IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Why is Nation Building So Bloody? Two Cases


  • Ruttan, Vernon W.


In this paper I present case studies of the history of Nation Building in the United States and Turkey. In the United States the nation building project involved the transition of thirteen British colonies to a nation state. In the case of Turkey the nation building project involved a transition from a multinational empire to a Turkish Republic The motivation for writing the two case studies was the abrupt shift in policy by the Bush Administration following the terrorist attack on the New York World Trade Center Towers on September 1, 2001. During his presidential campaign and during his first months in office George W. Bush vigorously criticized what he interpreted as the nation building efforts of the Clinton administration. Before the end of its first year in office the Bush administration had committed American lives and resources to nation building efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. My first effort was to write a short paper in an op-ed style. “Why Is Nation Building So Bloody?†This paper serves as Chapter 1.0 of this paper. My second effort was to read widely in the classic political science nation building literature and in the more recent policy oriented literature. An example of the first is the collected works of Stein Rokkan, edited by Peter Flora, State Formation, Nation Building, And Mass Politics In Europe: The Theory Of Stein Rokkan (Oxford 1999). Rokkan’s work had been published largely between 1960 and the early 1990s. An example of the more policy oriented work was the book edited by Rancis Fukuyama, Nation Building: Beyond Afghanistan and Iraq (Johns Hopkins, 2006). I found much of the scholarly work too formal and abstract for my taste. I found the policy oriented work too close to the policy process to provide an objective perspective. My response was to step back and read in some depth the history of the United States and Turkey nation building projects. The result is this paper. In the case of both the United States and Turkey the nation building efforts were largely a response to internal political and economic forces.

Suggested Citation

  • Ruttan, Vernon W., 2007. "Why is Nation Building So Bloody? Two Cases," Staff Papers 7305, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:umaesp:7305

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1997. "On the Number and Size of Nations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1027-1056.
    2. McGuire, Robert A., 2003. "To Form a More Perfect Union: A New Economic Interpretation of United States Constitution," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195139709.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    International Development; International Relations/Trade;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:umaesp:7305. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.