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The Massachusetts Flag

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The coat of arms of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts consists of a blue shield with an Algonquin Native American on it. The Indian is dressed in a shirt, leggings and moccasins. He holds a gold bow in one hand and a gold arrow in the other hand. The point of the arrow is pointed down. In the upper right hand corner of the shield is a silver five-pointed star. Above the shield on a gold wreath is a right arm, bent at the elbow and grasping a gold broadsword. The motto of the Commonwealth is printed in gold on the blue ribbon partially surrounding the blue shield.

The shield of blue represents the Blue Hills of Canton and Milton, Massachusetts. The Indian depicted on the shield, Massachuset, is shown carrying the arrow with its tip pointed downward to indicate a friendly demeanor. The silver star of the coat of arms is designated as white (instead of silver) for the flag and represents Massachusetts as one of the thirteen original colonies of the United States.

The motto of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem, is printed in gold on a blue ribbon. It can be translated as "By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty." This motto is supported by the ruffle sleeved arm grasping a sword that is depicted above the shield.

Click on any topic at the left to view details and information.

Why Massachusetts is a Commonwealth

From 1776 to 1780 the words "State of Massachusetts Bay" appeared on the top of all acts and resolves. In 1780, the Massachusetts Constitution went into effect. Part Two of the Constitution, under the heading "Frame of Government" states: "that the people ... form themselves into a free, sovereign, and independent body politic, or state by the name of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts." Virginia (on June 29, 1776) and Pennsylvania (on September 25, 1776) adopted Constitutions which called their respective states commonwealths. Kentucky is also a commonwealth. Commonwealths are states, but the reverse is not true. Legally, we are a commonwealth because the term is contained in the Constitution.

In the era leading to 1780, a popular term for a whole body of people constituting a nation or state (the body politic) was the word "Commonwealth." This term was the preferred usage of some political writers. There also may have been some anti-monarchial sentiment in using the word commonwealth. John Adams utilized this term when framing the Massachusetts Constitution.

Adams wrote: "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 a democracy, a government in one centre, and that centre a single assembly, chosen at stated periods by the people and invested with the whole sovereignty, the whole legislative, executive and judicial power to be included in a body or by committees as they shall think proper." (John Adams. Life and Works, vol. 5, p. 454)

List Massachusetts State Senator
  Thomas M. McGee | 3rd Essex
Profile

State House Room 109C

Boston, MA 02133
Phone: (617) 722-1350
E-Mail: Thomas.McGee@masenate.gov
Party Affiliation - Democrat
List Massachusetts State Representatives
 

Daniel Cahill | 10th Essex
Profile

State House District Office

Room 527 A
Boston, MA 02133
Phone: (617) 722-2020| Local Office:
Fax:
E-Mail: Dan.Cahill@mahouse.gov
Party Affiliation - Democrat

 
  Brendan Crighton | 11th Essex
Profile

State House District Office

Room 130
Boston, MA 02133
Phone: (617) 722-2130
Fax:
Email: brendan.crighton@mahouse.gov
Party Affiliation - Democrat
 
  Donald H. Wong | 9th Essex
Profile

State House District Office

Room 542
Boston, MA 02133
Phone: (617)722-2488 - (781) 231-8041
Fax: (617)626-0299
E-Mail: Donald.Wong@mahouse.gov
Party Affiliation - Republican
 
  Lori Ehrlich | 8Th Essex
Profile

State House District Office

Room 39
Boston, MA 02133
Phone: (617) 722-2014
Fax:
Email: Lori.Ehrlich@mahouse.gov
Party Affiliation -Democrat
List United States Congressman
  Seth Moulton | 6th District

Salem District Office

-21 Front Street
-Salem, MA 01970
-Phone: (978) 531-1669
-Fax: (978) 224-2270

Washington Office
-1408 Longworth House Office Building
-Washington, DC 20515
-Phone: (202) 225-8020
-Fax: (202) 225-5915

Website: http://moulton.house.gov/
Party Affiliation - Democrat
List United States Senators
 

Elizabeth Warren

Massachusetts Office

-2400 JFK Building
-15 New Sudbury Strret
-Boston, MA 02203
-Phone: (617) 565-3170

Springfield MA Office
-1550 Main Street
-Suite 406
-Springfield, MA 01103
-Phone: (413) 788-2690

Washington, DC Office
-317 Hart Senate Office Building
-Washington, DC 20510
-Phone: 202-224-4543

Website: http://www.warren.senate.gov/
Party Affiliation - Democrat

 
  Edward Markey

Massachusetts Office
-975 JFK Building
-15 New Sudbury Strret
-Boston, MA 02203
-Phone: (617) 565-8519

Washington, DC Office

-218 Russell Courtyard
-Washington, DC 20510
-Phone: (202) 224-2742
Website: http://www.markey.senate.gov/
Party Affiliation - Democrat
 

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