History of the People Noun
A people is any population of people regarded collectively as a whole with an identity. A people exists as part of a group or society and tends to group together in a specific way based on their traditions, values and culture. The word came from the Latin word “people” which means a gathering or community. People can also be understood as members of a political community or race. In more modern times the word is used to refer to groups of people who share common cultural traits.
The singular word person in English is man, which refers to every single human being, male or female, however people can be classified by the language we speak. Persons can be categorized into a few different categories based on their nationality or descent such as white people in English, black people in England, Chinese people in China, North Americans in America and Indians in America. Within each of these groups of people there are sub-categories of people such as Indian men, Chinese women and white men in America among others. Black people in America are often grouped with white people although sometimes separately such as in Ireland where Irish and white men are considered one people due to common ancestry from Ireland.
It was the Roman government under Julius Caesar that first introduced the concept of the people into terminology. This terminology gave an expanded view of citizenship in the Roman political arena along with the right to join one of the numerous factions available to the plebs who were also allowed to choose a leader for a particular cause. As the language became more standardized across the Roman Empire and then into European countries it became necessary to standardize the spelling of certain terms including the plural peoples of the continent.
The concept of the people became central to political discussions even where it is barely understood by today’s standards in the English-speaking world. For example, the French revolutionists opposed the absolute rule of the Roman Emperor because the word people, for them, meant individuals with a separate social status from the aristocracy which was linked to the privileges of the elite. A major role in the French anti-imperialist struggle was played by the Sorbonne, a prestigious intellectual school that spread its influence throughout Europe, especially in France, Germany and Italy.
In modern times the concept of the people has been used in the context of identifying national identities in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada where many First World migrants and their descendants have been politically categorized as having minority cultures and origins. The same goes for the United States when citizens have been identified as having different ethnic groups or ethnic origins. The same applies to the concept of the indigenous peoples of the world as it has been used by indigenous peoples historically and presently in their fight against colonizers bothamericans and Europeans.
In etymology, the term people comes from a Latin verb meaning “to form.” The root word for the verb is “Puere” which has the meaning of “to shape.” So from this verb, “to shape” has been derived to mean “person” and “shape.” This root word then became the source for the modern term “persons” which today means people. Using this etymology, the Government of Canada has identified over 1.5 million unique Canadian first and middle names, making it the most common name in the country.