1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Commune

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COMMUNE (Med. Lat. communia, Lat. communis, common), in its most general sense, a group of persons acting together for purposes of self-government, especially in towns. (See Borough, and Commune, Medieval, below.) “Commune” (Fr. commune, Ital. comune, Ger. Gemeinde, &c.) is now the term generally applied to the smallest administrative division in many European countries. (See the sections dealing with the administration of these countries under their several headings.) “The Commune” is the name given to the period of the history of Paris from March 18 to May 28, 1871, during which the commune of Paris attempted to set up its authority against the National Assembly at Versailles. It was a political movement, intended to replace the centralized national organization by one based on a federation of communes. Hence the “communists” were also called “federalists.” It had nothing to do with the social theories of Communism (q.v.). (See France: History.)