Nations


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to Nations: United Nations

NATIONS. Nations or states are independent bodies politic; societies of men united together for the purpose of promoting their mutual safety and advantage by the joint efforts of their combined strength.
     2. But every combination of men who govern themselves, independently of all others, will not be considered a nation; a body of pirates, for example, who govern themselves, are not a nation. To constitute a nation another ingredient is required. The body thus formed must respect other nations in general, and each of their members in particular. Such a society has her affairs and her interests; she deliberates and takes resolutions in common; thus becoming a moral person who possesses an understanding and will peculiar to herself, and is susceptible of obligations and rights. Vattel, Prelim. Sec. 1, 2; 5 Pet. S. C. R. 52.
     3. It belongs to the government to declare whether they will consider a colony which has thrown off the yoke of the mother country as an independent state; and until the government have decided on the question, courts of justice are bound to consider the ancient state of things as remaining unchanged. 1 Johns. Ch. R. 543; 13 John. 141, 561; see 5 Pet. S. C. R. 1; 1 Kent, Com 21; and Body Politic; State.

References in classic literature ?
Finding the great king beyond the water disappointed in his expectations, and conscious of the importance of the Long Knife, and their own wretchedness, some of the nations immediately desired peace; to which, at present, they seem universally disposed, and are sending ambassadors to General Clark, at the Falls of the Ohio, with the minutes of their Councils, a specimen of which, in the minutes of the Piankashaw Council, is subjoined.
In other words, when a sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves, and a whole country is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and subjected to military law, I think that it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize.
And that way the nation is moving, and I may say that mankind progress from east to west.
Having provided everything necessary for our journey, such as Arabian habits, and red caps, calicoes, and other trifles to make presents of to the inhabitants, and taking leave of our friends, as men going to a speedy death, for we were not insensible of the dangers we were likely to encounter, amongst horrid deserts, impassable mountains, and barbarous nations, we left Goa on the 26th day of January in the year 1624, in a Portuguese galliot that was ordered to set us ashore at Pate, where we landed without any disaster in eleven days, together with a young Abyssin, whom we made use of as our interpreter.
It was the one last improvement that enabled interdependent nations to handle themselves and to hold together.
Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversaries, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace; before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction.
In reverting to the period of our origin, other nations have generally been compelled to plunge into the chaos of impenetrable antiquity, or to trace a lawless ancestry into the caverns of ravishers and robbers.
Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented.
The causes of hostility among nations are innumerable.
If a federal Constitution could chain the ambition or set bounds to the exertions of all other nations, then indeed might it prudently chain the discretion of its own government, and set bounds to the exertions for its own safety.
It has accomplished wonders far surpassing Egyptian pyramids, Roman aqueducts, and Gothic cathedrals; it has conducted expeditions that put in the shade all former Exoduses of nations and crusades.
I say adversaries, for on recalling such proud memories we should avoid the word "enemies," whose hostile sound perpetuates the antagonisms and strife of nations, so irremediable perhaps, so fateful - and also so vain.