ship of state

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ship of state

The nation as a whole, imagined as a naval vessel. Thinking of such an arrogant buffoon at the helm of our ship of state makes me feel positively queasy. Lawmakers have spent the last four years bailing out the ship of state from sinking completely into economic disaster, so it's no wonder that there are a laundry list of social issues that need to be reexamined.
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ship of state

The nation, as in We can't help but wonder who will be steering our ship of state a hundred years from now . This metaphoric expression was first recorded in English in a translation of Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince (1675).
See also: of, ship, state

ship of state

The nation. This metaphor was used by ancient Greek poets (Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes; Sophocles, Antigone) and numerous others, so that by 1714 Jonathan Swift was writing (Imitations of Horace), “The Metaphor be worn and stale Betwixt a State, and Vessel under Sail.” It nevertheless is still used, although less often today, generally in conjunction with the idea of steering or guiding the ship (i.e., nation) by means of diplomacy or domestic policy. William Safire pointed out that in 1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent British Prime Minister Winston Churchill a poem to encourage Britain in the war against Nazi Germany: “Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State! Sail on, O union, strong and great! Humanity with all its fears, With all the hopes of future years, Is hanging breathless on thy fate” (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Building of the Ship,” 1849).
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References in periodicals archive ?
Sir Richard then dismissed the EU's ability to keep secrets, saying: "With 28 members of varying levels of professionalism in intelligence and security, the convoy must accommodate the slowest, leakiest of the ships of state. Larger powers cannot put their best intelligence material into such colanders."
Perhaps a blessing, for, as captain of one of the largest and highest spending ships of state, he will have little time to sail in to Welsh waters.
You will see among them such ships of state as Russia, China, Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Zimbabwe, hardly paragons of liberty and human rights.
The much needed economic reforms in the world's two most populous nations, one still under totalitarianism and the other under a democratic system, are slowly shifting these ships of state, like the rudder on a supertanker.
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