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译锐趣谈-说到美国的州,State和Commonwealth有什么区别?
发布时间:2022-03-07 作者:yirui 点击:568

Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Massachusetts share an interesting trait: They're the only four states in the U.S. that have the word commonwealth as part of their official title. The name may sound fancy, but commonwealths are no different from the 46 "regular" states that comprise the nation.

弗吉尼亚、宾夕法尼亚、肯塔基州和马萨诸塞州都有一个有趣的共同点:它们是美国唯一官方名称中带有commonwealth的四个州。尽管带有commonwealth的官方名字听起来很高端,但是其实它们和组成美国的其他46个州没有任何不同。

According to Merriam-Webster, commonwealth describes a nation, state, or other political unit "founded on law and united by compact or tacit agreement of the people for the common good." In other words, the term isn't specific to any type of centralized political organization. Rather, it can be applied to any body invested in the "common wealth" (a.k.a. well-being) of the population it governs.

根据韦氏大词典的解释,commonwealth是指为了共同的利益而根据法律建立并通过契约或人们一致同意而联合在一起的国家、州或其他政治体。换句话说,这个词并非专指任何类型的中央政治体。相反,其可以用在任何致力于实现人民“共同富裕”(又名共同幸福)的机构。

Whether or not a state was deemed a commonwealth depended on the views of its founders. The Massachusetts State Government website explains that the word commonwealth became popular during the American Revolution. When drafting Massachusetts's constitution, John Adams prized the term for its anti-monarchy and pro-democracy connotations.

一个州是否被认为是commonwealth取决于创立者的观念。根据马萨诸塞州政府网站的解释,commonwealth这个词在美国独立战争期间变得流行起来。在起草马萨诸塞州的宪法时,John Adams认为commonwealth这个词具有反君主制和亲民主的内涵。

"There is, however, a peculiar sense in which the words republic, commonwealth, popular state, are used by English and French writers; who mean by them by them a democracy [...] a single assembly, chosen at stated periods by the people," the Founding Father wrote.

建国之父写道:“英法作家们所使用的词,比如republic、commonwealth、popular state都有一层特别的含义;这层特别含义就是民主[...]一个由人民在规定时期所选出的单独的立法机构。”

His preference for commonwealth over state didn't have any greater consequences beyond semantics. The commonwealths of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Massachusetts still function as states on a political and legal level. On the flip side, the U.S. territories Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Island are commonwealths by name, but they don't have the same rights as the states that share the title.

John Adam使用commonwealth而非state的考虑仅出于语义。弗吉尼亚、宾夕法尼亚、肯塔基州和马萨诸塞州在政治和法律层面上仍然是一个州。反过来讲,美国的领土波多黎各和北马利亚纳群岛,尽管其官方名称也是commonwealth,但是其所拥有的权利却和上面四个州不同。

So in conclusion: Knowing which U.S. states are technically commonwealths is a fun piece of trivia to know for road trips, but the distinction doesn't have any impact on the people who live there.

因此,了解美国哪些州是确切意义上的commonwealth在长途旅行中是一件趣事,但是具体的区别却对生活在那里的人没有丝毫影响。


Source:Mental Floss

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