Empire into Commonwealth: The Chichele Lectures Delivered at Oxford in May 1960 on Changes in the Conception and Structure of the British Empire during the Last Half Century

Empire into Commonwealth: The Chichele Lectures Delivered at Oxford in May 1960 on Changes in the Conception and Structure of the British Empire during the Last Half Century

Empire into Commonwealth: The Chichele Lectures Delivered at Oxford in May 1960 on Changes in the Conception and Structure of the British Empire during the Last Half Century

Empire into Commonwealth: The Chichele Lectures Delivered at Oxford in May 1960 on Changes in the Conception and Structure of the British Empire during the Last Half Century

Excerpt

I have had the honour of being invited to deliver this year's Chichcle Historical Lectures and have chosen as my subject Changes in the Conception and Structure of the British Empire during the last half century.

There have been many great Empires in the history of the world that have risen, flourished for a time, and then fallen. Some on account of attack by a rival or by insurgent barbarians; some have decayed through internal weakness; while others have been resolved into a number of separate and contentious national States. There is only one Empire where, without external pressure or weariness at the burden of ruling, the ruling people has voluntarily surrendered its hegemony over subject peoples and has given them their freedom, where also the majority of the people so liberated have continued in political association with their former rulers. This unique example is the British Empire. The process of the transformation of an Empire into a Commonwealth, an association of free and equal States, has taken place during the last sixty years, a period which covers my adult life. I have seen it happen, and have taken some share in bringing it about.

I have no pretentions to be either an historian or a political scientist, but I have lived through this remarkable period, first as an ordinary citizen, later as a Member of Parliament and a Minister of the Crown. I have seen and felt the changes in the climate of . . .

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