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A nation is a stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, history, ethnicity, or psychological make-up manifested in a common culture.
- The introduction of the Christian religion into the world has produced an incalculable change in history. There had previously been only a history of nations — there is now a history of mankind; and the idea of an education of human nature as a whole, — an education the work of Jesus Christ Himself — is become like a compass for the historian, the key of history, and the hope of nations.
- Jean-Henri Merle d'Aubigné, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 141.
- Nations, like men, have their infancy.
- Henry Bolingbroke, Letters on Study and Use of History (1752).
- Happy are all free peoples, too strong to be dispossessed. But blessed are those among nations who dare to be strong for the rest!
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning, "A Court Lady", stanza 20, The Poetical Works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1974), p. 418.
- If we're an arrogant nation, they'll resent us. If we're a humble nation, but strong, they'll welcome us.
- George W. Bush, presidential debate (11 October 2000).
- The coming of a new life always excites our interest. Although we know in the case of the individual that it has been an infinite repetition reaching back beyond our vision, that only makes it the more wonderful. But how our interest and wonder increase when we behold the miracle of the birth of a new nation.
- Nations do not now stand in the same relation to each other that they did ages ago. No nation can now shut itself up from the surrounding world, and trot round in the same old path of its fathers without interference. The time was when such could be done. Long established customs of hurtful character could formerly fence themselves in, and do their evil work with social impunity. Knowledge was then confined and enjoyed by the privileged few, and the multitude walked on in mental darkness. But a change has now come over the affairs of mankind. Walled cities and empires have become unfashionable. The arm of commerce has borne away the gates of the strong city. Intelligence is penetrating the darkest corners of the globe. It makes its pathway over and under the sea, as well as on the earth. Wind, steam, and lightning are its chartered agents. Oceans no longer divide, but link nations together.
- The honor of a nation is an important thing. It is said in the Scriptures, “What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” It may be said, also, What doth it profit a nation if it gain the whole world, but lose its honor?
- When the architect intends a grand structure, he makes the foundation broad and strong. We should imitate this prudence in laying the foundations of the future republic. There is a law of harmony in all departments of nature. The oak is in the acorn. The career and destiny of individual men are enfolded in the elements of which they are composed. The same is true of a nation. It will be something or it will be nothing. It will be great, or it will be small, according to its own essential qualities. As these are rich and varied, or pure and simple, slender and feeble, broad and strong, so will be the life and destiny of the nation itself. The stream cannot rise higher than its source. The ship cannot sail faster than the wind. The flight of the arrow depends upon the strength and elasticity of the bow, and as with these, so with a nation.
- Frederick Douglass, Our Composite Nationality (7 December 1869), Boston, Massachusetts
- As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, And you will be the father of a multitude of nations. "No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham; For I will make you the father of a multitude of nations. "I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you.…
- Genesis 17:5.
- And I will shake all the nations, and the precious things of all the nations will come in; and I will fill this house with glory,’ says Jehovah of armies.
- Honesty, decency, faithfulness, and comradeship, ... must be shown when dealing with those of like blood but to no one else. What happens to a Russian, to a Czech, does not interest me in the slightest. . . . Whether nations live in prosperity or starve to death like cattle interests me only insofar as we need them as slaves for our culture. . . . Whether 10,000 Russian females collapse from exhaustion while digging an antitank ditch interests me only insofar as the antitank ditch for Germany is finished.
- Heinrich Himmler, cited in Awake! magazine 1987, 3/22, article: The World Since 1914, Part 2; 1929-1934 Worldwide Depression and On to War Again
- A nation is a society united by a delusion about its ancestry and by a common hatred of its neighbours.
- William Ralph Inge, The End of an Age: and other essays (1948), p. 127.
- Look! The nations are like a drop from a bucket,
And as the film of dust on the scales they are regarded.
Look! He lifts up the islands like fine dust.
- Nations will certainly go to your light, and kings to the brightness of your shining forth.
- The little one will become a thousand, and the small one a mighty nation. I myself, Jehovah, will speed it up in its own time.
- She gave birth to a son, a male, who is to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away to God and to his throne.
- Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
- "The Star-Spangled Banner", by Francis Scott Key.
- [T]hough affluence is a good thing, and the spirit of compassionate reform is a good thing, in the end a nation survives only to the extent that the spirit of self-discipline and self-sacrifice is strong and vital.
- The great nations have always acted like gangsters, and the small nations like prostitutes.
- Stanley Kubrick, The Guardian (1963)
- There are various ways to protect the nation, but nothing more is patriotic than giving one's life for the nation. This is the best patriotism.
- Myung-bak Lee, as quoted in "‘Northern Limit Line’ about more than past inter-Korean clash" (29 June 2015), by Ha-young Choi, NK News
- The law of nations knows of no distinction of color, and if an enemy of the United States should enslave and sell any captured persons of their army, it would be a case for the severest retaliation, if not redressed upon complaint.
- The Lieber Code of 1863, United States Department of War, 58
- Come all you true friends of the nation, attend to humanity's call!
- "Lincoln and Liberty" (1864)
- The nation is worth fighting for.
- Abraham Lincoln, speech to One Hundred Sixty-sixth Ohio Regiment (22 August 1864)
- Every nation, like every individual, has received a mission that it must fulfil.
- Joseph de Maistre, Considerations on France (1796), Ch. II
- Consider what Nation it is whereof ye are, and whereof ye are the governors: a Nation not slow and dull, but of quick, ingenious, and piercing spirit, acute to invent, suttle and sinewy to discours, not beneath the reach of any point the highest that humane capacity can soar to.
- John Milton, Aeropagitica (1644)
- If it is worth a bloody struggle to establish this nation, it is worth one to preserve it.
- Oliver P. Morton, speech (22 November 1860), as quoted in Indiana in the Civil War Era, 1850–1880: History of Indiana III (1995), by Emma Lou Thornbrough. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, p. 102
- No man has a right to fix the boundary of the march of a nation; no man has a right to say to his country - thus far shalt thou go and no further.
- Charles Stewart Parnell, speech (1885)
- What do we call a nation? – People who are of the same origin and who speak the same words and who live and make friends of each other, who have the same customs and songs and entertainment are what we call a nation, and the place where that people lives is called the people's country.
- Georgi Pulevski, Dictionary of Three languages: Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish (1875)
- The disappearance of whole nations would impoverish us no less than if all the people were to become identical, with the same character and the same face. Nations are the wealth of humanity, its generalized personalities. The least among them has its own special colors, and harbors within itself a special aspect of God's design.
- Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Nobel Lecture, 1972
- Humanity without Nationality is empty, nationality without humanity is blind.
- Werner Sombart, Vom Menschen (1938)
- This is the vanity of every principality—and notable for a nation—that the principality is sovereign in history; which is to say, that it presumes it is the power in relation to which the moral significance of everything and everyone else is determined.
- William Stringfellow, An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land (1973), p. 51
- No nation can plan its future without coming to terms with its past.
- Amir Taheri, "Opinion: Iran must confront its past to move forwards", Ashraq Al-Awsat (February 6, 2015).
- We shall have to learn again to be one nation, or one day we shall be no nation.
- You can construct a nation on an idea; but you cannot reconstruct a nation on the basis of one.
- Margaret Thatcher, speech at Hoover Institution lunch (8 March 1991)
- From a single crime know the nation.
- Virgil [Publius Vergilius Maro] (70-19 B.C.), Roman poet. Aeneid, Book. 2, line 65.
- A nation is created by families, a religion, traditions: it is made up out of the hearts of mothers, the wisdom of fathers, the joy and the exuberance of children.
- Wilhelm II, German Emperor, quoted in Ken Magazine (15 December 1938)
- No nation is fit to sit in judgement upon any other nation.
- Woodrow Wilson, speech (1915)
- In those days ten men out of all the languages of the nations will take hold, yes, they will take firm hold of the robe of a Jew, saying: “We want to go with you, for we have heard that God is with you people.
- Many of the countries that achieved formal sovereignty through decolonization in the post-World War II period emerged as extremely weak States. That is, they emerged with a level of institutional capacity-of "infrastructural power," in Michael Mann's useful conceptualization-well below the minimum level one usually associates with the notion of "sovereign State." Looking at the phenomenon from the perspective of the international system, Robert Jackson has suggested that decolonization brought with it an unprecedented disjunction between "negative" and "positive" sovereignty-that is, between sovereignty in the traditional sense and empirical Statehood, producing "quasi-States."
Whereas in the past, States gained sovereignty only if they mustered the internal capacity to withstand the challenges of other States at the international level, in the contemporary world the situation is partially reversed, in that some of the new States are able to maintain their sovereignty only with the support of the international system.
While decolonization has certainly resulted in the proliferation of "weak States," Jackson exaggerates the newness of the phenomenon; indeed he himself acknowledges that the "new sovereignty game" originated under the League of Nations, when the application of the principle of national self-determination produced a plethora of countries in the Balkans and northern Europe whose capacity for "empirical" Statehood was open to question. In any case, it is quite evident that the resumption of imperial disintegration within eastern Europe following the collapse of Communism is producing additional "quasi-States."
Weak States are prone to protracted internal conflicts, and due to the widespread availability of cheap, rapid-fire weapons, such conflicts are likely to involve high levels of violence.
- Aristide R. Zolberg, “Changing Sovereignty Games and International Migration Changing Sovereignty Games and International Migration”, Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, Volume 2, Issue 1, (Fall 1994), pp. 168-169
Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989)
- Not gold but only men can make
A people great and strong;
Men who for truth and honor's sake
Stand fast and suffer long.
Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly—
They build a nation's pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, "A Nation's Strength", stanzas 5 and 6. Masterpieces of Religious Verse, ed. James Dalton Morrison, p. 459 (1948). Granger's Index to Poetry, 6th ed., p. 898 (1973) says the author is unknown and that this is wrongly attributed to Emerson; the poem is not found in Emerson's Complete Works (1903).
- Cleanse the body of this nation
Through the glory of the Lord.
- Henry Scott Holland, "Judge Eternal, Throned in Splendor". Service Book and Hymnal of the Lutheran Church in America, music ed., no. 343 (1958).
- Complete equality of rights for all nations; the right of nations to self-determination; the unity of the workers of all nations—such is the national program that Marxism, the experience of the whole world, and the experience of Russia, teach the workers.
- Vladimir Lenin, "The Right of Nations to Self-Determination", reported in Vladimir Lenin; Doug Lorimer (2002). Marxism & Nationalism. Resistance Books, p. 125. ISBN 1876646136.
- Great nations write their autobiographies in three manuscripts, the book of their deeds, the book of their words and the book of their art. Not one of these books can be understood unless we read the two others, but of the three the only trustworthy one is the last.
- John Ruskin, St. Mark's Rest: The History of Venice, Preface p. 1 (1885).
- A nation that can not preserve itself ought to die, and it will die—die in the grasp of the evils it is too feeble to overthrow.
- Morris Sheppard, remarks in the Senate (December 18, 1914), Congressional Record, vol. 52, p. 338.
- What defines a people is not race, not tradition, not geography, but the free choice of a group of human beings to live together as fellow citizens.
- Thomas G. West, Vindicating the Founders (2001), Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., p. 28.
- Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage.
- Author unknown. Attributed to Benjamin Disraeli. Reported as unverified in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989).
- I know three things must always be
To keep a nation strong and free.
One is a hearthstone bright and dear,
With busy, happy loved ones near.
One is a ready heart and hand
To love, and serve, and keep the land.
is a worn and beaten way
where the people go to pray.
long as these are kept alive,
Nation and people will survive.
God keep them always, everywhere—
The home, the heart, the place of prayer.
- Author unknown, "Three Things", Sourcebook of Poetry (1968), comp. Al Bryant, p. 514. A variation of this poem appeared in the Congressional Record, January 14, 1959, vol. 105, Appendix, p. A144.