Creation of Washington, D.C.: How war debts, states’ rights, and a dinner table bargain created the capital

Superb piece by Jessie Romero:

By the summer of 1783, soldiers in the Continental Army were fed up. The British army had surrendered at Yorktown, Va., two years earlier, effectively ending the Revolutionary War, but soldiers remained on duty while treaty negotiations dragged on in Paris. They hadn’t been paid in full for their service in years, and when the Continental Congress passed legislation furloughing them, they suspected they never would be. On June 21, around 400 angry members of the Pennsylvania militia surrounded the building in Philadelphia where the Congress met, scaring off so many delegates that legislators failed to achieve a quorum. Alexander Hamilton and other congressional leaders urged Pennsylvania’s government to send in friendlier troops for protection, but the state refused. The next day, the Congress announced it was abandoning Philadelphia in favor of Princeton, N.J.

Over the next few years, legislators would meet in Annapolis, Md., Trenton, N.J., and New York City. In 1788, the Constitution gave Congress the power to establish a permanent home for the federal government, but there was considerable disagreement among the states’ delegates about where that home should be. Eventually, the debate would become entangled with arguments about the nation’s finances, reflecting deep philosophical divides between the country’s founders. The compromise that was eventually reached in 1790, which created a new district on the banks of the Potomac River, had long-lasting political and economic repercussions for the region and for the country.

How Washington, Jefferson and Hamilton navigated through the political economy of those times..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: