Why Do States Have Capital Cities When The Nation Has A Capital Too?

Most Americans know that the nation has a capital. That is Washington, D.C. It’s also known as the district of Columbia. This place is home to the White House, where the President lives and governs, and it’s also where you would find the head of the judicial branches, the Supreme Court, as well as both houses of the legislative body of Congress, the Senate and House of Representatives, residing on Capital Hill.

All 50 states have their own capitals too, and some might wonder why the states need their own capital cities when the nation at large has its own capital. Even territories like Puerto Rico have a capital city. But why? Well, simply put, for the same reason that the nation has its own capital city.

It just makes life much easier and simpler for the heads of various government branches and departments to all be centered in one area. A lot of this traces back to a time before there were phone lines, cars, or the Internet, which somewhat decreases the need for such centralization, but back then, if people needed to do business with one another, they had to be in the same proximity or area. That meant one single city.

All fifty states have governors heading up their executive branches. Each state also has a legislature that passes the budgets the states operate under, confirming state cabinet and judicial appointments, and passing the laws that govern that state in matters not already decided by federal law. Having said that, some states have unicameral legislatures, and others are bicameral or multi-cameral. The variations in state governments are another reason why there are so many different state capital cities around the nation.

Every state also has its own judicial system based in its capital city.