How in Hades is Mississippi a Nation State?

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Pat Young

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Some claim that the United States was nothing more than a confederation of nation states created for apparently temporary purposes and unilaterally severable. Eleven of these nation states supposedly got together to create a new confederation, called The Confederacy in 1860 and 1861.

Exactly how can someplace like Mississippi be defined as a nation state?

The Constitution does not use the term nation state, so either that term is meaningless under Constitutional law or it is somehow magically incorporated into it by some leprechaunal magic.

The nation state was only a developing concept in the 18th Century. The French state was trying, against the will of many of the King's subjects to create a nation out of what had merely been a set of contiguous gymnastically controlled territories. The United Kingdom explicitly was not a nation state, merely a unification of four crowns.

Much of the definitional work connected with the concept of nation state occurred after the Constitution was ratified. Nationalist movements in the German lands and Italy sought to unify a constructed "people" within one country under one national government. Older empires like the Austro Hungarian and Ottoman successfully resisted the advent of the nation state until the 20th Century. I won't try to detail the history of the rise of the nation state, but I do insist that if we are going to argue about whether the United States was a confederation of nation states, that we at least define the term nation state.
Edited.
 

Pat Young

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So, let us first look at the question of what a nation state is. Here is what UNESCO says about the subject:

The nation-state "is one where the great majority are conscious of a common identity and share the same culture" 1.

The nation-state is an area where the cultural boundaries match up with the political boundaries. The ideal of 'nation-state' is that the state incorporates people of a single ethnic stock and cultural traditions2. However, most contemporary states are polyethnic. Thus, it can be argued that the nation-state "[...] would exist if nearly all the members of a single nation were organised in a single state, without any other national communities being present. Although the term is widely used, no such entities exist" 3.

The nation as we think of it today is a product of the nineteenth century. In modern times nation is recognised as 'the' political community that ensures the legitimacy of the state over its territory, and transforms the state into the state of all its citizens. The notion of 'nation-state' emphasises this new alliance between nation and state. Nationality is supposed to bind the citizen to the state, a bond that will be increasingly tied to the advantages of a social policy in as much as the Welfare State will develop4.

After the First World War the principle of 'the right to national self-determination' were commonly used by international lawyers, national governments and their challengers. The demand that people should govern themselves became identified with the demand that nations should determine their own destiny. By this followed that 'state' and 'nation' came to signify the same and began to be used interchangeably. 'National' came to mean anything run or regulated by the state, as in 'national health insurance' or 'national debt'5. Today, the idea is that nations should be represented within a territorially defined state.

Nevertheless, the idea of the nation-state is more problematical as the state can no longer be seen as the primary focus of national culture6. The 'crisis of the nation-state' refers to the separation of the state from the nation. Social identities, and in particular national culture, can reassert themselves in a variety of ways due to a gradual freeing of the state from some of its traditional functions7. In Western Europe the crisis of national identity is related to the rise of a new nationalism that operates at many different levels, ranging from extreme xenophobic forms to the more moderate forms of cultural nationalism. Underlying this new nationalism is more a hostility against immigrants than against other nations; it is motivated less by notions of cultural superiority than by the implications multiculturalism has for the welfare state. Accordingly, one important challenge facing the democratic multi-cultural state is to find ways of preserving the link between social citizenship and multiculturalism. Without a firm basis in social citizenship, multiculturalism can undergo continued attacks from nationalism, often as a result of social insecurity.
 

Pat Young

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Wikipedia has a definition of nation state similar to what I learned way back in the 1960s:

A nation-state (hyphenated or not) in the most specific sense is a country where a distinct cultural or ethnic group(a "nation" or "people") inhabits a territory and have formed a state (often a sovereign state) that they predominantly govern. It is a more precise term than "country," but of the same general meaning, being that it is an ethnic nation with its own land (thus "homeland") and government.
 
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Pat Young

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The nation state typically has certain characteristic that all the people within the state to claim cultural distinctiveness from those in surrounding territories.

Very often, one determinant is that those in the particular nation state share a common race or ethnicity distinct from those in surrounding territories.

They often share a common history dating back centuries.

They view the territory occupied by the nation state as their homeland.

They share a common religion and common culture that differs from those in surrounding territories.

You get it, right?
 
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Pat Young

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Was Mississippi the ancient homeland of the Mississippians?

The people who led the move by Mississippi towards secession were Anglo-Americans who moved into the territory beginning only half a century before the start of the secession crisis. In fact, many of the families who led the secession movement in Mississippi had only moved to the state one generation earlier.
 

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Further countering the notion of the states of the United States being Nation states was the ready movement of people from the states of Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina to Mississippi. One would think that members of those "nation states" would be loathe to leave to join the Mississippian nation state. Yet they readily moved from those eastern states to Mississippi as though Mississippi was in the same country as the other three.
 
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As for the creation of the state of Mississippi, the land of its territory was purchased from France by the United States. Its safety was initially guaranteed by United States troops. The territory was organized by the United States. Mississippi did not create the United States, the United States created Mississippi.
 

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The Mississippi Constitution of 1817

Article VI

General Provisions

Section 1. Members of the General Assembly, and all officers, executive and judicial, before they enter on the execution of their respective offices, shall take the following oath or affirmation, to-wit: I solemnly swear (or affirm as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Mississippi, so long as I continue a citizen thereof, and that I will faithfully discharge, to the best of my abilities, the duties of the office of __________________, according to law. So help me God.
 
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Next, let's look at the factor of cultural and ethnic homogeneity. In 1860 Mississipi was the least homogenous state in the United States. Certainly a majority, 55%, were black, but there was still a sizable white minority which the state's black majority treated with scrupulous courtesy. So, the idea that Mississippi could somehow be declared a (presumably) black nation states fails.
 

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What about factors of distinctiveness? Was Mississippi linguistically distinct from its neighbors? By 1860 nearly all the elites in the "nation states" situated in proximity to Mississippi were predominantly English speaking. Religiously distinct? Except for Louisiana, the surrounding states were all overwhelmingly Protestant Christian.
 
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Pat Young

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Who came up with that theory Pat. It sounds like some goofy attempt to explain something using modern terms to justify their fantasies of what became the Confederate States. I would not want to step into that pile, you'd have to hose off your shoes.
I figured if I was going to step in the pile, I would first steal a march.
 

matthew mckeon

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Next, let's look at the factor of cultural and ethnic homogeneity. In 1860 Mississipi was the least homogenous state in the United States. Certainly a majority, 55%, were black, but there was still a sizable white minority which the state's black majority treated with scrupulous courtesy. So, the idea that Mississippi could somehow be declared a (presumably) black nation states fails.
"scrupulous courtesy" You're a bad, bad man.
 
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Pat Young

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The Mississippi Constitution of 1817

Article VI

General Provisions

Section 1. Members of the General Assembly, and all officers, executive and judicial, before they enter on the execution of their respective offices, shall take the following oath or affirmation, to-wit: I solemnly swear (or affirm as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Mississippi, so long as I continue a citizen thereof, and that I will faithfully discharge, to the best of my abilities, the duties of the office of __________________, according to law. So help me God.
Thanks for adding that.
 
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