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Sep 30, 2011 by khristine
Difference between commonwealth and state
When referring to US territories, it is by fact that there are only four known commonwealths in the country out of its fifty federated states. The four known commonwealths are Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The rest, they are called states.
But, is there really a difference between commonwealth and state? In this case, there is none. Commonwealth is simply just the former title used to refer to what is now known as states. It is viewed that the reason behind why the four states chose to retain its former status, together with their names, is to remind its citizen and the rest of the people that they are politically independent and a generally free state which is no longer ruled by any king or monarchy. They want to be regarded as ruled by the common concession of the people which mainly stands for what the term commonwealth is really all about.
A commonwealth may also refer to an independent state with voluntary affiliation to the US such as the statuses of Northern Marianas and Puerto Rico. Both commonwealth of Puerto Rico and Northern Marianas gets to enjoy assurance, protection, and certain (not all) political rights under the decree of the US Constitution.
Looking in a different way, a commonwealth may only be defined politically which primarily refers to a political system that is governed and controlled by elected individuals to represent the people as a whole. A state, on the other hand, is politically defined as a territory that is occupied by a community or a kind of an autonomous political influence.
However, the term “state” also has different connotations. It may mean a condition or status of a thing or person pertaining to one’s attributes or situation according to dictionaries. A state may also refer to person’s rank or position in life, a mental or emotional condition, and the likes.
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