What was the definition for "Nation" In the 1500's?
I cant find any answers and it would be great if you could help :)
"How do we define the word "Nation" today? was it similar to, or different than the word "Nation" was defined in the 1500's. Give reasons for you answer."
- SpellboundLv 71 decade agoFavorite Answer
The concept of a state composed of people who share a common language, ethnicity and culture did not really exist in the 1500s. That's not to say that they did not exist, rather that the idea of "belonging" to a political entity was based more on localism - to your lord or king, rather to your fellow countrymen.
For example, Shakespeare, in Richard II and in Henry V uses very powerful language that appears very patriotic, and certainly patriotism was a powerful force. But both Richard II and Henry V ruled areas that are now French, and people in these areas would have not felt English, rather they would have felt loyalty to their region - Anjou, Gascony or Normandy, and, more specifically, to their lords.
The state was embodied, not by the people but by the monarch - Louis XIV said "L'etat, c'est moi", "I am the State".
In modern times the concept of nation is still a difficult idea to grasp, there are exceptions to every model proposed. For example, if common ethnicity is the model for ethnicity, then Belgium, Switzerland and the UK are not nations. If it is a common language, again, Belgium, Spain and Switzerland are not nations. If it is a shared sense of history, then Britain (as an amalgam of 4 countries) is not a nation. If it is a shared culture and / or religion, then Spain, Switzerland and Belgium are not nations.
I think that the French philosopher Ernest Renan sums up the concept of nationhood most succinctly in his 1882 work Qu'est-ce qu'une nation? ("What is a Nation?"),
"A Nation is a soul, a spiritual principle." and
"A nation is therefore a large-scale solidarity, constituted by the feeling of the sacrifices that one has made in the past and of those that one is prepared to make in the future"