- Form of government, named for the concept that everything that is not owned by specific individuals or groups is owned collectively by everyone in the governmental unit, as opposed to a state, where the state itself owns such things.
- The Nuttall Encyclopedia
COMMONWEALTH, n. An administrative entity operated by an incalculable
multitude of political parasites, logically active but fortuitously
This commonwealth's capitol's corridors view,
So thronged with a hungry and indolent crew
Of clerks, pages, porters and all attaches
Whom rascals appoint and the populace pays
That a cat cannot slip through the thicket of shins
Nor hear its own shriek for the noise of their chins.
On clerks and on pages, and porters, and all,
Misfortune attend and disaster befall!
May life be to them a succession of hurts;
May fleas by the bushel inhabit their shirts;
May aches and diseases encamp in their bones,
Their lungs full of tubercles, bladders of stones;
May microbes, bacilli, their tissues infest,
And tapeworms securely their bowels digest;
May corn-cobs be snared without hope in their hair,
And frequent impalement their pleasure impair.
Disturbed be their dreams by the awful discourse
Of audible sofas sepulchrally hoarse,
By chairs acrobatic and wavering floors --
The mattress that kicks and the pillow that snores!
Sons of cupidity, cradled in sin!
Your criminal ranks may the death angel thin,
Avenging the friend whom I couldn't work in.
- 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue
Com"mon*wealth` (?; 277), n.
[Common + wealth well-being.] 1.
A state; a body politic consisting of a certain number of
men, united, by compact or tacit agreement, under one form of
government and system of laws.
The trappings of a monarchy would set up an
&fist; This term is applied to governments which are
considered as free or popular, but rarely, or improperly, to an
absolute government. The word signifies, strictly, the common
well-being or happiness; and hence, a form of
government in which the general welfare is regarded rather than
the welfare of any class.
2. The whole body of people in a state;
3. (Eng. Hist.) Specifically, the
form of government established on the death of Charles I., in
1649, which existed under Oliver Cromwell and his son Richard,
ending with the abdication of the latter in 1659.
Syn. -- State; realm; republic.
- Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
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