A City Guide To Lianyuan for The larger goal is to gain knowledge of contemporary times by viewing them afresh through historical lenses. Much historically oriented political theory effectively constitutes a history of the present. Historical analysis demonstrates that many features of political life that are currently taken for granted developed at particular times for particular purposes. The nation-state, for instance, is less than four hundred years old. One might date its rise to prominence from the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, at the end of the Thirty Years War. The nation-state system developed, in part, as a means of alleviating the bloody religious and imperial conflicts that afflicted Europe at that time. Previously, the chief political units had been empires, kingdoms, and city-states. A City Guide To Lianyuan 2016.