History of District of Columbia

History of District of Columbia

The history of the District of Columbia is as unique and diversified as the country itself. Washington D.C. was created out of a backroom deal between two founding fathers. Today, it is one of the great patriotic and historic cities in America.

The history of the District of Columbia starts in a troubled and uncertain time for America. After the Revolutionary War, America was floundering under crushing war debt. Alexander Hamilton was named Secretary of the Treasury under the newly formed government of President George Washington. Today you might better recognize him as the guy on the $10 bill. Hamilton knew that all of the 13 states had massive debt and the best way that debt can be managed is by the Federal government. He thought all this debt should be taken in or assumed by the newly formed federal government.

Hamilton's rival in all of this was Thomas Jefferson. Perhaps you have heard of him? He was the writer of the Declaration of Independence and eventually the third President of the United States. But during this time of his life he was the Secretary of State and he did not like Hamilton's idea of the federal government assuming the debt. Jefferson feared that this would make the Federal government way too powerful.

At the same time, many southerners were concerned that the capital of the United States was in Philadelphia and perhaps it would better serve the whole country if it were moved to a more southern location. The battle between assuming the debt and movement of the capital opened the door to one of America's great compromises.

One night Jefferson and Hamilton decided to have dinner. Jefferson, a southerner, wanted the capital to be placed near his home state of Virginia. Hamilton continued to push for assumption of the federal debt. The two decided to compromise. In exchange for Jefferson supporting assumption, Hamilton would support moving the nation's capital to the District of Columbia. The rest, as they say, is history.
To learn more interesting facts about the District of Columbia or to plan a trip, go to www.districtofcolumbia.com.

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