Wikipedia structure.--Paul111 12:53, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

This is your last warning, I consider being called a nationalist a serious allegation as well as an assault on me as a person.
I reverted your "clean up" as you provide no facts or sources to prove previous versions were wrong. You merely said "that's wrong" well on wikipedia, that doesn't cover it. You've been given options to explain your actions on various occasions and you deliberatly chose to evade them.
Rex 13:08, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

En-dash in "nation-state"![edit]

Why is the compound noun "nation-state" joined with an en dash throughout the article? Surely it should be a hyphen. See English_compound#Compound_nouns. An en dash may be used in some compound adjectives, but not compound nouns, to my knowledge. Nurg 03:56, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

I've fixed it. The en dashes were put in, along with some diacritics, (see [1]), by Doremítzwr who is promoting unconventional usages (see Wikipedia:Why_opt_for_diaeretic_spellings and User_talk:Doremítzwr). Nurg 05:21, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

Rewritten POV sentence[edit]

I have removed the words usually propagandistic from the education section under Characteristics of a nation-state. It is entirely subjective to claim that national history is usually 'propagandistic' when taught in schools. Walton monarchist89 14:19, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

It is entirely subjective to claim it was history at all, usually it was bombastic propaganda filled with absurd exaggerations of the nation's importance, and often fictional events. That was later recognised in some cases, although many nation-states still teach this kind of 'history'. The 19th-century national histories are a major example of the 'invention of tradition' and their status should be accurately noted.Paul111 09:46, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Evidently you have not read WP:VERIFY. I haven't seen a single citation or shred of evidence demonstrating that such history was fictionalised or mythologistic. If you can quote specific sources, I will accept your edits. Walton monarchist89 11:07, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Sources added for the - well-recognised - propagandistic and mythical nature of nationalist history teaching.Paul111 12:10, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Post-colonial nations[edit]

I would like to request that more information be included on the question of nation-statehood of post-colonialist countries [most of the african continent has borders that were arbitrarily decided upon by colonial powers]; how do third world countries negotiate this? Is a country like South Africa [which has 11 officially recognised languages] a nation-state or not? thank you125.236.162.241 22:50, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

Article needs cites[edit]

Article makes a large number of bald assertions that aren't cited. -- 22:43, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Given the range of the subject matter, perhaps several hundred would be needed. There is also a problem with disputed territories used as examples, the article says they are disputed, but that may not be enough for some people. But first please clarify the problem areas, i.e. which are the 'bald assertions' in question?Paul111 15:00, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Remove original research tag[edit]

As I pointed out above, the number of references need for this article, with such a wide scope, is very large. The 'own research' tag is not intended as a way of saying "I don't like this article", but as a means to improve the article. It should prefereably be accompanied by an indication of what exactly is at issue, and which claims are unverified.Paul111 11:10, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Since neither of the people who posted the tags has listed the issues of concern, I will soon propose to remove the OR tag.Paul111 19:48, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

I propose to remove the tag, if there is no consensus against that by 17 December 2006.Paul111 13:14, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Removed, no comments at all: despite the date in the signiature, it is 17 December here. Paul111 11:51, 16 December 2006 (UTC)

I've put it back. The whole article is written ex cathedra. The large scope of this article means that every claim made needs a solid cite, since Wikipedia users are otherwise unable to verify them. If the claims made in the article can't be backed up, they have no business being in Wikipedia (NB I'm talking about the general statements, not those re: specific territories). --Dtcdthingy 17:47, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Science fiction[edit]

Not going to add it to the article because it would be original research - the article's already tagged for OR, but no reason to contribute to that =P - but it might be interesting to discuss the use of the term in science fiction. For instance, in Star Trek, Star Wars, etc nation-state is used as an archaic or at least less common term compared to a world government or group of worlds, in much the same way we use city-state today. Food for and by all this you can find examples to reach the point that this is all a bunch of bullshit.

Skepticism Statement[edit]

I have taken the liberty of removing the skepticism reference under "Future," as it is unsourced, poorly written and of no use to the article as a whole. For any interested, the removed portions are reproduced here-

Some are sceptic of the feasibility of this, as groups of humans with no overreaching regulation or control have historically tended to go to war on each other.[citation needed]

I suggest that we remove all the science fiction references from the "Future" section and retain (and augment) only those factual segments of it dealing with globalization and world government, with links to the appropriate full articles. Comments? Nutiketaiel (talk) 19:26, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

International Law[edit]

Surely there needs to be some discussion of the legal concept of the nation-state? This is largely based on sovereignty. Reference could be made to the Lotus case (ICJ) and the Peace of Westphalia (which, if not mentioned in a law section, is certainly relevant to the history section). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:57, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

The Treaty of Westphalia is mentioned in the History section. I don't really see the relevance of the Lotus case, especially since it was rendered irrelevant in 1958 by the Geneva Convention of the High Seas. Nutiketaiel (talk) 14:43, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Germany nationality[edit]

[NaziGermany] defined 'German' on the basis of German ancestry (as it still largely does), excluding "all" non-Germans from the "Volk".

Who added the content in brackets. Was meant to be a joke? A German is everybody that has German citizenship according to the law. I am not an expert on German law concerning naturalization, but no matter if you are Iranian, Turk, African, Chinese once you are naturalized you are a German citizen; just as a naturalized German friend of mine now is American. Mind you we were re-educated, after the vicious 12 years. At least it was tried.

I wouldn't have noticed this, if somebody posted exactly that passage on a blog comment section. What is absolutely true, is that the Nazis left quite an imprint and it took decades before the entanglement of the juridical parties in the Third Reich was discussed, and in many cases one even wondered later how long some of their fingerprints were still visible, but that's another more complex story. Unfortunately I can't offer the whole story of the German Nationality Act, it was "last" amended in 1999 before it had this version. So I really can't tell you at what point Chapter III Direct citizenship of the Reich, Section 33-35 was deleted. But here we go: German Law Archive-Nationality Actsearch for: "StAG", which stands for Staatangehörigkeitsgesetz=Nationality law. Look for yourself, gone they are. I had to check in the library at what exact date they were deleted. On the net one usually only finds recent history and not the revision history Germany Demography 07:12, LeaNder (talk) 07:13, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

I can't really understand this article.[edit]

I feel stupid stating this, but I've read it through like 4 times and still don't have a clear meaning of what a nation-state is.

Is Ireland a nation-state? Yes or No, and why?

Thank you —Preceding unsigned comment added by AnOicheGhealai (talkcontribs) 04:14, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

maybe that's because the whole concept of nation-state is ill-defined (some would say). So, if you try to pin it down in an encyclopaedic article, you necessarily run into problems. The idea of nation-state is used in political rhetorics, and in historical analysis of politics. As for the present day, Ireland is probably closer to the ideal of a nation-state than many other countries, with the population being quite homogeneous. Not sure how to deal with the North, thoughJasy jatere (talk) 07:31, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
No, quite well-defined, in fact. The first paragraph explains it clearly: The nation-state is a certain form of state that derives its legitimacy from serving as a sovereign entity for a nation as a sovereign territorial unit. The state is a political and geopolitical entity; the nation is a cultural and/or ethnic entity. The term "nation-state" implies that the two geographically coincide, and this distinguishes the nation state from the other types of state, which historically preceded it.
Which are the hard words that you need to have explained? Have you clicked on any of the links?--Wetman (talk) 19:36, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

I would say Ireland is a nation state, although if they happen to unite with norther ireland, they would still be a nation-state, it is a bit like Portugal, if Galiza and Portugal were unified they would still be a nation-state. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gomes89 (talkcontribs) 17:23, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
Yes, the issue of other populations of the cultural nation living outside the borders of the nation-state is not part of the definition of nation state: see especially diaspora and revanchism. Eire and Portugal, with or without Galicia or Northern Ireland, are nation-states. At a certain level, however, localists seek to define their own cultural nation within such circumscribed limitations that they make a case for autonomy: see devolution.--Wetman (talk) 08:39, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
It's because this article isn't correct. Every modern state is a nation state. The nation in the modern and relevant sense is the citizens of the state, that's it. Everything national or international means that. Yarenn Šagor (talk) 18:27, 28 October 2016 (UTC)

Some mistakes[edit]

Hello. I think the main factor that confuses people is that the concepts are different.

  • A State is a sovereign political entity.
  • A state is a geopolitical division of a State under the Federal system (Centralist States use other words, such as Province).
  • A Nation is a sociological concept, based on heritage and culture.
  • A Country is a geographical area.

So, as you see, you have State and state (political science), Nation (sociology), and Country (geography). The confusion began back in the XV century, when the modern State concept was established (Machiavello was the first to use the word State to define a geopolitical sovereign entiry). Back in the day, most of these coincided, hence the confusion. A nation-state would be a part of a State that is wholly included in a state, but it being a nation different to that it belongs to, such as the Aland Islands in Finland. A Nation-State would be a nation that lies wholly within a State, which are very few in the world, such as Leichtenstein. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gaher (talkcontribs) 21:40, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

The other usage of "state", as "a geopolitical division", like the State of Nebraska, is perfectly irrelevant: unnecessary confusion. It is not true that "back in the day, most of these coincided": think of any empire. The rest is thoroughly garbled. For others, please look again at the useful, clear definition reprinted in the section above, in italics.--Wetman (talk) 08:17, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

A failed substitution for the lead[edit]

Recently the following was substituted for the lead definition:

"A nation-state is a country where the political concept of "state" is said to coincide with the ethno-social concept of "nation". Thus meaning that the state derives its legitimacy by that fact that it can claim to represent the nation and the head of state can be considered as the leader of the nation."

Aside from the grammar, this is vaguer than the precise definition in the present lead, and not an improvement. "Country",the synonym proffered here, is not an accurate one: Country, as a matter of cultural horizons ("my country 'tis of thee", "cattle country", "back country" etc), might deserve a paragraph concerning its relation to the state at Sovereign state. Who is inicated in the tell-tale phrase "is said to"?--Wetman (talk) 21:06, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Problems with the lead[edit]

  • The first sentence asserts that nation-states are legitimate because they coincide with nations, when it should say that it is something that may be claimed about them - an opinion.
Incorrect: the definition in fact states that the nation-state "derives its legitimacy from serving as a sovereign entity for a nation". Whether or not that legitimacy is justified is perhaps the substance of the Blue-Haired Lawyer's quibble. There is no point-of-view whatsoever expressed in this bland and accurate definition. The naive substitute statement that "a nation-state is a country" (see above) simply transmits foggy thinking: "my nation = my country".--Wetman (talk) 21:51, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
  • I very much doubt that the term nation-state "arise[s] from an attempt to distinguish a sovereign nation-state from a federal state". Please find a source.
In fact this article has been shaped by the struggle to make that very distinction. An editor will find a better way to improve the observation: tagging is not editing.--Wetman (talk) 21:51, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

I take it this accounts for the "lost information". — Blue-Haired Lawyer 21:18, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

1. What is the published definition of "nation-state" that Blue-Haired Lawyer finds adequate? 2. Why has it not been added to this article, with a citation? Some on-line definitions, all flawed, may be see; do any of them cover an intrinsic aspect of nation-state not covered in Wikipedia's definition?--Wetman (talk) 21:51, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Article location[edit]

Is there any reason this article is located at Nation state instead of Nation-state? It seems like the hyphenated version is the only correct spelling I'm finding references to, and it is certainly universally adopted here, no? JamesLucas (" " / +) 18:48, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

This is my question as well. The body of the article uses nation-state. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:15, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

United Kingdom[edit]

I have big concerns about this section so have added a POV for the time being rather than making some edits right away. Some issues..

"The United Kingdom is a difficult state to classify" Says who? The UK is a sovereign state and based on the introduction of this article it is a Nation-State.

" the Treaty of Union that set out the agreed terms has ensured the continuation of distinct features of each state, " Scotland and England are not "states" today, this may be talking about features of the previous two independent states, but that needs to be clearer.

"Three hundred years later, some regard the UK as a nation state[8] but others regard it as a plurinational state." - This is probably the bit i have the most concern about. There is a source for the UK being a nation state (although it requires people to log in to read so no idea what it says). There is no source for it as a "plurinational state" presently. It also fails to put it into balance or context. "some think its this, others think it that" is not very helpful.

If there is no debate on this, i will be making some removals and alterations to this paragraph in the coming days. BritishWatcher (talk) 15:03, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

The UK is one state, thus Elizabeth II is its Head of state (not head of states). GoodDay (talk) 15:50, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
The UK is indeed a unitary state but a quick Google shows that at least three academics have referred to the UK as a multinational state. [2][3][4]--Pondle (talk) 16:37, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
This section seems fair. Some people do regard the UK as a "nation-state" (in the classical sense), even if most still think of it as "multi-national". Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 16:47, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the changes made, that is better. Although i do still have concerns about this "some regard the UK as a nation state but others regard it as a multinational state." According to the definition on this article, the UK is without any shadow of doubt a Nation-State. Some may also view it as a "multi-national state" , but this needs to be put into context rather than on equal terms by saying "some think this and others think that". If devolution means some think the UK is now more of a "multinational state" then it should be explained within the article. BritishWatcher (talk) 17:47, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
I don't like the opening definition - although it is cited - because it basically just says that a nation state is a sovereign state! I have an interesting little book called Key Concepts in Politics where the author cites Giuseppe Mazzini's definition: "every nation a state, and only one state for the entire nation". However, the author himself then adds that "the nation state is an ideal type and has probably never existed in perfect form anywhere in the world".
BTW I think that the UK section is well-balanced. You can find refs to say that "Britain is a nation-state" or "the UK is a nation-state", including Government ones such as the ONS here, but there are others questioning or subverting that idea. For example, Heath and Roberts here: "For all of its (relatively short) history, Britain has... been a multi-nation state and a British identity has had to coexist with separate national identities."--Pondle (talk) 18:38, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
Looks good enough now, thanks for those changes made. BritishWatcher (talk) 19:38, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

I agree with BritishWatcher's original points and have since improved the section in question. --Hm2k (talk) 20:55, 6 September 2010 (UTC)


Israel is not unique

The claim that Israel's intertwined notions of ethnicity and religion is unique is ridiculous. E.g. most Orthodox Christian countries have such intertwined national identities. In Armenia majority religious and majority ethnic identity are closely intertwined as is it in Greece, Serbia, Norway and many other countries. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:12, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

I've rephrased the section and I take your point in the sense that many other peoples have also been described as ethnoreligious groups and other states base citizenship on jus sanguinis. But Israel is different to Greece, Serbia or Norway and almost every other nation-state that I can think of, because when the Zionist movement was created the Jews were dispersed and had no territorial base.--Pondle (talk) 23:39, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

The Syriac national movement and the Assyrian national movement (both representing Aramaic Christians) seek to found nation states of their own in different parts of current demographic Kurdistan (i.e. Tur Abdin and Nineveh respectively) despite lacking a majoritarian territorial base in these regions. The Jewish national movement is thus not unique in this sense. The religious myth that Jews are unique is quite widespread among both Christians and Jews although this has little actual basis. Of course, every country and every state has its own distinct history as this is the rule, not the exception. However, more interesting in this regard is that the Christian European understanding of nationhood is genealogically derived from Christian readings of Hebrew scripture. Keep in mind that the Jews were the only people in the Roman empire who viewed itself as a nation. On the other hand however, the Chinese notion of nationhood is just as old or older than the Judeo-Christian one.

Citizen state[edit]

Is it helpful to contrast nation states with "citizen states" in the introduction, when a citizen state is not defined, and there's no article in Wikipedia? It just puts the cherry on the cake of a completely incomprehesible article. (talk) 00:11, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

Summary dismissal of


as nothing constructive/actual forthcoming since then and a cursory examination plus the above citizendium bit indicate same. (talk) 10:54, 25 December 2011 (UTC)

Data source of Ethnic based nations world map[edit]

The map in the top of the "Example" section does not have any propper source to where it comes from. I'm in desperete need for such data for an academic thesis, but can't seem to find it anywhere. This picture is taunting me, because it has the answers, but I can't use them, for I need a source, and I need details. Were is this pictures data from. Please help. Rphb (talk) 20:04, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

Some of the examples (e.g. Lebanon) clearly do not make sense[edit]

If a nation-state is a unified people governed as one polity, it makes no sense to say Lebanon (or any Arab country) is a "nation-state". Until all the Arab world is unified into one nation under one government, there is no Arab nation-state. The Lebanese example is particularly problematic for a number of reasons, the most obvious of which is that its territory was historically linked with Syria and often ruled from Damascus.

Cbmccarthy (talk) 15:21, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

This article would make more sense if the particular European-ness of the nation-state were explained[edit]

The formation of unified "peoples" into unified, all-inclusive nations governed as a single polity is a particularly European concept. For example, the lands governed by a king whose court was in Paris were slowly turned into "France" and everyone came to speak "French"...hence, the French "nation-state" was formed. It was not a foregone conclusion that this would happen, however, because as Eric Hobsbawm pointed out only about 12% of the population ruled actually spoke French when the process started. However, over time the kings in Paris were able to create linguistic homogeneaity over their lands, creating France. The same model was copied as an organizing principle for much of Europe, notwithstanding the fact that linguistic and ethnic civersity abounded, especially east of the Rhine and west of Moscow. This concept began with the Peace of Westphalia as a way to deal with overlapping sovereignty and identity. Over the course of the 19th into the 20th century, linguistic uniformity was made to conform with sovereignty, as Italy and Germany were unified and then states were "cleansed" of "foreign" peoples, especially after times of war. Thus most German speakers ended up living in a German state (notwithstanding the fact that some had lived for 1000 years in places from which they were expelled), and in the east, near-dead languages were revised and imposed on a land in order to justify the creation of a nation-state there. See the example of Lithuania, also Belerus.

The problem with this article is that it tries to use a nation-state concept to describe places outside of Europe, and fails. This is because in other part of the world, all the people speaking one language have almost never been lumped into one state (usually through violent wars and forced migrations and some degree of ethnic cleansing), they way it has occured in central and eastern Europe especially.

Cbmccarthy (talk) 15:21, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

"Volk" vs people[edit]

Under the section "History and origins" in the second to last paragraph there are repeated instances of "Volk". I cannot see why. Volk simply translates to people. There may be slight differences in the connotations, but for the purpose of the paragraph these are not relevant. Also, the nazis did not imbue the word with any special meaning. (They just loved to use it a lot.) In the paragraph before this the word Volk is linked with Volk in the english (instead of german) Wikipedia, and this link redirects to Folk, which is NOT the appropriate translation for Volk. Being bold, I will change the link to "People" and change the sentence to use "people", but with "Volk" in brackets behind the first occurence. -- (talk) 13:07, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

The Great Nations[edit]

This section contains a lengthy discussion of economics and politics that adds nothing to our understanding of the development of the nation state. This is followed by a listing of just four European states, one of which (Britain) was clearly an Empire, and a discussion of post-colonialism.

My view is that the entire section should be eliminated as irrelevant to the main topic.Fredricwilliams (talk) 02:48, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

I agree so it's  Done. (talk) 03:42, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

UK an 'Exceptional Case'?[edit]

"The United Kingdom is an exceptional example of a nation state, due to its "countries within a country" status." Well the UK is not so exceptional as they like to be - because The Kingdom of The Netherlands is exactly the same- consisting of the countries The Netherlands, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba. Either we remove the United Kingdom as exceptional case, or we add The Netherlands to the list of 'expectational' cases. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 23:10, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

Hopefully fixed by my edit. Dougweller (talk) 16:02, 10 January 2014 (UTC)

the uk is a multinational state, several different cultural 'nation' groups, not a single nation-state — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:57, 26 July 2014 (UTC)


On the map, it catches the eye immediately, but no explaination provided. It is a mixture of indigenous people and (hispanic) colonizers/settlers. How is that "different" in Latin America? Medico80 (talk) 00:51, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

Link to the role of the military / armed forces in the member nations to the United Nations?[edit]

I came here because I was looking for a place where to put the data on the salaries of the military in the RDCongo, yet I found no chapter on the Military in the article on the RDCongo. However, I was under the assumption that one of them was to be able to protect it's population and that this was mostly done by organising a military pillar in a country. I was looking for an article to support this latter assumption, to support creating an article on the military in the RDCongo portal, yet I keep jumping from one article to another without finding anything on the topic. Can anybody help drilling to an article? And support creating more interlinks. Thank you.--SvenAERTS (talk) 10:09, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

This outline gives a list of military articles. —PC-XT+ 21:03, 26 July 2014 (UTC)

The U.S. example[edit]

The article states that many historians agree that the nation-state is a European phenomenon; however, I'd argue that the first nation really developed in what would become the U.S., after the Sons of Liberty began boycotting and rioting due to higher taxes. The Declaration of Independence and the formal break with the British Empire, and ultimately the civil war lead to the U.S. being the first government created for the people by the people, and was, ultimately, a nation-state. This is a prominent historical argument and, I think, deserves its place in the article. I will offer citations and sources when I find them. KempsterDerwitch (talk) 20:00, 15 January 2015 (UTC)


The usage of NationStates is under discussion, see Talk:Jennifer Government: NationStates -- (talk) 03:55, 28 March 2015 (UTC)


Does anyone (other than serial incoherent editor Richardlord50) believe this junk? I daresay photogrammetry is good at uncovering historical borders but somehow it seems unlikely that it uncovers the effects of 15th century discoveries in mercantilism (can one even be said to make discoveries in mercantilism), etc. Pinkbeast (talk) 15:34, 6 October 2015 (UTC)

We have now been gifted with the insight that "A Nation-State is an entity comprised of a "nation" and a "state"."
Please can some other editor comment? Pinkbeast (talk) 14:57, 5 November 2015 (UTC)

United Kingdom 2[edit]

User:Meenmore, I have undone your addition by revert which has been contested by several editors. The added text is inadequately cited and duplicates the paragraphs above it which are better written and better referenced. Whizz40 (talk) 15:00, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

@Meenmore: I think the best thing is to get some uninvolved editors to take a look at your recent version, diff. I have no doubt your changes are made in good faith and are now more consistent with the Simplified ruleset. The question is whether your new version is an improvement over the previous version of the article which has been completely replaced. Your source for your first paragraph is not part of a judgement by the UK Supreme Court and so does not not hold the authority your reference description makes appear. Instead it is evidence submitted in the Article 50 'Brexit' appeal here by an Intervener, the The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain. This organisation and their submission to the court have a point of view on Scottish constitutional tradition which they are arguing to the court; for example they use the description "Union State" for the United Kingdom. This is fine, sources do not have to be neutral, but encyclopedia articles do have to be neutral. Your version is not because it presents a point of view as if it is the mainstream view. This is best explained at Wikipedia:Five pillars, quoted below. Your source for your second paragraph does not use the description "Union State" for the United Kingdom but your text does so this paragraph is synthesis. The third paragraph is unreferenced, makes the claim "Scotland and England are sometimes incorrectly referred to as regions of the United Kingdom" which is contradicted by reliable sources for example [5], and is not written in a an encyclopedic tone. Your fourth paragraph relies solely on a primary source and suffers from the aforementioned issues. The previous version does not suffer from any of these issues and addresses this topic quite well with inline references.

We strive for articles that document and explain major points of view, giving due weight with respect to their prominence in an impartial tone. We avoid advocacy and we characterize information and issues rather than debate them. In some areas there may be just one well-recognized point of view; in others, we describe multiple points of view, presenting each accurately and in context rather than as “the truth” or “the best view”. All articles must strive for verifiable accuracy, citing reliable, authoritative sources, especially when the topic is controversial or is on living persons. Editors' personal experiences, interpretations, or opinions do not belong.

Welcome views from other editors on this. Whizz40 (talk) 21:40, 24 February 2017 (UTC)

The United Kingdom when asked DID NOT describe itself as a collection of regions, it described itself as two countries: Scotland & England; one principality: Wales; and one province: Northern Ireland. How you can dismiss the content of a document issued by UK Governmental officials is beyond me. You appear to believe the United Kingdom does not have the right to describe the nature of its state via its elected officials. The source which can be reached online is rooted in the Permanent Committee on Geographical Names, a governmental and parliamentary committee of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. I removed the previous opening sentence because the source could not be reached. I think we should avoid removing online sources that can be reached to accommodate online sources that cannot.
It also appears you have a problem acknowledging the United Kingdom as an exceptional case, it is without a shadow of a doubt the most bizarre state to be considered a sovereign state when in legal reality it cannot protect itself from extinction in the legal way like most sovereign states. There is a rule in Scottish Constitutional Law and a counterpart rule in English Constitutional Law which ensures a proposed repeal of the Union legislations will be accommodated. The fact there was a referendum on Scottish independence in 2014 proves this to be legal reality.
Whizz, you cannot keep following me around dismissing my sources and reverting my contributions because you personally do not agree with them. Meenmore (talk) 22:43, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
That doesn't adequately address the policy issues raised. Unless the policy issues raised are addressed I cannot see why the previous version is not restored. Many editors have done a significant amount to be accommodating to you; and rightly so because you have raised some relevant points about where articles can be improved. Your contributions have led to improvements to articles; in some cases where I have come along afterwards and added the citations needed to back up what you are saying, where I can find them. But that is not the case here. You have used one very recent and specific source submitted to the Brexit appeal, one tangential source from the UK government, and one citation to a long primary source with no pages references to replace a well-written section on the UK which had previously not been subject to heavy editing. These are WP:BOLD edits. Articles can always be improved but in my experience, even when content seems grossly biased because a particular aspect or point of view appears missing, the changes required to incorporate it are much smaller than one first thinks on reading the article. A refinement or addition to the previous version of the section would likely be a constructive starting point for your improvements. Whizz40 (talk) 20:58, 26 February 2017 (UTC)

Whizz, you removed my contribution after a third party User:Anfedorov fixed up my grammar. It appears you do not have consensus to make the alterations you are making. Can you cease from any future edit wars on this page until consensus is reached. Meenmore (talk) 23:16, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

Reverting a contribution does not constitute edit warring - an edit war does not start until the change is made again without seeking consensus. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 09:50, 28 February 2017 (UTC)


I have protected this article for a week to try to avoid having to issue more edit warring blocks. When this protection expires, make no more changes without getting a clear consensus here first - I'd thought the discussion was progressing constructively, but it's clearly broken down again. Anyone who does make a change without getting a prior consensus will be blocked for edit warring, the length of which will be based on any previous blocks. Meenmore, *you* are the one wanting to make significant changes to this article, so that means *you* are the one who bears the biggest responsibility to get a consensus via discussion before you make any more changes - I have already blocked you once recently for edit warring, so please don't make me have to do it again. Whizz40, while reverting a change you disagree with is within the spirit of WP:BRD and the other editor must then get a consensus if they wish to repeat it, please do not make any edits of your own without getting a prior consensus through discussion here first (even if you are trying to incorporate the points made by Meenmore). The fighting over this article has gone on too long, and it stops now. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 23:27, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

I actually welcomed the grammar fix by User:Anfedorov, I thought it dramatically increased the standard of the United Kingdom section of the page. Please note Whizz did not only remove my contribution without reaching a consensus, Whizz also removed the contribution by User:Anfedorov. I removed the previous version of the United Kingdom section because NONE of the online sources in which the version was entirely rooted in could be reached. I replaced the previous version with an updated version rooted in recent online sources which can be reached. Boing! said Zebedee, I now understand why you previously denied the request from me to protect that section of the page, because if you did so, it would have prevented User:Anfedorov from making the most welcomed and greatly appreciated fix. However, I have to disagree with you on that it is I who needs to seek consensus. My association with that page is older and longer than that of Whizz. Meenmore (talk) 23:48, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
The need for consensus is unrelated to the length of your tenure at an article, and it is not true that one whose "association with that page is older and longer" does not need to seek consensus. Everyone is considered equal in a content dispute, whether they have been here for 10 years or for 10 minutes. The onus to seek consensus lies with the editor wanting to make the changes, and that is you.

What I suggest is you make a proposal here, saying something like "I wish to change 'xxxx' to 'yyyy'" and citing your sources, and seek a "Support/Oppose" consensus. If more people are needed to determine a consensus, a request can be made at an appropriate project for fresh eyes - if it reaches that stage I'll be happy to help with that part.

I must make one thing clear though, and that is that you must stop making false accusations against other editors and blaming them for the procedural errors you are making. Specifically, in your (rejected) request for mediation, you say "I then found Whizz40 had undid my contribution on the Nation state page, when I reverted my contribution back, he began an edit war". No. You made the change, another editor reverted it, and then you were supposed to start a discussion and seek consensus. When, instead, you reinstated the change, that was the start of the edit war - you started the edit war. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 09:45, 28 February 2017 (UTC)

Edit request[edit]

The Pakistan section was vandalized and has remained in that state for several months. I'd appreciate if the original section could be restored. Thanks, Mar4d (talk) 08:13, 22 March 2017 (UTC)

Done — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 08:30, 22 March 2017 (UTC)

Exceptional cases[edit]

What is the purpose of this section of the article? The states listed aren't exceptional in any way. I suggest we nuke it. ImTheIP (talk) 21:53, 23 August 2017 (UTC)