Should Nation be a Foundation of Identity Sarah Rapley



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Should Nation be a Foundation of Identity Sarah Rapley

Nation can mean many different things to different people. It could be classified as the physical landscape of a country, an imagined political community, or nation can be something that emerges within individuals and their community when there is a shared sense of belonging. Nation does not have a clear definition as it can represent contrasting ideas and understandings of how the societies of the world (exist) should work. Changes within a nation (affect) effect your daily living, whether people know it or not. Throughout history, the people of the nation have come together, all in support of a better foundation for their identity.I believe that nation is a major foundation of identity because it represents your loyalties and is deeply rooted in what makes you individualistic and unique.

The French Revolution is a very well known example of the people coming together as a group and making change happen. In this case, democracy was the goal of the revolution. Forced under the rule of king's who made bad choices, the citizens of France went through a chaotic and disastrous state of economic crisis. Poor handling of money and unfortunate weather caused food shortages, starvation, increased taxes, and a want for something better. Taking matters into their own hands, on July 14, 1789, six hundred angry Parisians successfully attacked the Bastille, a royal fortress that had been converted into a prison. This symbol of tyranny was taken down brick by brick. This act sent a message to their government and became embedded in the French people's collective consciousness. Nation had become a strong force in which the people intended to use against the government. France's growing middle class called the bourgeoisie were knowledgable (sp) of the possibility that the revolution could work, since the ruling elite made up about four percent of France's total estimated population of 26 million. To make a statement, they would need to do something drastic when the estates general met, which led to the making of the National Assembly and the Tennis Court Oath. This states that the Third Estate is the only group who represented the nation. This act of defiance and the storming of the bastille a few days later was motivation for other parts of France to rise against. I think that the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799 was the major factor that united all of France. He emerged as a leader and took control from other unstable governments who struggled for power. Even though he launched a series of wars, order was brought to the country and he helped strengthen French national pride. The people of France were a part of a democratic government that would lay foundations for public education and influence leal systems around the world. The pride of the French people were restored and nation became a firm foundation of their identity. (Well constructed discussion)

The Aboriginal people of Canada also came together to protect their nationhood and sense of identity. When the Europeans ventured into Canada, the First Nations people were welcoming and instrumental to the success of their settlement. But their contribution to the exploration of Canada was ignored. The popular idea that Canada was the product of two founding nations - British and French- was certainly not popular amoung the Indigenous (peoples). More insult came when Duncan Campbell Scott, head of the federal Department of Indian Affiars said "Our objective is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canda that has not been absorbed into the body politic and there is no Indian question, and no Indian Department." The First Nations people were not seen as a nation or even a collective group that has equal rights. Thier nationhood was being stripped from them, therefore altering their identity. Their way of life was not accepted by the Europeans because it was not their way of life. In 1969, Priminister (SP) Trudeau and Jean Chretien introduced a controversial proposal to end the federal government's treaty obligations. This proposal, called a White Paper was the line crossing for First Nations and other Aboriginal peoples. Leaders demanded from the Canadian government a respect for the Indigenous people and their way of life. The First Nations, Metis, and Inuit had to struggle o affirm and promte (SP) their identity because their nation was being taken away form them. Canada is promoting itself as a tolerant and accepting country, yet minority groups were being assimilated into mainstream society. Their outcry did get the attention of Canada and Trudeau and Chretien abandoned the proposal. Today, it is widely acknowledged that Canada was built by three founding peoples. The aboriginals (SP) sense of nation strengthened because they all held their identity strong throughout a time of crisis.



In conclusion, history has shown how nation and people coming together for a similar cause strengthen and build a foundation for their identity. Nation is not a definition but a feeling or emotion that comes from the people. It is a loyalty that people have for their bigger community.


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