Washington D.C. has the distinction of being the capital of the United States. It has a rich heritage that showcases the beliefs and values on which the nation was founded. Many changes have occurred in the capital, since it was constructed. A brief history of its beginnings is outlined below.
In July of 1790, the Resident Act was passed by congress. This act approved the creation of the nation’s capital on the Potomac River. President George Washington was charged with identifying the exact location along the Potomac River on which the capital would be built. The land along the Potomac had been donated by the states of Virginia and Maryland.
The location that George Washington chose was on the north bank of the Potomac River. The three men who were commissioned to oversee the construction of the capital, named the city in honor of the president.
The capital has seen its fair share of hard times. August 24, 1814, turned out to be a significant day in Washington’s history as it was raided in what became known as the Burning of Washington. The burning of Washington was carried out by British forces. The White House and Treasury were burned during the invasion. After the invasion the government sprang into action and quickly rebuilt these buildings.
The year 1870, saw a population growth of about 75%. The city had grown tremendously but it still did not have proper sanitation or good roads. In fact, many areas still had dirt roads. Due to lack of infrastructural development, some members of congress wanted to move the capital a little further west. However, then president Ulysses Grant refused to consider it.
Washington did begin to see development in the years that followed and in 1888 motorized streetcars were introduced. Needless to say the availability of transportation caused even more growth and development. Urban renewal projects began in order to make the city more beautiful.
In the 1930’s many of the buildings that now make up the capital were built. That period saw many memorials, government buildings and museums being constructed. In the following decades the number of federal workers began to increase. World War II also led to the employment of many these new workers. In the 1950’s the population reached one of its highest levels with about 802,000 people calling Washington D.C home.
Today, Washington D.C. is still the capital of the United States and it remains a symbol of national pride for people of the United States of America.