Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is a commonwealth vs. state? Is Virginia
a state or a commonwealth?
How many commonwealth states do we have in the U.S.?
There is no difference between a commonwealth
and a state in the U.S. To Locke, Hobbes, and other 17th-century writers
the term "commonwealth" meant an organized political community
-- what we today call a "state." Officially Pennsylvania,
Kentucky, Virginia, and Massachusetts are all commonwealths. When
Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Virginia, and Massachusetts became part of
the United States, they merely took the old form of state in their
Today, commonwealth also means a political unit
having local autonomy but voluntarily united with the U.S. These are
Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands.
2. Where can I find information on my state
or local government?
You can find this information through Quick
Facts About Your State on Ben's Guide. Choose your state
from the map and you will then find a link to each state's official
Web site and kids page (if available).