Will You Become Your Own Nation?

Scots, Croats, Chechens--everybody seems to want a country of his own. In the future, our loyalties may be determined by what we believe rather than where we live

The nation-state is a rare and recent phenomenon in human affairs. Nation-states emerged in the West with the invention of the printing press and the proliferation of publications in vernacular languages in the 16th and 17th centuries. Slowly people in Western Europe acquired the rudiments of national identity, defined at first largely in religious terms.

In the 19th century, national consciousness spread throughout European societies. In the 20th century, Third World students of Western nationalism returned home to lead national-liberation movements. Meanwhile, the concept of the nation--an ethnic or cultural community--had become linked to that of the state--a purely political organization....

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