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You asked: Commonwealth title stems from colonial times under Great Britain

Published 11:05am Saturday, September 29, 2012

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You asked: Why is Virginia called a Commonwealth and what does it mean?

FRANKLIN—Rudy Edwards, who teaches Virginia and U.S. history at Franklin High School, said the word “commonwealth” comes from the time when the 13 colonies were ruled by Great Britain.

The term means “wealth and the consent of the people,” Edwards said.

Kentucky, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are also commonwealths.

Kentucky became a commonwealth because it emerged from Virginia when it was a territory in the early history of the country, he said.

Edwards also said a state is a political and geographic term, and commonwealth is dealing with the people.

As an example of the latter, Eric Cooke, the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Franklin and Southampton County, said “I do represent the people of Virginia.”

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