Given the basic legal status of local governments, even the freest local unit is still subject to considerable state control – if the state chooses to exercise its control. States, however, have often chosen not to exercise the full extent of their powers and have given localities considerable leeway to act on their own. Among the forces that help account for this have been a general cultural attachment to the idea of local home rule (and through it the values of self-government, self-determination, and self-sufficiency), the local orientation of state legislators, the political influence of local governments in the state political system, and, simply, the practical limit on the number of localities and activities that can be supervised by the states. Home rule is not just a legal concept, but a state of mind, a political force, setting a goal and providing an argument commonly heard in political as well as legal disputes.