Commonwealth is a term used by four of the 50 states of the United States in their full official state names. "Commonwealth" is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good.The four states – Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia – are all in the Eastern United States, and prior to the formation of the United States in 1776, were British colonial possessions (although Kentucky did not exist as an independent polity under British rule, instead being a part of Virginia). As such, they share a strong influence of English common law in some of their laws and institutions. However, the "commonwealth" appellation has no legal or political significance, and it does not make "commonwealth" states any different from other U.S. states.
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The term "commonwealth" does not describe or provide for any specific political status or legal relationship when used by a state.Those that do use it are equal to those that do not. A traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good, it is used symbolically to emphasize that these states have a "government based on the common consent of the people" as opposed to the British crown. It refers to the common "wealth", or welfare, of the public and is derived from a loose translation of the Latin term res publica . Premodern English used the alternative term "commonwealth" in such sense in place of the now singularly standard term "republic".
Criminal charges in these four states are brought in the name of the Commonwealth.
Besides the four aforementioned states, other states have also on occasion used the term commonwealth to refer to themselves:
Two U.S. territories are also designated as commonwealths: Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands. When used in connection with areas under U.S. sovereignty that are not states, the term broadly describes an area that is self-governing under a constitution of its own adoption and whose right of self-government will not be unilaterally withdrawn by the United States Congress.
On September 28, 1786, the residents of Kentucky County began petitioning the Virginia legislature for permission to become a "free and independent state, to be known by the name of the Commonwealth of Kentucky".On June 1, 1792, Kentucky County officially became a state. As in Virginia, the official title of the elected local prosecutor in each of Kentucky's political subdivisions is the Commonwealth's Attorney, as opposed to State's Attorney in other states or the more standard District Attorney. Kentucky is the only state outside of the original Thirteen Colonies that uses commonwealth in its name.
Massachusetts is officially named The Commonwealth of Massachusetts by its constitution. The name State of Massachusetts Bay was used in all acts and resolves up to 1780 and in the first draft of the constitution. The current name can be traced to the second draft of the state constitution, which was written by John Adams and ratified in 1780.
In Massachusetts, the term State is occasionally used in an official manner, usually in a compound structure rather than as a standalone noun. This is evident in the names of the Massachusetts State Police, the Massachusetts State House, and the Bridgewater State Hospital.
The Seal of Pennsylvania does not use the term, but legal processes are in the name of the Commonwealth, and it is a traditional official designation used in referring to the state. In 1776, Pennsylvania's first state constitution referred to it as both Commonwealth and State, a pattern of usage that was perpetuated in the constitutions of 1790, 1838, 1874, and 1968.One of Pennsylvania's two intermediate appellate courts is called the Commonwealth Court.
The name Commonwealth of Virginia dates back to its independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Virginia's first constitution (adopted on June 29, 1776) directed that "Commissions and Grants shall run, In the Name of the commonwealth of Virginia, and bear test by the Governor with the Seal of the Commonwealth annexed." The Secretary of the Commonwealth still issues commissions in this manner.
Among other references, the constitution furthermore dictated that criminal indictments were to conclude "against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth". Additionally, the official title of the elected local prosecutor in each of Virginia's political subdivisions is the Commonwealth's Attorney, as opposed to State's Attorney in other states or the more standard District Attorney.
In Virginia, the term state is sometimes used in an official manner, usually in a compound structure rather than as a standalone noun. This is evident in the names of the Virginia State Corporation Commission, the Virginia State Police, and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. The state university in Richmond is known as Virginia Commonwealth University; there is also a Virginia State University, located in Ettrick.
A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good. Historically, it has been synonymous with "republic". The noun "commonwealth", meaning "public welfare, general good or advantage", dates from the 15th century. Originally a phrase, it comes from the old meaning of "wealth", which is "well-being", and is itself a loose translation of the Latin res publica (republic). The term literally meant "common well-being". In the 17th century, the definition of "commonwealth" expanded from its original sense of "public welfare" or "commonweal" to mean "a state in which the supreme power is vested in the people; a republic or democratic state".
In the United States, a state supreme court is the highest court in the state judiciary of a U.S. state. On matters of state law, the judgment of a state supreme court is considered final and binding in both state and federal courts.
In the United States, a district attorney (DA), county attorney, state's attorney, prosecuting attorney,commonwealth's attorney, or state attorney is the chief prosecutor and/or chief law enforcement officer representing a U.S. state in a local government area, typically a county or a group of counties. The exact name and scope of the office varies by state. Alternative titles for the office include county attorney, solicitor, or county prosecutor.
The Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776 was the state's first constitution following their declaration of independence and has been described as the most democratic in America; although it notably based rights in "men" not in "persons," as contemporaneous constitutions did in neighboring areas such as New Jersey, and as the 1689 English Bill of Rights and 1787 U.S. Constitution and 1791 U.S. Bill of Rights did. It was drafted by Robert Whitehill, Timothy Matlack, Dr. Thomas Young, George Bryan, James Cannon, and Benjamin Franklin. Pennsylvania's innovative and highly democratic government structure, featuring a unicameral legislature and collective executive, may have influenced the later French Republic's formation under the French Constitution of 1793. The constitution also included a declaration of rights that coincided with the Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776.
A prosecutor is a legal representative of the prosecution in states with either the common law adversarial system or the civil law inquisitorial system. The prosecution is the legal party responsible for presenting the case in a criminal trial against an individual accused of breaking the law. Typically, the prosecutor represents the state or the government in the case brought against the accused person.
In the United States, state law refers to the law of each separate U.S. state.
In the United States, each state has its own written constitution.
A people is any plurality of persons considered as a whole.
In the United States, term limits, also referred to as rotation in office, restrict the number of terms of office an officeholder may serve. At the federal level, the 22nd Amendment to the United States Constitution limits the president of the United States to two four-year terms. State government offices in some, but not all, states are term-limited, including executive, legislative, and judicial offices.
The United States Bill of Rights comprises the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. Proposed following the often bitter 1787–88 debate over the ratification of the Constitution and written to address the objections raised by Anti-Federalists, the Bill of Rights amendments add to the Constitution specific guarantees of personal freedoms and rights, clear limitations on the government's power in judicial and other proceedings, and explicit declarations that all powers not specifically granted to the federal government by the Constitution are reserved to the states or the people. The concepts codified in these amendments are built upon those in earlier documents, especially the Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776), as well as the Northwest Ordinance (1787), the English Bill of Rights (1689), and Magna Carta (1215).
Commonwealth is an English term meaning a political community, usually used in reference to the Commonwealth of Nations.
Nullification, in United States constitutional history, is a legal theory that a state has the right to nullify, or invalidate, any federal laws which they deem unconstitutional with respect to the United States Constitution. There are similar theories that any officer, jury, or individual may do the same. The theory of state nullification has never been legally upheld by federal courts, although jury nullification has.
State governments of the United States are institutional units exercising functions of government at a level below that of the federal government. Each U.S. State's government holds legislative, executive, and judicial authority over a defined geographic territory. The United States comprises 50 States: 9 of the Thirteen Colonies that were already part of the United States at the time the present Constitution took effect in 1789, 4 that ratified the Constitution after its commencement, plus 37 that have been admitted since by Congress as authorized under Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution.
In the context of the United States, secession primarily refers to the voluntary withdrawal of one or more states from the Union that constitutes the United States; but may loosely refer to leaving a state or territory to form a separate territory or new state, or to the severing of an area from a city or county within a state. Advocates for secession are called disunionists by their contemporaries in various historical documents.
In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory where it shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders.
The phrase law of the land is a legal term, equivalent to the Latin lex terrae, or legem terrae in the accusative case. It refers to all of the laws in force within a country or region, including statute law and case-made law.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the United States Commonwealth of Kentucky:
In the United States, each state and territory has constitutional officers who lead the state governments of the United States. These officers may be elected or appointed, depending on the position. The number and powers of state constitutional officers varies from state to state, based on the constitution and statutes of each state. State constitutional officers may reside in the executive or legislative branch, while state constitutions also establish the judicial system of the state, including state supreme courts.
The history of concealed carry in the United States is the history of public opinion, policy, and law regarding the practice of carrying concealed firearms, especially handguns.