A Guide to the Contemporary Commonwealth

By W. David McIntyre | Go to book overview

1
Origins and Meanings

A publisher once told the author that ‘Commonwealth’ in the title was the kiss of death for a book. One reason for the Commonwealth’s low profile in public imagination is that its meaning and symbols are obscure and little understood. During the 1997 Chogm in Edinburgh, Tony Blair, the British prime minister, tried to rectify the deficiency, but only managed to create further obfuscation: ‘The word “Commonwealth” has become so familiar that we do not pause often enough to think of its meaning. The very word means commonweal; a shared richness; something to be possessed by all.’ 1

Clearly Blair had not looked beyond the first definition listed in the Oxford English Dictionary. There were five to choose from: 1) general good, public welfare or commonweal; 2) body politic, the body of people constituting a state or nation; 3) a republic, a state with supreme power vested in the people; 4) a body of persons united for some common purpose, like the commonwealth of letters; and 5) the title of certain specific states. This last makes quite a list: Australia, Bahamas, Dominica, Kentucky, Northern Marianas, Massachusetts, Puerto Rico and, not least, England between 1649 and 1660. Then, in 1991, twelve former Soviet Republics joined in the ‘Commonwealth of Independent States’. Blair’s choice of ‘commonweal’ may have suited his political purpose of proclaiming New Labour’s ‘Cool Britannia’, but it did less than justice to the origins of the contemporary Commonwealth.

‘Commonwealth’, in its modern usage, incorporates aspects of most of the dictionary definitions but is, perhaps, best rendered as a ‘family of nations’ from within the former British Empire. It was first used in this way before the American Revolution in relation to the early colonies and there were also maverick uses in Victorian times. Lord

-7-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
A Guide to the Contemporary Commonwealth
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 266

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.