Why is Pennsylvania a Commonwealth and not a state?
closed as off-topic by Semaphore♦, jwenting, Mark C. Wallace♦, Tom Au, DVK Nov 12 '14 at 19:29
This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:
- "Requests for trivia or basic historical facts are off-topic if they can be easily answered by looking up the relevant topic on Wikipedia. We're trying to complement common historical references, not duplicate them." – Semaphore, jwenting, Mark C. Wallace, Tom Au, DVK
The founders of the Pennsylvania colony (and Massachusetts, Virginia and Kentucky for that matter) were inspired by the writings of English philosophers like John Locke and Thomas Hobbes; and so emphasised that their colony's authority derived from the people by formally calling themselves a Commonwealth.
This wasn't necessarily different from other states that chose call themselves Republics (like Vermont Republic) or Provinces (like Province of New Hampshire) or Colonies (like Delaware Colony) prior to the creation of the United States.