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Nations and States

Overview

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Like an ideology, our nationality frequently determines how we behave and how we view politics. In the United States, many people think of themselves as “proud Americans.” They might display flags in their yards or on their cars, or they might wear flag lapel pins. They might display yellow ribbons as a sign of support for American troops around the globe. Particularly since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, many Americans have felt strongly patriotic.

For much of the last 500 years, the nation-state has been the dominant political unit. But nation-states did not always exist. Indeed, other political forms dominated the world for most of world history, and the nation-state is a relatively recent phenomenon. Today, the nation-state still predominates, even as the recent rise of globalization and devolution promises to fundamentally alter global politics.

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