What Is National Unity

What is the definition of national unity?

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Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

We usually think of national unity as a political construct that reflects the collective spirit and will of a group of people who agree to be part of particular geographical area as a unit, for the purpose of governance and action on behalf of all. But sometimes the governance does not reflect the spirit and will of the people.  Hence we have democracies and dictatorships, and in each, we have governance on behalf of the nation, acting with national unity only insofar as other nations are concerned, but with little or no internal national unity at all.  This is being played out in Ukraine right now, a nation with an elected government that acts on behalf of the entire nation, with what appears to be a substantial minority that has no spirit or will to be part of the nation.  Once internal national unity is lost, instability results, sometimes leading to more dictatorial government, sometimes leading to civil war, and sometimes leading to complete gridlock, as this lack of internal national unity is manifested in the United States.  We tend to think that a common enemy or problem is a means of promoting or restoring national unity, but if we look more carefully, it is apparent that even this is not necessarily a means of doing so.  Historically, there were many people in the United States who did not want to become involved in World War II, a much greater national disunity than many people today realize.  And a current example is the United States' lack of internal national unity even in the face of terrorism and thorny economic problems.  Insofar as other nations are concerned, certainly, we are acting with national unity, but this does not reflect the reality of our lack of national unity internally.  In essence, there is an internal national unity and an external national unity. 

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This question will generate many opinions, as there is no one right answer. In other words, national unity will mean different things to different people. 

If we look at history, one thing that we can say for certain is that there will always be differences of opinions and beliefs. There was never a time when people agreed perfectly. In light of this, national unity is impossible, if we define it as the agreement of all citizens. In light of this, it would be better to state that national unity is the agreement of the people of a country to agree to disagree. 

If we use America as a test case, then there were times when America had national unity. For example, during World War II, American for the most part was behind the war efforts. Those who disagreed, such as pacifists, did not hinder the efforts, and those who supported the war allowed for differences of opinion.

Another way to view national unity is when most of the citizen of a country agree on a certain course of action.

In the end, as was stated in the beginning, there will be differences of opinion. 

chickflik999 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

National unity is a type of coalition government, which means that parliamentary parties or cabinets are working together in order to achieve an outcome. This type of government is usually formed during times of difficulty, such as during wars or when there are economic problems. A national unity government means that all or most of the parties in the government are working together. This is done in times of difficulty to demonstrate political legitimacy, which means that decisions made by the government have to be approved by a number of people with different backgrounds.