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Commonwealth
Commonwealth
is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good.[dubious – discuss] Historically it has sometimes been synonymous with "republic". The noun "commonwealth", meaning "public welfare general good or advantage" dates from the 15th century. Originally a phrase (the common-wealth or the common weal – echoed in the modern synonym "public weal") it comes from the old meaning of "wealth", which is "well-being", and is itself a loose translation of the Latin res publica (republic). The term literally meant "common well-being". In the 17th century, the definition of "commonwealth" expanded from its original sense of "public welfare" or "commonweal" to mean "a state in which the supreme power is vested in the people; a republic or democratic state". "Better things were done, and better managed ... under a Commonwealth
Commonwealth
than under a King." Pepys, Diary (1667) The term evolved to become a title to a number of political entities. Three countries – Australia, the Bahamas, and Dominica
Dominica
– have the official title "Commonwealth", as do four U.S. states and two U.S. territories. More recently, the term has been used to name some fraternal associations of nations, most notably the Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of Nations, an organization primarily of former territories of the British Empire, which is often referred to as simply "the Commonwealth".

Contents

1 Historical use

1.1 Rome 1.2 England 1.3 Iceland 1.4 Poland–Lithuania 1.5 Catalonia 1.6 Liberia

2 Current use

2.1 International level

2.1.1 Australia 2.1.2 The Bahamas 2.1.3 Dominica

2.2 Federated states and territories

2.2.1 U.S. states 2.2.2 U.S. insular areas

2.3 International bodies

2.3.1 Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of Nations 2.3.2 Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of Independent States

3 Proposed use

3.1 United Kingdom

4 See also 5 References 6 External links

Historical use[edit] Rome[edit] Translations of Roman writers' works to English have on occasion translated "Res publica", and variants thereof, to "the commonwealth", a term referring to the Roman state as a whole. England[edit] The Commonwealth of England
Commonwealth of England
was the official name of the political unit (de facto military rule in the name of parliamentary supremacy) that replaced the Kingdom of England
Kingdom of England
(after the English Civil War) from 1649–53 and 1659–60, under the rule of Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
and his son and successor Richard. From 1653 to 1659, although still legally known as a Commonwealth, the republic, united with the former Kingdom of Scotland, operated under different institutions (at times as a de facto monarchy) and is known by historians as the Protectorate. In a British context, it is sometimes referred to as the "Old Commonwealth".[citation needed] Iceland[edit] The Icelandic Commonwealth
Icelandic Commonwealth
or the Icelandic Free State
Icelandic Free State
(Icelandic: Þjóðveldið) was the state existing in Iceland between the establishment of the Althing
Althing
in 930 and the pledge of fealty to the Norwegian king in 1262. It was initially established by a public consisting largely of recent immigrants from Norway
Norway
who had fled the unification of that country under King
King
Harald Fairhair. Poland–Lithuania[edit] Main article: Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth Republic
Republic
is still an alternative translation of the traditional name of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Wincenty Kadłubek
Wincenty Kadłubek
(Vincent Kadlubo, 1160–1223) used for the first time the original Latin term res publica in the context of Poland
Poland
in his "Chronicles of the Kings and Princes of Poland". The name was used officially for the confederal country formed by Poland
Poland
and Lithuania
Lithuania
1569–1795. It is also often referred as "Nobles' Commonwealth" (1505–1795, i.e., before the union). In the contemporary political doctrine of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, "our state is a Republic
Republic
(or Commonwealth) under the presidency of the King". The Commonwealth introduced a doctrine of religious tolerance called Warsaw Confederation, had its own parliament Sejm
Sejm
(although elections were restricted to nobility and elected kings, who were bound to certain contracts Pacta conventa from the beginning of the reign). "A commonwealth of good counsaile" was the title of the 1607 English translation of the work of Wawrzyniec Grzymała Goślicki
Wawrzyniec Grzymała Goślicki
"De optimo senatore" that presented to English readers many of the ideas present in the political system of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Catalonia[edit] Main article: Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of Catalonia Between 1914 and 1925, Catalonia
Catalonia
was an autonomous region of Spain. Its government during that time was given the title mancomunidad (Catalan: mancomunitat), which is translated into English as "commonwealth". The Commonwealth of Catalonia
Commonwealth of Catalonia
had limited powers and was formed as a federation of the four Catalan provinces. A number of Catalan-language institutions were created during its existence. Liberia[edit] See also: History of Liberia
Liberia
§ Colonization (1821–1847) Between 1838 and 1847, Liberia
Liberia
was officially known as the " Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of Liberia". It changed its name to the " Republic
Republic
of Liberia" when it declared independence (and adopted a new constitution) in 1847.[1] Current use[edit] International level[edit] Australia[edit] "Commonwealth" was first proposed as a term for a federation of the six Australian crown colonies at the 1891 constitutional convention in Sydney. Its adoption was initially controversial, as it was associated by some with the republicanism of Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
(see above), but it was retained in all subsequent drafts of the constitution.[2] The term was finally incorporated into law in the Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of Australia Constitution Act 1901, which established the federation. Australia operates under a federal system, in which power is divided between the federal (national) government and the state governments (the successors of the six colonies). So, in an Australian context, the term "Commonwealth" (capitalized) refers to the federal government, and " Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of Australia" is the official name of the country. The Bahamas[edit] The Bahamas
Bahamas
uses the official style Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of The Bahamas. Dominica[edit] The small Caribbean
Caribbean
republic of Dominica
Dominica
has used the official style Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of Dominica
Dominica
since 1970. Federated states and territories[edit] The term "commonwealth" has one of two political meanings within the United States: U.S. states[edit] Main article: Commonwealth
Commonwealth
(U.S. state) Four states in the United States officially designate themselves as "commonwealths". All four were original colonies or parts thereof ( Kentucky
Kentucky
was originally a part of the land grant of the Colony of Virginia) and share a strong influence of colonial common law in some of their laws and institutions. The four are:

Kentucky
Kentucky
is designated a commonwealth by the Kentucky
Kentucky
Constitution and is known constitutionally as the " Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of Kentucky".[3] Massachusetts
Massachusetts
is a commonwealth,[4] declaring itself as such in its constitution, which states: "[T]he body politic is formed by a voluntary association of individuals: it is a social compact, by which the whole people covenants with each citizen, and each citizen with the whole people, that all shall be governed by certain laws for the common good."[5] Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
uses the " Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania" constitutionally and in its official title.[6] Virginia
Virginia
has been known as the " Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of Virginia" since before joining the United States, and is referred to as a commonwealth in its constitution.[7]

U.S. insular areas[edit] Main article: Commonwealth
Commonwealth
(U.S. insular area) "Commonwealth" is also used in the United States to describe the political relationship between the United States and the overseas unincorporated territories:

Commonwealth of the Philippines
Commonwealth of the Philippines
– formed in 1934, and became independent in 1946, upon which "Commonwealth" was replaced by "Republic". Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
– became a commonwealth in 1952.[8] Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
– became a commonwealth in 1978.

International bodies[edit] Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of Nations[edit] The Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of Nations—formerly the British Commonwealth—is a voluntary association or confederation of 52 independent sovereign states, most of which were once part of the British Empire. The Commonwealth's membership includes both republics and monarchies. The head of the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
is Queen Elizabeth II, who reigns as monarch directly in 16 member states known as Commonwealth
Commonwealth
realms. Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of Independent States[edit] The Commonwealth of Independent States
Commonwealth of Independent States
(CIS) is a loose alliance or confederation consisting of 10 of the 15 former Soviet Republics, the exceptions being Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
(a CIS associate member), Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Georgia. Georgia left the CIS in August 2008 after a clash with Russia
Russia
over South Ossetia. Its creation signalled the dissolution of the Soviet Union, its purpose being to "allow a civilised divorce" between the Soviet Republics. The CIS has developed as a forum by which the member-states can co-operate in economics, defence, and foreign policy.[citation needed] Proposed use[edit] United Kingdom[edit] Labour MP Tony Benn
Tony Benn
sponsored a Commonwealth of Britain Bill several times between 1991 and 2001, intended to abolish the monarchy and establish a British republic. It never reached second reading. See also[edit]

Commonwealth
Commonwealth
realms portal

Common good Common law Confederation Democracy Federation League

References[edit]

^ The Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of Liberia ^ Helen Irving. Australian Federation
Federation
Archived 2015-07-15 at the Wayback Machine. – Civics and Citizenship Education. Retrieved 15 July 2015. ^ "Kentucky.gov". Kentucky.gov. Retrieved 2013-10-11.  ^ "Mass.Gov". Mass.Gov. 2013-09-26. Retrieved 2013-10-11.  ^ "Constitution of the Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of Massachusetts". Malegislature.gov. Retrieved 2013-10-11.  ^ " Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Keystone State". Pa.gov. Retrieved 2013-10-11.  ^ "Home". Virginia.gov. Retrieved 2013-10-11.  ^ copyright 2009[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]

Look up Commonwealth or commonwealth in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of Nations

The Commonwealth
Commonwealth
— UK government site Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
Secretariat* Commonwealth
Commonwealth
Foundation Royal Commonwealth
Commonwealth
Society

Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of Independent States

CIS Executive Committee CIS Statistical Committee

Countries

Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of Australia

United States

Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of Kentucky Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of Massachusetts Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of Virginia Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of Puerto Rico Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of the Northern Mariana Islands

Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

Commonwealth
Commonwealth
of Diverse Cultures:

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