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What reasons are there for a nation to want to become unified?

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A "nation" is an abstract concept and, as such, has no agency. A nation is distinct from the people and groups that comprise it. Some of these groups may desire to be unified and may seek to gain credibility and influence by speaking of their position as representing an entire nation.

Two different types of reasons would encourage such a call for unity. The first is nation formation. In Europe in the eighteenth through nineteenth centuries, calls for unification were based on understanding a common nationality as the basis for establishing a new country, where there had previously been smaller units such as kingdoms or principalities. Nation formation as freedom from a colonial ruler also invokes unity. When the United States declared independence from Britain, the idea of "one nation, indivisible" was a crucial element.

The other type of reason relates to nation-states that already exist. In those cases, the officials of the state, such as the president, are likely to call for unified...

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