The Earth and the State: A Study of Political Geography

The Earth and the State: A Study of Political Geography

The Earth and the State: A Study of Political Geography

The Earth and the State: A Study of Political Geography

Excerpt

Political geography is perhaps the oldest kind of geography. Paradoxically, there is even yet neither a universally accepted approach to the subject nor a consensus as to its content. I have therefore indulged in the pleasurable procedure of pioneering along lines that seem to me germinant.

For me the differentiation of political phenomena from place to place over the earth is the essence of political geography. Among these political features the state ranks first. The character of a state is intimately bound up with the particular earth conditions in which it evolves. Once in being, a system of government and the political concepts that express it are not confined to the region of its origin, but may spread to other areas and so create some degree of political uniformity over contrasted regions. In a very real sense the modern national state, which originated in Western Europe, has migrated to all parts of the globe. Nevertheless, in the process it has been much modified.

In any one place the interplay of government and nature is dynamic and subject to ceaseless change. For example, the European state of classical antiquity or of the middle ages differed in character from the European state today. Some understanding of the processes of alteration is basic to a grasp of the political geography of the present era. This is especially true of the states of Western Europe, where lie the roots of the political system currently dominant over much of the earth, and of Central Europe, which has wholeheartedly adopted the concept of the national state worked out by its western neighbors.

Because of the leading role played by Western and Central Europe in the political geography of the world today, the central theme of this book is the areal differentiation of governments (states) in that part of the Eurasian continent. Corollary and inextricably bound to this central theme is the extension of the European system of government to the ends of the earth.

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