The Walking Dead's Commonwealth Community, Explained

"We're civilization. It's back. You're welcome," asserts Governor Milton when introducing her community of 50,000 survivors in the pages of The Walking Dead. Welcome to the Commonwealth. In the comics, Eugene and Michonne lead the cross-country expedition that encounters the advanced community in Volume 30: New World Order. Journeying to Ohio to meet Stephanie, Eugene's group of Michonne, Magna, Yumiko, Siddiq, and Princess are apprehended and processed by the white-armored soldiers of the Commonwealth Army. Deputy Governor Lance Hornsby brings the Alexandria delegation to the network of settlements under the governorship of Pamela Milton, who believes in restoring order to the chaos as leader of the Commonwealth.

Approximately 50,000 members strong, the Commonwealth is the largest community in The Walking Dead comics. Its citizens have access to advanced resources and pre-apocalypse amenities, including bakeries and a functioning sports arena, but their society enforces a class system favoring the upper class. 

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(Photo: Image Comics)

The most privileged are the aristocratic Milton family, especially the snobbish and spoiled Sebastian Milton

Michonne's long-lost daughter, Commonwealth resident Elodie, explains how the class system works: citizens receive employment assignments based on their status and professions before the fall. Governor Milton equates civilization as a machine and believes this system brings the order required to rebuild. 

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(Photo: Image Comics)

When Eugene leads Governor Milton's delegation to the Alexandria Safe-Zone to meet with Rick Grimes, the governor arrives with a squadron of the armored troopers under the command of Officer Mercer. The meeting is peaceful, but the leaders don't see eye to eye over the new world: Rick argues for democracy and equality, Governor Milton for the unfair and unequal world order.

"Then maybe we need a new world order," says Rick, who goes on to lead the movement against the rotten core of the Commonwealth. When Mercer rallies his soldiers in a revolt to establish better leadership for the Commonwealth, Rick calls for peace and prevents a civil war between the divided citizens of the Commonwealth.

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(Photo: Image Comics)

Ultimately, Rick Grimes inspires the citizens of the Commonwealth to oust the elite Miltons and work together for a future that's fair for all. "We are not the walking dead," Rick says in a speech ushering in the new world. Decades later, Maggie Greene serves as the elected leader of Commonwealth One, now the capital of the expanded Commonwealth across the Eastern United States. 

The Walking Dead: The Final Season returns with new episodes February 20 on AMC. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter and @NewsOfTheDead for The Walking Dead Universe coverage all season long.