Which came first, nation or state? First of all, let’s find out the definition of two words. A nation is a population with the same custom, tradition and culture. A state, or country, which is a government structure, has defined borders and territory. In “The Theory of the State,” the author, a German political scientist, J. K. Bluntschli, said a nation has eight idiosyncrasies. The same language, the same belief, the same culture and custom are four items I agree with.
In history, due to neighboring tribes were united gradually by means of invasion, a much bigger nation took shape. In this process, people with the related culture and custom were gathered together. With improvements, people unified the language and assimilated habits and customs like a big family. In old times, most tribes were nomad. Then, because of more people coming into the group, it was hard for chief to carry dense population to move as usual so that they decided to live in a permanent place.
In order to protect their land and properties from other’s invasion, troop was formed against assault. Meanwhile, governors set up local administration and constituted law as to control people and protected their own benefits. That was the rudiment of a government. The symbol showing that a country is born is the appearance of troop, court, jail, government and law. Private property and class viewpoint also brewed an establishment of a state. Nation is the premise of a state being born. Jews, a great nationalities, suffered lots of catastrophes but never be destroyed.
They didn’t have large population. They lost their home and were dispersed in many other countries, because of chaos caused by war. However, Jews kept their traditions and the same belief, struggling with difficulties. Ultimately, Israel was built on 14th May, 1948. After hundreds of years of moving around, this nation finally settled down. Jews persuade us that it doesn’t matter if a state is fatal. The state can be rebuilt, so long as a nation still exists and always hold to their convictions.
Similar with Chinese history, Manchu took over authority from the Han nationality once. However, the ethnic culture of Han kept spreading in Manchu. As a result, Han nationality hands its innings once again. No nation, no state would be established. State is a tool to manage nation by governing class. A state is composed by nations. It can be one nation, also can be several nations. Anyhow, the comprehensive quality of a nation influences the development of the state. Nation is the soul of a state.