Over the course of the 19th century, as the nation-state emerged as the dominant form of political organization (the world today is still organized into nation-states), several political theorists tried to define the term nation and explain what it meant to belong to a nation. How did key theorists explain the nation, and are their explanations still valid?
In the first part of your paper, please explain the theories of Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Ernst Renan. When did Fichte and Renan share these ideas? How did Fichte and Renan each define the term “nation” and describe the requirements for belonging to a nation? Why did Fichte bring up ancient Germans in his definition? What five explanations for the nation does Renan reject? What two ideas does he embrace?
In the second part of your paper, use the assigned newspaper articles to describe and analyze divisions in the United States today. Why, according to each author, are Americans so divided? How are they divided? Along what lines? Is there hope that the country can heal these divisions?
In your conclusion, please consider whether America would benefit from the ideas of Ernst Renan. Do you see any potential problems with his suggestion that nations benefit from forgetting uncomfortable parts of their history?
The basic format is 500 words (this is the required minimum, please do not exceed 750 words), double-spaced, with 5 properly formatted footnotes referring to pages in the reading due that day. Your paper should have an introduction, an argument that includes supportive evidence, and a conclusion. Always provide a word count at the top of the page. I will use a 10-point scale to grade these papers.