dominion status

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dominion status was the term chosen to describe the position of the self-governing member states of the inter-war Commonwealth. They were to be regarded, proclaimed the 1926 imperial conference, as ‘autonomous communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, although united by a common allegiance to the Crown and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations’ (italics added). That was necessary to their self-respect. After 1947, however, when India entered the club, even that was felt to be inadequate, and the word ‘dominion’ was quietly dropped, as implying—despite Britain's disavowals—a certain subordination to her.

Bernard Porter

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dominion status

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