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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume V: Historiography$
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Robin Winks

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205661

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205661.001.0001

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The Commonwealth

The Commonwealth

(p.558) 35 The Commonwealth
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume V: Historiography

Mcintyre W. David

Oxford University Press

Fugitive uses of ‘Commonwealth’ for Empire-as-a-family-of countries appeared before American independence and appeared again after mid-Victorian times. The supreme irony of the Statute of Westminster Commonwealth is that it represented the antithesis of the federal ideal espoused by the popularizers of the title. In 1965, the Commonwealth Secretariat was created. The association’s co-ordination moved from Whitehall to Marlborough House in Pall Mall, and the Secretary-General took office as the servant of the Heads of Government collectively. By the early 1980s, serious analyses of the Commonwealth as an international association were providing modest but mainly positive interpretations. In 1997, the ‘Year of the Commonwealth’ in Britain, Doxey’s dictum that benefits of membership outweighed costs was attested by the expanding membership. Moreover, the developments which historians can no longer afford to neglect are shown.

Keywords:   Commonwealth, British Empire, Britain, American independence, Pall Mall, Secretary-General, Heads of Government

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