What is a Commonwealth
Commonwealth in the simplest of forms can be defined as a political state formed for the common good or benefit of the people. This can be a state or nations that come together for the common benefit of all the nations available in the alliance. In later years the term commonwealth was being used as a phrase that describes a state where the supreme power lies in the hands of the general public.
It is not necessary that a commonwealth has a same or similar type of government. The government of all the nations involved can be different. They can be ranging from a monarchy to a democratic government. But the ultimate aim of all of these would be overall benefit of the public.
One of the biggest commonwealths in the world is the Commonwealth of Nations. This commonwealth refers to the nations that have been formerly a part of the British Empire. It is headed by Queen Elizabeth II. But each of the nations have their own self governance. This commonwealth has about fifty three nations as the members.
This commonwealth works together for the benefits of the member nations towards better governance and human rights in their respective countries. All the countries have varied backgrounds, be it socially, economically or politically. The only thing similar in all these nations would probably be the historical background that they come from.
The second large commonwealth in the world is the countries that belonged to the former USSR. This is called the commonwealth of independent states. These are now broken into ten nations which are bound together as a commonwealth. This kind of commonwealth gives the smaller counties the security against the bigger powers. Though all the powers cannot be combined yet the small nations feel secure being a part of a commonwealth.
This commonwealth is a very loose alliance and do not hold much powers. But to the extent of inter border security and law making within these nations theses countries help each other to a large extent. The main aim of a commonwealth of providing common good is surely fulfilled by this commonwealth. They do not hold a very strong political power though.
With reference to United States of America, commonwealth is referred to as the four states of the USA that consider themselves to be the commonwealth. Technically there would be no difference between a state and a commonwealth, but these four states, that is Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Massachusetts have chosen to continue with their former names only. Therefore in the United States the words commonwealth and state are often used interchangeably.