From this history we learn that it is not the nation-state, but the kinds of nation-states that matter. From the birth of political philosophy in ancient Athens, it has been understood in the West that the difference between good and bad regimes, just as between lives lived well and lives lived badly, is all-important.
I fear America may be leaving the world of normal politics and entering the dangerous world of regime politics—a politics in which our political loyalties diverge more and more, as they did in the 1850s, between two contrary visions of the country.
Historically, constitutional government has been found only in the nation-state, where the people share a common good and are dedicated to the same principles and purposes.
If we study that war and the actions of its profoundest statesman, we can find some lessons to guide us today.