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Pamphlet Series of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Division of International Law

No. 33

AUTONOMY AND FEDERATION

WITHIN EMPIRE

THE BRITISH SELF-GOVERNING

DOMINIONS

PREPARED UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF

JAMES BROWN SCOTT

Director of the Division of International Law of the Carnegie Endowment

for International Peace

PUBLISHED BY THE ENDOWMENT

WASHINGTON

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PREFACE

WHILE the political experiences of other peoples might yield material of value for the student of the problem of autonomy within empire, it is safe to say that in no empire or kingdom has the evolution of the relation under examination been as consistent in time, uniform in its various local manifestations, deliberate in purpose and—as it now appears, in looking back over the process—as archetypical as it has been in the British imperial commonwealth. Hence it has seemed wise to confine the exhibits of evidence on this question to “the Dominions,” as recognized by that title and listed by name in 1914 in the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act.

There is a wealth of material upon the political development of the Dominions to which a useful guide, to be described later, has been compiled but which in spite of all is rather cumbersome and uneven in its utility. A selection has therefore been made bearing upon the following points: the grant of local constitutions to single colonies by imperial statute, the erection of a system of ministerial responsibility upon the basis of the existing constitution in a single colony, the federation of groups of single colonies into unions under constitutions enacted by imperial statute (as well as the amendment of such constitutions by imperial legislation), constitutions which in all cases carried in their provisions that system of ministerial responsibility already obtaining in the colonies assembled in the larger union, and, finally, direct legislation by the imperial legislature for the Dominions—with certain degrees of option and freedom

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