Emergence Of Nation States Essay, Research Paper
The emergence of the State system
The evolution of the state system has marked various significant events in the history of mankind. These episodes and years of war and battle for supremacy, freedom, religion and pride have caused many lives to be lost for the price of having realized the genuine type of a state. Nation and state are two concepts that are very confusing and sometimes both concepts are mistakenly perceived as having the same meaning. It is therefore necessary to provide a good definition on state and nation in order to draw a line or a distinction on both terms. “The term nation is an ethnic one, based upon culture, common heritage, language, and sense of identity. A state is a body of people politically organized under one government with sovereign rights. Sovereignty refers to the exclusive jurisdiction that a state possesses within its territory and to its freedom to act in international affairs without subjection to the legal control of another state organization. From a number of perspectives, a state may encompass, or less, than one nation; a nation may not posses statehood, but nations taken together make up the basic units and base of power in the international system in which we live in.” Base on our definition of state and nation, they can only be approximate and closely related, but not identical.
Now, another important terms that must be settled and defined are the concepts of nation state and city state. “A Nation state is an independent political unit based upon an ethnical unit or nation, which we think of as a group of people having the same background and usually a common language and culture.” A city state on the other hand is a state comprising a city such as Singapore and the Vatican. It is a city having the qualities and characteristics of a state, territorial, sovereign, and etc. historically, Greeks were the once to adopt this trend of forming city states. Each city state having their own form of government, independence, military strategy, and people. For example, Stern described Athens as being democratic, wealthy, and expansionist. While stern referred Sparta as authoritarian militarized and interested in preserving the status quo. This has been the trend that made Greece to be politically developed country at that time. The Greek states have also its interdependence especially on military alliance. As time goes on, both states have suffer from insecurity that one state might conquer, rule, and dominate the other state that had caused the Peloponnesian War. Sparta and Athens had fought for years on a battle for supremacy, security, and power. The ancient Greece showed and manifested that even though they are two independent countries they still both exercise interdependence but because of the insufficient system Greece city states collapsed.
The second ancient country to have developed a political state system is the Roman Empire. When Rome came into power at the eight century and third centuries BC, it had began to expand its territories by conquering nearby lands. Rome being the largest empire at that time had managed to keep all its territory intact and strong. Rome followed the same pattern of those Greeks’ city states but with a different approach and strategy. Rome had realized that due to the diverse culture and language people comprising the empire, Rome had established the city state format. However, it was not the same with the Greek city states, because this time it is not totally independent. The Roman city states have central government, the emperor being the head and the commander in chief of the empire. Governors were appointed by the senate of the Roman empire in order to governed each city states. The term “citizenship” has been introduced in this era that played a major role in strengthening the bond among city states composing the empire. Citizenship acted as the binding force of all people occupying the entire Roman empire territories.
In this case, insecurities among the city state have not been a problem because of the presence of the emperor and the central government. The Roman empire have been very much consistent for a long period of time that there was a point in time that no one had thought that it would come to an end. The problem of Rome was too much concentration of power in the central government. This had unveil a new political term called the-state centric model. As a result of death of Constantine and the state centric model, the great Roman empire was separated into two, the Latin western and the Greek eastern empires. Even worst on this occurrence was the growing misunderstandings between the pope and the emperor on the issue of who has the sole authority to govern both the religious and secular aspects of the Roman empire. These two main events in the history of Rome open up a new era that had further aggravated the problem on the Roman empire. These are the periods of reformation and renaissance.
The era of the medieval Europe marked two significant events and these are the reformation and the renaissance. “The religious reformation divides broadly into two parts. The first. Associated with the German Martin Luther who proclaimed his doctrines in 1517 favored moderate reform of the Church. The Lutherans accepted a breach with the unredeemable papacy; but they relied on Protestant bishops and on kings and other lay rulers to maintain order and authority both in religious and in lay affairs, and to defend the reforms areas from Catholic attempts to bring them back to the fold by force. The second part of the Reformation, associated with the Frenchman Calvin who began effective career at Geneva 1536, was more radical. It rejected not only the papacy and the doctrines but also the hierarchical structure and tradition of the universal church, preferring each congregation should choose its own ministers.” This event which also marks the dark ages of the Church had caused thousands of people to die during crusades in order to retain the greatness of the Christian religion.
This in effect had caused so much trouble and religious crisis on the entire European states particularly in Spain, Germany, Portugal, and in Rome. This is an occasion that made all other states realize and know that religious and secular matters must not be viewed as one. The events of the reformation are not only with religious significance but also a very important event to the discussion of the state system because it criticizes the decision of Christian states to give the pope and other Church hierarchies political powers that had caused death and political crisis in the European states.
Another event that made a huge impact in the state system evolution is the period called the Renaissance. “For this marked the culmination of a period in which ideas and inventions were diffused which were significantly to alter both social structures and material conditions.” This was an era that had focused on the qualities and capabilities of man. This era became a man centered era. This had caused a major shift in the ideological system of that era, from focusing on GOD; a different perspective emerged from this period. This is probably among the best era that manifests the development of the state system. Renaissance marked the shift and transformation of religious to secular view man, thus coming up new concepts about arts, Sciences, and Philosophies. This event somehow drove attention for some states from the on going holy war or Crusades on most parts in Europe. This event caused the awareness of most states on the concepts of sovereignty and territoriality that caused so many battles in Europe.
After this era, the Peace of Westphalia has been formulated. This peace consists of two treaties, ” brought an end to the Thirty years War of religion that had ravished the European society and had demolished the remnants of the medieval political organization.” “Then the second major part is the political ideas that it had formulated. The Westphalia agreement put to an end of the view of the world as an organized system based on the hierarchical Christian Commonwealth governed by the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor.” Not only this, the Peace also viewed the international system as a society of legally equal states, defined territories, and not subject to higher authority. The idea of the state is opposed on the idea of an empire. However, the Peace of Westphalia did not result to an spectacular and quick major change of Europe from the emperial form to modern state system.
The Treaty of Westphalia can be appraised and evaluated by two major contexts. First is the context of the period after the treaty, consisting of the collapse of Roman Empire, World War I and II to the present trend of Globalization. The treaty was not successful because of the Super Power states in Europe have continued to exercise the emperial idea and trend among other states. The rise of Napoleon I of France had caused disrespect to the weaknesses of other states. Outside also of Europe had twenty-one new states fighting into the “New World”, the united states being granted independence in 1776. The force that brought an end to feudal systems has been the key on the creation of the so called nation state. Among the pioneering countries to adopt nation states title were England, France, Spain, Sweden, Portugal, Poland, and Russia.
The assassination of the Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914 proved to be the spark that ignited World War I (1914-18). After the World War I, Austria-Hungary was destroyed and disintegrated that led to the emergence of new states. Then in case of the second world war, Germany had also exercise dominion on its nearby countries and a new emperial power is growing in the Asian region, Japan. Other important wars were the Opium war in China that marked so many historical significance. This only shows that the transformation of an emperial trend to nation states were unsuccessful.
Looking now in the present setting, it is evident that sovereignty and territoriality is in existence among all independent countries. However, even the term and definition id put into question due to the trend of globalization. The world is becoming small because of this trend that widely accompanied by technology. United Nations are composing treaties that would mean equality among all nations, promoting peace among nations. The Westpahlian ideals of sovereignty are still there however there are more new ways on how to explain sovereignty in the 21st century. The Westphalian ideals hold necessary for the country however some of its political concepts lack a coherent explanation and definitions. The world is becoming more complex; thus it is necessary to study current trend and not just to see political concepts as it is. Political concepts must therefore explore new ways in applying them and seeing the things that are not realized and explained in the concept. Sovereignty is a very broad and complex in meaning especially nowadays, therefore it must be well studied and analyzed. The Westphalian peace formulations on political concepts remain vital however in some ways becoming obsolete due to insufficient definitions. The world at present is complex, therefore its complexity must be attain by introducing new political concepts, theories, paradigms, and many more.
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