The main thing people will find in Washington, D.C. is a gateway to the country's history. After all, Washington, District of Columbia is the U.S. capital. The unique thing about the area that is known as Washington, D.C. is the fact that it is not a state. When people travel to this location, they will be in a place where Congress is the governing body and not a state legislature.
Washington, D.C. derives its name from the first President of the United States. What visitors will have the opportunity to explore when they arrive in the City of Washington are all three branches of the United States government. The House of Representatives, the Senate, the presidential residence and the Supreme Court are all located and run in Washington, D.C. Tourists will also find offices for everything that could possibly be associated with government, including lobbyists and foreign embassies.
Washington, D.C. was created to be a governing body that provides protection for the new country's government. The idea came from James Madison in 1788. An event that occurred five years earlier brought the point home to people that the country needed a national capital for providing security against anyone who would come to do harm to the country and its legislators. At that time in 1783, Congress was attacked by several soldiers while it was in Philadelphia, and the incident came to be known as the Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783. This incident convinced those in Congress that they would need to take care of their own security.
George Washington signed the Residence Act of 1790 that made it possible for the national capital to come into being. Virginia and Maryland both donated land for the new capital, but the current location only contains the land given by Maryland. What people will find when they visit this area are stones that the surveyors placed at each mile to mark the borders of the capital.
Washington, D.C. received extensive damage during the War of 1812. While this war was being waged in 1814, the British burned the Capitol building, the United States Treasury and the White House, but these buildings were repaired and can be viewed today.
In an interesting turn of events, Alexandria requested that the state of Virginia ask to take its land back from the federal government in 1846. The Alexandrians were concerned that the government would end the slave trade, and the residents were not willing to allow this to happen. In 1846, the state asked for the land to be returned, and the United States government granted this wish.
Washington, D.C. became a haven for freed slaves nine months before the Emancipation Proclamation. President Abraham Lincoln established Washington, D.C. as a slave-free location by signing the Compensated Emancipation Act of 1862. In this document, all enslaved people were freed.
Currently, Washington, D.C. enjoys participation in national elections with three Electoral College votes for the offices of President and Vice-President of the United States. Some believe that Washington, D.C. was a target for the airplane that crashed in Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001.