Knowledgebase : The Body Politic > Nationality
Nationality - Definition of Nation (or State)
Posted by Stuart Ronaldson on 06 March 2017 05:23 pm

In order to understand nationality, it is necessary to have a quick discussion about nations (states).

The Law of Nations, published in 1758 by Emerich de Vattel, modernized the theory and practice of international law.

"It came to us in good season, when the circumstances of a rising State make it necessary to frequently consult the Law of Nations." – Ben Franklin, December 9, 1775

Centuries after his death, it was discovered that U.S. President George Washington had several overdue library books. One of the books was The Law of Nations. (Washington Post)

Law of Nations: “Law of nations; international law. That law which regulates the conduct and mutual intercourse of independent states with each other, by reason and natural justice.” - (William C. Anderson, Dictionary of Law, 1889)


What is a Nation (State)?

1) "A Nation or a state is a body politic, or a society of men united together for the purpose of promoting their mutual safety and advantage by their combined strength." (The Law of Nations)

2) "A People permanently occupying a fixed territory bound together by common-law habits and custom into one body politic exercising, through the medium of an organized government, independent sovereignty and control over all persons and things within its boundaries . . . – United States v. Kusche, D.C.Cal., 56 F.Supp. 201, 207, 208"  (Black's Law Dictionary, 4th Edition)


Why people must unite together?

“Man is so formed by nature, that he cannot supply all his own wants, but necessarily stands in need of the intercourse and assistance of his fellow-creatures, whether for his immediate preservation, or for the sake of perfecting his nature, and enjoying such a life as is suitable to a rational being.” (Law of Nations)

I must rely on you and others.

You must rely on me and others.

Others must rely on you and me.

“All the citizens who form a political society, reciprocally engage to advance the common welfare, and as far as possible to promote the advantage of each member.” (Law of Nations)

Thus, we can say with high accuracy that American Nationals are “united together for the purpose of promoting their mutual safety and advantage by the joint efforts of their combined strength.”


How do we know each American National will promote and protect the nation (state)?

We know this because each individual has declared an oath to do so.


United in mind and spirit, we then form an authority.

"It is necessary that there should be established a Public Authority, to order and direct what is to be done by each in relation to the end of the association. This political authority is the Sovereignty." (Law of Nations)

Individuals come together (national, state, or county assembly) and reach agreement to allow “this” behavior and not allow “that” behavior (law). The goal of law is to make public life manageable, predictable and safe. Law is established by the body politic to regulate and enhance the common welfare. We reach agreement, for example, that theft will not be allowed, or that a road needs to be built or repaired. A public authority (government) is established to uphold the agreements.

"It is evident, that, by the very act of the civil or political association, each citizen subjects himself to the authority of the entire body, in everything that relates to the common welfare."  (Law of Nations)

It is clear that the individual within a Nation/State cannot be a “sovereign” as the individual has voluntarily accepted the regulations of the public authority. Further, if an individual refuses to establish an allegiance, that individual is not sovereign, but stateless (see statelessness).

"That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” (Preamble, Declaration of Independence, 1776)

"Every nation that governs itself, under what form soever, without dependence on any foreign power, is a sovereign state. Its rights are naturally the same as those of any other state." (Law of Nations)

"Therefore, States are equal in natural rights." (William H. Seward, U.S. Secretary of State, 1861-69)

So, if Nations/States are equal and independent, as mentioned in the previous quotes, then “permission” to establish a State and a government is unnecessary.

"The political existence of the State is independent of recognition by other States. Even before being recognized, the State has the right to defend its integrity and independence, to provide for its preservation and prosperity, and consequently to organize itself as it sees fit, to legislate concerning its interests, to administer its services, and to determine the jurisdiction and competence of its courts." (Article 13, Charter of the Organization of American States)