Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Massachusetts--What's in a Name?

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has had many names. It started out as the Massachusetts Bay Colony because of the Massachusetts Bay Charter. At some point it is referred to as a Province. If you look at the top of the page in the Acts and Resolves of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, it changes from a colony to a state on August 28, 1776. Later it became a commonwealth as it is called in the Constitution. The word commonwealth was used previously as evidenced by the use of this term in “The Capitall Lawes of New England” in 1642. (Harts, Commonwealth History…) All commonwealths are states. Kentucky Pennsylvania and Virginia are also Commonwealths.

Sources include:

  • Hart, Albert Bushnell. Commonwealth History of Massachusetts

  • Secretary of State’s Massachusetts Facts: a review of the government, and symbols of the Commonwealth

  • Acts and Resolves of the Province of Massachusetts Bay

  • Massachusetts Constitution