- Historical event:
- 9 September 1791
- The cult of personality of President George Washington was so strong that the new capital of the United States was named after him during his presidency. Some accused Washington of ruling like a monarch, and had flashes of regret for George III, who had been deposed.
The capital of the United States was named after George Washington on this day in 1791.
He was even accused of using the American War of Independence to replace the British king i.e. to rule the USA as a monarch.
George Washington was the first President of the United States, a general and a military leader who won the War of Independence.
When the leaders of the new nation were deciding about the capital of the newly independent state, Washington used his influence, and the town of Alexandria also became “part” of the capital.
In fact, Washington’s residence was located there. He owned a house and a plantation (Mount Vernon).
The procedure was very interesting. The former capital was Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The politicians didn’t want the capital to be part of any state, but part of the neutral territory.
They decided the existing states would cede their territories, and a neutral district would be established (District of Columbia or D.C.).
Maryland and Virginia ceded exactly 100 square miles on both sides of the Potomac River. The new monumental city was built.
But slave owners in Virginia feared that the federal government would abolish slavery on their land. They asked the Virginian authorities to withdraw the grant and return the land to Virginia.
It is interesting to note that this was actually done. The state of Virginia took its part of the District of Columbia, so Washington, D.C. only owned the land which was donated by the state of Maryland.
Therefore, the present-day District of Columbia does not have 100, but only 68.3 square miles.
It is interesting to note that only one U.S. state gave the whole of the envisioned territory to the capital – the state of Maryland.
The state was named after the Blessed Virgin Mary, and it was founded by Lord Baltimore, who was an English aristocrat and a Catholic.