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Why Have States Emerged?

Uploaded by ar14 on Oct 29, 2001

The main reason for states emerging is because of the desire of peoples of the same or similar ethnic background for self-rule. A state is defined as, ‘A political organisation exercising complete authority over a defined territory, .’ Over the past 200 years there has been a considerable increase in the number of states in the world compared to any other time period in history. In 1700 there were 45 states, in 1945 there were about 65 states. Currently, there are around 200 states. Arguably, nationalism has played the biggest role in the emergence of countries as a result of revolutionary ideas originated from philosophers such as John Locke and John Stuart Mill. The French Revolution became a catalyst for transformation in the way distressed people perceived their governments; consequently, leading to revolutions throughout the world. As the 20th century unfolded, the role of the United Nations in support of self-determination led to the increasing number of countries, which is depicted through the process of decolonisation. Subsequently, new states in Africa have confronted many problems since achieving independence; many being due to colonisation. The lack of economic investment, education and continuous tribal warfare has hampered improvements in Africa.

Many historians argue that nationalism has contributed to be a major factor in the emergence of new states. Nationalism is defined as, ‘(The) sentiment of pride in belonging to a community whose members identify with a set of symbols, beliefs and ways of life (for example, common language, history, culture and religion) .’ Since the late 1700's, nationalism has become a significant force in international relations. Nationalistic feelings, particularly the desire of each country to govern itself, have helped to modify the map of Europe several times since the 1800's. Since the late 1940's, nationalism has also transformed the maps of Africa and Asia. One might wonder why nationalism only became a dominant force in the late 1700’s. The reason why is because improvements in communications extended the knowledge of people beyond their village or province. Likewise, the spread of education gave the people the feeling of participation in a common cultural heritage. Through education, people learned of their common background and tradition and immediately began to identify themselves with the historical continuity of the ethnic group . Nationalism in Europe was greatly increased with the influence of the French Revolution in 1789 when loyalty to the king was replaced by loyalty...

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Uploaded by:   ar14

Date:   10/29/2001

Category:   Politics

Length:   8 pages (1,698 words)

Views:   1549

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