Commonwealth

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COMMONWEALTH, government. A commonwealth is properly a free state, or republic, having a popular or representative government. The term has been, applied to the government of Great Britain. It is not applicable to absolute governments. The states composing the United States are, properly, so many commonwealths.
     2. It is a settled principle, that no sovereign power is amenable to answer suits, either in its own courts or in those of a foreign country, unless by its own consent. 4 Yeates, 494.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.