L'état et la nation

  • Stanislaw Ehrlich


In its formative period the state welds together groups of kindred language, religion and customs. A nation bereft of a state structure has a small prospect of survival, since it is weaker than nations which possess their own apparatus of force. The former is constantly endangered and is often helpless before the latter. The struggle for statehood is hence the most conscious expression of the effort to maintain national distinctness. Moreover, a nation deprived of statehood enjoys small prestige among its own group members, nor can it create an image which arouses the respect of other nations.
A striking phenomenon in the investigation of the state and the nation is the parallelism in the condition of their origin.
The nation thus arises as a result of an extended processes of integration ; white the consolidating nature of national awareness makes it analogue of the state organization as a universa[ organization.
It is possible to distinguish three types of nation-building processes :
a) within the framework of native state organization which arises directly as a result of an external threat,
b) within the bouddaries of farmer colonies which are accepted as the national state borders,
c) the shaping of national entities of the foundation of federated forms of the state.
An analysis of the different variants of historica[ experience suggests certain general propositions :
1. The emergence of the state, or at least of a state organism, as a rule precedes the formation of the nation ;
2. because of its general all-embracing character the state organization is the decisive factor of the nation-building process.
The author deals also with the problem of the federal state and the national question. The different types of federations influence the national problem in different ways.

How to Cite:

Ehrlich, S., (1973) “L'état et la nation”, Res Publica 15(1), 93-102. doi:

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Published on
30 Mar 1973
Peer Reviewed