“A Computer Model of National Behavior,” by Dan tdaxp, University of South Dakota, 20 November 2004, Chapter I.
“New York Times Supports McCarthyite Witch Hunt,” by Jim, Eternal Vigilance, 10 April 2005, http://btpholdings.blogspot.com/2005/04/new-york-times-supports-mccarthyite.html.
“Academic Politics,” by David Wallace-Wells, Slate, 11 April 2005, http://www.slate.com/id/2116590/.
Wallace-Wells joins the criticism of Juan Cole, but gets it wrong
Cole’s statement that “nations actually did not exist in the modern sense before the late 1700s … there are no eternal nations through history,” draws the ire of [tdaxp]. “[Nations] did not somehow magically appear—they have existed for centuries,” he writes. “Perhaps Cole means that nationalism did not exist before the late 1700s—but that’s entirely different.” Eternal Vigilance seconds Abbot: “We would like to know what history they have been reading that says the modern nation-state did not exist prior to the late 1700s.”
Well, he gets my name wrong, but to expand the EV quote…
We would like to know what history they have been reading that says the modern nation-state did not exist prior to the late 1700s. Perhaps Cole means that feudalism ruled the day. But we have evidence that feudalism was over in England with the War of the Roses (1455-87) which brought about the destruction of the English nobility. They never recovered as a class after that time. The Tudors were the final victors late in that civil war after the Lancasters and Yorks had been diminished.
And with the advent of Martin Luther’s Reformation and An Open Letter to The Christian Nobility of the German Nation Concerning the Reform of the Christian Estate (1520) and the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope (1537), feudalism was on the way out in continental Europe.
Note in the above that Luther refers to the German Nation. And clearly, with the rejection of the Pope as being supreme, the peoples of Europe were taking control of their own destinies by breaking with Rome.
The Nation-State did not exist before the late 1700s, or 1600s at the earliest.
France was the first Nation-State. There were no nation-states before the dawn of the Modern Age. While sometimes the borders of nations and states did not, this was not a driving force of organization or loyalty. A farmer’s land was important, a man’s lord was important, even how a man worshipped — but language and culture were not worth dying for.
Or taxing for. That Luther mentioned “the German nation” does not mean he believed that the German nation needed a central government.
In my last post I quoted my definition of nation:
A nation is collection of people that share a language, culture, and ethnicity. “French,” “German,” and “Occidental” are nations in western Europe.
Well, my definition of state is
Finally, a state is political subdivision usually possessing sovereignty. The geographical borders of states can closely coincide with places and nations. States can sometimes be subdivisions of other states. Lower Saxony, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the European Union are all examples of states.
So, a nation state is a political subdivision usually with sovereigny that is mostly comprised of people sharing a language, culture, and ethnicity.
This was nearly impossible before the modern era. The closest that we see in the past were the ancient City-States. Before modern communication languages could change noticeably every twenty miles or so. .
Cole is wrong, nations did exist before the modern era. And Jim of Eternal Vigilance is wrong, nation-states did not.