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Cotig Ana-Maria MPC I

Chapter XVI Of Nationality As Connected With Representative Government John Stuart Mill
A PORTION of mankind may be said to constitute a Nationality if they are united among themselves by common sympathies which do not exist between them and any others which make them co-operate with each other more willingly than with other people, desire to be under the same government, and desire that it should be government by themselves or a portion of themselves exclusively.1 It is with this definition of nationality that John Stuart Mill opens his chapter dedicated to the issue of nationalism, linking it closely to his study on representative government. He is considered to be the central figure concerning discussions of nationhood that attempt to reconcile some kind of national attachment with liberal values.2 The usage of the phrase nationality by Mill is explained by David Miller, who also borrows this term, arguing that it proposes an alternative, that is meant to be different from unpleasant versions of nationalism, rejecting earlier classification which attempt to identify a sanitized version of nationalism by distinguishing between two kinds of nationalism (a Western and Eastern form). Miller opts for Mills term as he considers it to be less tainted than nationalism3 Hence, Mill argues that a sentiment of nationality is create as an effect of various causes, which are not indispensable or necessarily sufficient by themselves. Among them he names: identity of race and descent, community of language, community of religion, geographical factors. Amongst all, Mill considers the most important and relevant, concerning the issue of nationality, to be identity of political antecedents, the individuals should own common national history, community of recollections, collective pride and humiliation, pleasure and regret all sourcing to the same events in the past. In order to offer an example of their shortcomings, and dispensability he brings into discussion the cases of Switzerland (different races, languages and religion, although having strong feelings of nationality), Sicily (although sharing religion, language and considerable history with Naples, felt distinct in nationality from it) and the Flemish and Walloon provinces of Belgium (even though having diversity of language and race, they shared a great sentiment of nationality).

. John Stuart Mill, Considerations on Representative Government, Prometheus Books, New York, 1991,

pp.308. . Georgios Varouxakis, Mill on Nationality, Volume 3 of Political Studies Associatin/Political Studies Series, Routledge, London, 2002 , pp 3. 3 . David Miller, On Nationality, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1995, pp.10

John Stuart Mill infers that if a group had acquired strong nationalist feelings, to the point that they loathed living in a state that they didnt regard as their own, this was of great danger and needed to be addressed quickly and from a rational stance, providing that they unite under the same government, of their choosing.4 Once again he proves his liberal allegiance, arguing that it is by the right of the individuals to be free in deciding with whom they could associate. Free institutions are next to impossible in a country made up of different nationalities. Language barriers impede the existence of a united public opinion that is part of the mechanisms of representative government. Political action is obstructed as opinions and political actors differ in preference from one part of the country to the next. Informational sources differ, as do their perception of events, incidents or government action. Each nationality fears the other, more than they fear the common authority that is the state. Trust among the groups is inexistent, making joint resistance towards an abusive government impossible. The last resort in matters of security against an oppressive regime becomes the army, and its willingness to side, out of sympathy with the people. Foreigners, as viewed by the individuals, become the enemy for the soldier, and his only law is that of force. No matter his race, or religion the soldiers loyalty lies in the flag; the bonds that tie them together are their officers and the government which they serve, guided by the submission to command. John Stuart Mill feared that a multi-ethnic state would lead a government to endorse authoritarian divide and rule policies. Thus, rather than having any of the peoples artificially tied together, Mill proposed that it is in general a necessary condition of free institutions that the boundaries of governments should coincide in the main with those of nationalities 5 . However in practice this theory encounters several difficulties. One is them is the geographical dimensions, namely that there are parts of Europe in which the different nationalities are so intertwined that it is not accessible for them to be under separate government. Here we have the example of Hungary, which had an array of different nationalities embedded within its populations: Magyars, Slovaks, Croats, Serbs, Romanians, and even German, therefore their only viable option was to make virtue of necessity and adjust to living together under equal rights and laws. Another example given by Mill is the case of East Prussia, which was cut off from Germany by a part of Poland, and not having the necessary strength to maintain separate independence, had two options: either to live under non-German government or the Polish territory must be under the German state. Mill offers as an example one of the most united countries in Europe, namely France, which was, nationality wise was split between GalloRoman population, and Frankish, Burgundian and other Teutonic races.

. Where the sentiment of nationality exists in any force, there is a prima facie case for uniting all the members of the nationality under the same government, and a government to themselves apart. As found in J.S.Mill, op cit, pp.310 5 . John Stuart Mill, Considerations on Representative Government, Prometheus Books, New York, 1991,pp. 312-313

Another difficulty that needed be surpassed is one of moral and societal dimensions. Here Mill confers about the possibility of merger and absorption of one nationality into another.6 As an example Mill speaks of the gains the Bretons, Basques or the French Navarres received as they were brought into the current of ideas and feeling of a highly civilized and cultivated people and of being admitted on equal terms to all the privileges of French citizenship, sharing the advantages of French protection, and the dignity and prestige of the French power. For both liberals and Marxists in the nineteenth century, the great nations, with their highly centralized political and economic structure, were the carriers of historical development. The smaller nationalities were backward and stagnant, and could only participate in modernity by abandoning their national character and assimilating to a great nation.7 Bear in mind that when conferring about the admixture of national or ethnic groups with one another and contending that it is to the benefit of the human race, Mill did not intend to argue in favor of an absolute absorption or disappearance of one group. However what he had in mind was a kind of heterosis, where the best qualities of each group need be preserved and enhanced, a give and take relation, not the complete fading of all the traits of one group and the adoption of those of the other.8 This groups brought together might be equal in strength and number or they might be unequal. If they are unequal, the group smaller in number can be a) superior in civilization through this it can : a.1 attain dominance over the other- considered by the author to be a gain to civilization, however in this case the conquerors and the conquered cannot live together under the same free institutions. a.2 it can be brought down by sheer force and subjected. This variable is considered by Mill a mishaps to the human race, and offers the example of the absorption of Greece by Macedonia, or a possible scenario of Russian absorption of European principal countries b) inferior-in this case, if the conquerors are both more numerous and more improved, they govern with tolerable justice, and dont take advantage of exclusive privileges (as to be later on hated by the conquered) than the smaller nationality will fusion with the larger. Mill give here the example of Ireland in connection to England, arguing that the fusion between the two hadnt happen due to the poor governing; however that had changed and he expected that this fusion would take place, as the
. Nobody can suppose that it is not more beneficial to a Breton, or a Basque of French Navarre, to be brought into the current of the ideas and feelings of a highly civilized and cultivated people to be a member of the French nationality, admitted on equal terms to all the privileges of French citizenship, sharing the advantages of French protection, and the dignity and prestige of French power than to sulk on his own rocks, the half-savage relic of past times, revolving in his own little mental orbit, without participation or interest in the general movement of the world. As found in J.S.Mill, op cit, pp 314 7 . Georgios Varouxakis, Mill on Nationality, Volume 3 of Political Studies Associatin/Political Studies Series, Routledge, London, 2002 , pp 9 8 . Georgios Varouxakis, Mill on Nationality, Volume 3 of Political Studies Association/Political Studies Series, Routledge, London, 2002 , pp. 11.

Irish and the Anglo-Saxon were equals in matters of rights and low, the only complaint remained that of the State Church. However, the worst case scenario that Mill could have imagined when discussing the merger of two nationalities was the instance when two nationalities tied together are equal in number and in other elements of power. In this circumstance, each group, trusting its power and managing to maintain a steady battle of power, will be reluctant to join in this fusion. Thus each party promotes zealously its distinctive peculiarities, obsolete customs, even declining languages are revived to sharpen the separation. Each party considers itself to be a victim of abuse and tyranny. Harmony can sometimes be reached only when a third actor joins, that is a authoritarian/totalitarian government come to power, foreign to both side, that does not make any discrimination in its abuses towards both nationalities. It is only then that fellow -feeling emerge. However, Mill warns that if this fusion does not happen before the aspiration to free government, then it will never do, especially if geographically the two are separated. Mill argued in favor of the coexistence of various ethnic, racial and cultural groups in one state, improving one another through the civilization-enhancing diversity that would result.9 However his main goal in this Chapter is to offer the justification for nationality and seek its
potential conduciveness to free representative government.

. Georgios Varouxakis, Mill on Nationality, Volume 3 of Political Studies Associatin/Political Studi es Series, Routledge, London, 2002 , pp. 7