Nation State

A "nation" is a group of people who identify themselves as such, while a "state" refers to a geographical area with clear boundaries and political integrity, such as borders, laws, and government. Therefore, a "nation-state" can be defined as a nation of people who govern themselves within their own sovereign territory. The core principle is self-rule, so the nation-state emerges from national self-determination, with the two concepts closely intertwined. The nation-state's primary strength lies in its ability to provide both cultural unity and political cohesion. When a people with a shared cultural or ethnic identity secure the right to self-governance, nationality and citizenship align. Additionally, nationalism validates the government's authority. In a nation-state, political sovereignty rests with the people or the nation itself. As a result, nationalism embodies the concept of popular self-rule, advocating that governance is conducted by the people or for the people, reflecting their national interests. Nationalists assert that the forces behind the establishment of independent nation-states are inherent and unstoppable.

State nationalism is the belief that the state holds the highest loyalty of its citizens. In its most extreme forms, it embodies the ideology expressed by Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini of 'everything within the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.' Different forms and manifestations of nationalism exist beyond this.

 In today's world - particularly in Europe - the nation-state is the usual organisation of a country. France is ruled by the French in their own geographical territory, Denmark is ruled by the Danes in their own geographical territory.

However, this has not always been the case. As recently as the 1970s, the nation of Germany was divided into two states, and Yugoslavia - which has now disintegrated, with its component states becoming nations in their own right - was one country

It has been the aim of mainly liberal nationalists to create a world of nation-states and the right of self determination has dominated international law during the 20th Century.

The nation-state's primary strength lies in providing cultural unity and political coherence. Woodrow Wilson viewed self-determination as a key principle in international relations that could potentially reduce conflicts post-1918. When a group with a shared cultural or ethnic background is granted self-governance, nationality aligns with citizenship, thus legitimizing governmental authority through nationalism. In a nation-state, political sovereignty rests with the people or the nation itself, endorsing the concept of popular self-rule and governance in line with the 'national interest.' Nationalists believe that the establishment of independent nation-states is a natural and inevitable progression, as they consider no other social group capable of forming a meaningful political community. Liberals argue that electoral processes and fair representation foster a stronger national identity, leading to a more peaceful society. Elections are often viewed as a means to resolve internal conflicts, establish new states, and any challenge to their legitimacy is perceived as a threat to the state's existence.