Nation state

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The nation state is a state that self-identifies as deriving its political legitimacy from serving as a sovereign entity for a country as a sovereign territorial unit.[1] 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.

The notion is sometimes contrasted with citizen state.[2][3][4]


History and origins

The origins and early history of nation-states are disputed. A major theoretical issue is: "Which came first — the nation or the nation state?" For nationalists themselves, the answer is that the nation existed first, nationalist movements arose to present its legitimate demand for sovereignty, and the nation-state met that demand. Some "modernisation theories" of nationalism see the national identity largely as a product of government policy, to unify and modernise an already existing state. Most theories see the nation state as a 19th-century European phenomenon, facilitated by developments such as mass literacy and the early mass media. However, historians also note the early emergence of a relatively unified state, and a sense of common identity, in Portugal and the Dutch Republic.

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