What is the importance of a nation? Use political theory or historical examples.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the importance of a nation as a functioning and cohesive unit can be seen in the case of post- Revolution America.  After gaining independence from England, America adopted the Articles of Confederation as its governing constitution.  This document pretty much defined the nation as a "loose confederation of states. " States were able to act in opposition to one another and there was nothing in terms of acting in concert or convergence towards a national identity present.  Part of this was a result of the fears of the framers in repeating the same conditions of tyranny as existed with King George and England.  Yet, while the states had freedom, they lacked a national identity or the need to seek national consensus.  This could be seen in the federal government's inability to raise taxes and generate revenue, sorely needed to pay off a debt from the American Revolution.  At the same time, the lack of a national focus made the new confederation susceptible to threats from other nations.  Finally, when Shays' Rebellion grew in force and magnitude, there was not a coordinated and concerned national response to such an uprising.

I think that this is where one sees the importance of a nation.  The need for individual states to act with a singular purpose, while being able to express their own individuality contributes to a stronger vision.  This is where tranquility can emerge and prosperous foundation can be present.  When there is a lack of this national focus, greater risks to these elements are present.

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