Chapter

The Republic's Capital City

Stanley Elkins and Eric McKitrick

in The Age of Federalism

Published in print March 1995 | ISBN: 9780195093810
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854127 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195093810.003.0005
The Republic's Capital City

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In early 19th-century America, the foremost talents in politics and government had no specific setting in place or time in which they could act upon each other in any way. That the seat chosen in 1790 for the federal government would not have such a center was evident almost from the first. In this determination, the leading spirit was no less a figure than Thomas Jefferson. The prestige of George Washington and the knowledge of Washington's long-cherished desire to have the capital of the Republic seated on the banks of the Potomac had had little to do with the Virginians' eventual success in putting it there. However the decision made in 1790 to remove the capital from New York and subsequently from Philadelphia entailed a renunciation of whatever moral authority the national government might have had over the public imagination in matters of urban development and design.

Keywords: America; federal government; Thomas Jefferson; George Washington; capital; Republic; Potomac; New York; Philadelphia; politics

Chapter.  16654 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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