July 16, 1790: Congress declared that a plot of land on the Potomac River between Virginia and Maryland would serve as the new U.S. capital. It would be called "Washington" in the "District of Columbia." One reason the capital was moved: security. Congress, originally located in Philadelphia, had been attacked by citizens in 1783. Prominent officials like James Madison urged that the government to move to a more secure location. Not that the new capital was safe. In 1814, invading British troops easily captured Washington and burned the Capitol and White House to the ground. The president (ironically James Madison) fled after vowing to defend "every inch" of the city against the Redcoats.
Quote of the Day
"There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still." -Franklin D. Roosevelt
More from West Wing Reports...
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Bush vs. Clinton in 2016 is the perfect way to make millennials hate politics even more
- The latent sexism of the male marriage proposal
- This judge is the reason we're still fighting over net neutrality
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- How to adopt the perfect rescue dog
- The week's best photojournalism
Subscribe to the Week