Nation #1 – What is a Nation?

Let’s Get Real! – Nation #1

What is a Nation?

Gary Hunt
June 7, 2009

 Though I usually shy away from Wikipedia as a source, I will, in this instance, begin with their definition: “A nation is a body of people who share a real or imagined common history, culture, language or ethnic origin, who typically inhabit a particular country or territory.”

 Next, we will quote Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th Edition, “A people, or aggregation of men, existing in the form of an organized jural society, usually inhabiting a distinct portion of the earth, speaking the same language, using the same customs, possessing historic continuity, and distinguished from other like groups by their racial origin and characteristics, and, generally, but not necessarily, living under the same government and sovereignty”. [Montoya v. U.S., 180 U.S. 261, 21 S.Ct. 358]

Therefore, it is probably safe to say that a Nation is a people with a common heritage and a common culture.

In the past, there were nation-states. Though they may have had nearby nation-states, which contained people with a common heritage and a common culture, only location tended to separate them, and each was its own distinct nation-state.

When Europeans first began settling the new world, there was, in the area known as New England, a group of native people who were known as the Five Nations (later, as the Six Nations). They became such after the Great Peace. Each nation had very similar cultures and heritages as the other nations, however, the distinctions were sufficient to separate them as nations. Each Nation, then, was composed of was various tribes and sub-tribes. Many of the Founders recognized the sophistication of the Six Nations, and, there is reason to believe that some of the concepts that were learned from the Indians were incorporated into the though process during the Constitutional Convention.

That Constitutional Convention was the beginning of what was to become a great nation. It had all of the elements of a nation, and it was that commonality which allowed the design of the form of government to evolve into the United States of America. It also recognized the part played by and obligation to preserve, intact, the Indian population. First, it provided that the Indians would not be taxed (Article I, Sec. 2, clause 3), then it gave Congress the power to regulate commerce with the various Indian tribes (Article I, Sec. 8, clause 3), and, finally, made treaties the supreme law of the land (Article III, Sec. 2).

So, in 1787, a new nation was created. It was based upon a common heritage and a common culture, with the exception of the Indians. They were, however, accounted for and given a place to exist within the new nation (subsequent violations of treaties notwithstanding).

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