The modern democratic nation-state

Helen Thompson

in Might, Right, Prosperity and Consent

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print May 2008 | ISBN: 9780719077500
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701607 | DOI:
The modern democratic nation-state

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This chapter reports the development of representative democracy, and also explores the problem of the authority of the state in representative democracies. The modern state became a relationship of rule by human beings over human beings in an explicitly demarcated territory resting on the sovereign application of law, and, in the final instance, on a successful claim to a monopoly of legitimate violence. Effective nationhood created a reason for citizens to pay more taxes to the state, and to fight and die in its wars. Reason of state for the external world of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries became dominated by international politics. Competitive imperialism reduced the security of all European states. The modern democratic nation-state in Europe had proved just as vulnerable to internal instability and external collapse via international politics as ancient democracy and the Renaissance republic.

Keywords: representative democracy; authority; modern state; nationhood; international politics; competitive imperialism; European states; democratic nation-state

Chapter.  10443 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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