The Washingtonians Who Fought to Keep Their City as the Nation’s Capital

Rivalries Over Its Political Symbolism, and Damage From the War of 1812, Nearly Destroyed the City

As the national capital, Washington, D.C. always has carried special meaning—representing both the federal government and the United States as a whole. No matter how Americans might feel about the state of the nation at any given time, they typically respect and revere the city—visiting on vacations and school trips by the millions each year.

Many might be surprised to learn, therefore, that at one particularly precarious point in the city’s history during the War of 1812, Congress seriously debated abandoning the site and moving the capital to another location. …

Why Washington, D.C., Is the Most Undemocratic of Capitals

The City's Slaveholding Past, and Disenfranchised Present, Make Its Residents Dependents, Not Citizens

Every year about 20 million tourists come to Washington, D.C., to visit the marble monuments of American freedom and democracy. Few of them, however, realize that the 680,000 permanent residents …