Why Isn’t Washington, D.C., A State?
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as “Washington”, “the District”, or simply “D.C.”, is the tiny part of the United States that is set apart as the national capital. The District of Columbia is not a state. Rather, it is 67 square miles of property belonging to the national government.
This stresses the fact that Washington is the capital of all the people, not just the people of a certain state. The city is named in honor of George Washington, the first president of the United States, and the district is named for Christopher Columbus. Washington, D.C., is located on the eastern bank of the Potomac River, between Maryland and Virginia.
The signing of the Residence Act on July 16, 1790, approved the creation of a capital district. The U.S. Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress and the District is therefore not a part of any U.S. state.
The states of Maryland and Virginia each donated land to form the federal district, which included the pre-existing settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria. In 1846, Congress returned the land originally ceded by Virginia; in 1871, it created a single municipal government for the remaining portion of the District.
Washington had an estimated population of 672,228 as of July 2015. Commuters from the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs raise the city’s population to more than one million during the workweek. The Washington metropolitan area, of which the District is a part, has a population of over 6 million, the seventh-largest metropolitan statistical area in the country.
The centers of all three branches of the federal government of the United States are in the District, including the Congress, President, and Supreme Court. Washington is home to many national monuments and museums, which are primarily situated on or around the National Mall. The city hosts 176 foreign embassies as well as the headquarters of many international organizations, trade unions, non-profit organizations, lobbying groups, and professional associations.
A locally elected mayor and a 13 member council have governed the District since 1973. However, the Congress maintains supreme authority over the city and may overturn local laws. D.C. residents elect a non-voting, at-large congressional delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, but the District has no representation in the U.S. Senate. The District receives three electoral votes in presidential elections as permitted by the Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1961.