Four of the constituent states
of the United States
officially designate themselves Commonwealths
,Third Constitution of Kentucky (1850), Article 2, Section 1 ff.
Other portions of the same Constitution refer to the "State of Kentucky". Massachusetts
This designation, which has no constitutional impact, emphasizes that they have a "government based on the common consent of the people"See
"Commonwealth", The Columbia Encyclopedia
, Sixth Edition, 2001-07. as opposed to one legitimized through their earlier Royal Colony
status that was derived from the King of Great Britain
. The word commonwealth
in this context refers to the common "wealth", or welfare, of the publicThe American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language
, Fourth Edition, 2000. and is derived from a loose translation of the Latin term res publica
the 17th century Commonwealth of England
). The use of the term also derives from the use of English common law in the North American colonies. Some vestiges of the influence of common law can still be found in some legal concepts and principles in the Commonwealths, particularly in Virginia with its......