Nation: large body of people, associated with a particular territory, that is sufficiently conscious of its unity to seek or to posses a gov’t peculiarly its own

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Ethnicity Key Issue 2
Nation: large body of people, associated with a particular territory, that is sufficiently conscious of its unity to seek or to posses a gov’t peculiarly its own.
Group has same ethnic family, lang, traditions, customs, and religion
United by common descent, history, culture, that is tied to a particular territory or country.
Nation-State: a sovereign state whose citizens or subjects are relatively homogeneous in factors such as language and common descent.
State: A nation or territory considered as an organized political community under one gov’t.
Occupying a define territory, distinct borders, has a sovereign gov’t that has control over internal and foreign affairs.

Why Have Ethnicities Been Transformed into Nationalities

  1. Ethnicity is distinct from race and nationality

  1. Nationality is identity with a group of people who share legal attachment and personal allegiance to a particular country.

  1. Nation or nationality is a group tied together to a particular place through legal status and cultural tradition.

  1. Nationality and ethnicity are similar concepts in that membership is defined through shared cultural values.

  1. In principle, the cultural values shared with others of the same ethnicity derive from religion, language, and material cultural, whereas those shared with others of the same nationality derive from voting, obtaining a passport, and performing civic duties.

  1. In the USA, nationality is generally kept reasonably distinct from ethnicity and race.

  1. The American nationality identifies citizens of the USA

  1. Ethnicity identifies groups with distinct ancestry and cultural traditions, such as Chinese-Americans, Polish-Americans

  1. Race distinguishes blacks, and other persons of color from whites.

Rise of Nationalities

  1. Descendants of 19th century immigrants to the U.S. from central and Eastern Europe identify them today by ethnicity rather than by nationality.

  1. When most Czechs, Germans, and Poles, migrated to the U.S. there were no countries called Czech Republic, Germany, and Poland.

  1. These ethnicities lived under the Austrian emperor, Russian czar, or Prussian Kaiser.

  1. U.S. data concerning the origin of immigrants is organized by nationality. Immigrants considered ethnicity more important than nationality, and that is why they have preserved through distinctive social customs.


  1. Ethnic groups have been transformed into nationalities because of a desire to self-rule.

  1. To preserve and enhance distinctive cultural characteristics, ethnicities seek to govern themselves without interference.

  1. The concept that ethnicities have the right to govern themselves is known as self-determination.

  1. Nation-state: a state whose territory corresponds to that occupied by a particular ethnicity that has been transformed into a nationality.

Nation-States in Europe

  1. Ethnicities were transformed into nationalities throughout Europe during the 19th century.

  1. The French nationality fused together French ethnic cultural traditions including the French language and Roman Catholic religion, with a belief in the values of the French Revolution in 1789

  1. When kings ruled France, the French people went to war out of loyalty to the king.

  1. Under Napoleon, the French people went to war for the principles of the nation of France.

  1. By 1900 – most of Western Europe was made up of nation-states – they disagreed over their boundaries and competed to control territory in Africa and Asia.

  1. Eastern Europe included a mixture of empires and states that did not match the distributions of ethnicities.

  1. Following WW1 – the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires were dismantled, and many European boundaries were redrawn according to the principle of nation-states.

  1. During the 1930s, German National Socialists (Nazis) claimed that all German-speaking parts of Europe constituted one nationality and should be unified into one state.

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