A nation may refer to a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, or history. In this definition, a nation has no physical borders. However, it can also refer to people who share a common territory and government (for example the inhabitants of a sovereign state) irrespective of their ethnic make-up. The word nation can more specifically refer to people of North American Indians, such as the Cherokee Nation that prefer this term over the contested term tribe.
According to Joseph Stalin writing in 1913 in Marxism and the National Question: "a nation is not a racial or tribal, but a historically constituted community of people;" "a nation is not a casual or ephemeral conglomeration, but a stable community of people"; "a common language is one of the characteristic features of a nation"; "a nation is formed only as a result of lengthy and systematic intercourse, as a result of people living together generation after generation"; "a common territory is one of the characteristic features of a nation"; "a common economic life, economic cohesion, is one of the characteristic features of a nation"; "a common psychological make-up, which manifests itself in a common culture, is one of the characteristic features of a nation"; "A nation is a historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture." According to Stalin, this would exclude Jews as they have no common territory.
An alternative view, expressed by Otto Bauer, author of Social Democracy and the Nationalities Question (1907), that "A nation is an aggregate of people bound into a community of character by a common destiny." would include Jews. R. Springer, author of The National Problem (1909), also cited by Stalin in his discussion of this matter, held similar views.
Famous quotes containing the word nation:
“Poor America, of what avail is all her wealth, if the individuals comprising the nation are wretchedly poor? If they live in squalor, in filth, in crime, with hope and joy gone, a homeless, soilless army of human prey.”
—Emma Goldman (18691940)
“Raise a million filters and the rain will not be clean, until the longing for it be refined in deep confession. And still we hear, If only this nation had a soul, or, Let us change the way we trade, or, Let us be proud of our region.”
—Leonard Cohen (b. 1934)
“I despair of the Republic! Such dreariness, such whining sallow women, such utter absence of the amenities, such crass food, crass manners, crass landscape!!... What a horror it is for a whole nation to be developing without the sense of beauty, & eating bananas for breakfast.”
—Edith Wharton (18621937)