The Idea of a Nation
The modern idea of a nation, which developed from nineteenth century liberalism, made independent statehood a desirable and essential, concomitant of nationhood.
- The state was an expression of the collective will of a nation.
- The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of Citizens of 1789 was considered as the principal behind every nation-state.
- Gellner, and other writers such as E.J. Hobsbawm, have commonly accepted the nation as a modern concept, which was the result of the sweeping away of feudal society by nationalist ideas spread by the French Revolution.
- The privileges of the aristocracy gave way to "equality, liberty, and fraternity",
- The ancient obligations to an aristocratic hierarchy gave way to a loyalty to the "fatherland", or nation-state.
According to Louis Snyder the word "nation began to be used as opposed to `people' because "it indicated the conscious and active portion of the population, whereas people denoted the politically and socially more passive masses". He said that "the existence of a nation implies a common political sentiment".