Why is PA the Keystone State?

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Pennsylvania’s nickname, Keystone State, may have originated from its key vote for independence or its location among the original 13 states. A keystone is a central wedge in an arch, and Pennsylvania has been called the “keystone of the federal union.” The state also has other nicknames, including Quaker State, Steel State, Chocolate State, Oil State, and Coal State.

Every US state has at least one state nickname. One of Pennsylvania’s nicknames is Keystone State. While no one knows the exact reason behind Pennsylvania’s nickname the Keystone State, many people believe that it arose from Pennsylvania’s key vote to move states towards independence from Great Britain. Other people believe it refers to Pennsylvania’s geographic location. Regardless, Keystone State has been one of Pennsylvania’s accepted nicknames since the 1800s.

It might be helpful to understand what a keystone is before delving into the reasons behind Pennsylvania’s nickname as the Keystone State. A keystone is the major central wedge in an architectural arch. It is the piece that locks all the other pieces in place – all pieces depend on the keystone and without the keystone the arch would collapse. The common theme among all the reasons for naming Pennsylvania Keystone State is related to this piece of media.

Some people believe that the nickname, Keystone State, originated from the time when states voted for their independence from Great Britain. Pennsylvania had nine delegates to the Continental Congress. Some sources claim that Pennsylvania’s delegates were divided: four delegates were for independence and four delegates were against going independent. The final vote went to John Morton, who voted for independence. His vote, and consequently Pennsylvania’s vote for independence, has been called the capstone vote or vote in support of the new government.

Pennsylvania’s nickname was reportedly used in a toast during his victory speech when Republican presidential candidate, Thomas Jefferson defeated his Democratic rival. He referred to the state as the “keystone of the federal union” in 1802. One newspaper claimed that Pennsylvania was a “keystone of the democratic arch” in 1803. Even in modern times, Pennsylvania is believed to have has an impact on politics in the United States by many people.

Some people believe that Pennsylvania’s nickname originated solely based on its location among the original 13 colonial states. There were six states above and six states below Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania was the state that literally held the other 12 states together, just like the keystone holds an arch together.

Pennsylvania has many other nicknames as well. Many people call it Quaker State because it was originally founded by William Penn, a Quaker. He moved to Pennsylvania to avoid hostility towards his religious beliefs. It has also been nicknamed Steel State, Chocolate State, Oil State and Coal State based on the industries prevalent in Pennsylvania at various times in history.

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