Alternative realistic locations for the US capital?

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,986
Dispargum
Maryland abolished slavery in November 1864. Depending on when the South won the war in this alternative scenario, it might be difficult to put that Humpty Dumpty together again. Once slavery was outlawed in Maryland, there was very little point to Maryland joining the South. I suspect many of the pro-slavery elements in Maryland left the state during the war so that Maryland had more sympathy for the Confederacy in 1861 than in 1864.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
23,547
SoCal
Maryland abolished slavery in November 1864. Depending on when the South won the war in this alternative scenario, it might be difficult to put that Humpty Dumpty together again. Once slavery was outlawed in Maryland, there was very little point to Maryland joining the South. I suspect many of the pro-slavery elements in Maryland left the state during the war so that Maryland had more sympathy for the Confederacy in 1861 than in 1864.
Did they return to Maryland after the end of the war?

Also, interesting fact--the Upper South (the ex-slave states who did not join the Confederacy) didn't take Jim Crow quite to the same level that the ex-Confederate states did in the post-Civil War decades. In the Upper South, there was still school segregation, anti-miscegenation laws, and perhaps other forms of segregation as well, but in spite of this, AFAIK, blacks never actually lost their right to vote in the Upper South after 1870 like they largely did in the ex-Confederacy.
 
Oct 2015
1,004
Virginia
DC actually does have votes in the electoral college nowadays thanks to the 23rd Amendment, though. However, it still doesn't have voting representation in either house of the US Congress even right now!
Quite right! - note that it happened in 1961.
 
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Jun 2017
3,027
Connecticut
So why did the founders not let DC vote?
Because at the time it didn't have a distinct population who were being disenfranchised and it wasn't forseeable that it would. It was a swamp. Washington was founded before it became a population center, John Adams(the HBO miniseries)does a good job of showing what DC was like in the early days. Anyhow it was imagined most people living in the capital would be from other places and it would be a central place for people to commute. Almost none of the Washington functions besides Congress and the President were even imagined at the time of the Constitution(not even SCOTUS, John Marshall basically made up Judicial Review). Also we have a tradition in the US of making random unimportant small cities the capitals of most states(both in that period and later) rather than a states most important cities and a random swamp in between Virginia and Maryland fits in with that mold perfect.

And DC did get a semi vote in presidential elections via amendment. They also have votes for things that don't "count". For example they have "shadow" Congresspeople(one of which was Reverend Jesse Jackson), elected people who sit in Congress and watch and can do some Congressional functions but cannot vote.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
23,547
SoCal
Because at the time it didn't have a distinct population who were being disenfranchised and it wasn't forseeable that it would. It was a swamp. Washington was founded before it became a population center, John Adams(the HBO miniseries)does a good job of showing what DC was like in the early days. Anyhow it was imagined most people living in the capital would be from other places and it would be a central place for people to commute. Almost none of the Washington functions besides Congress and the President were even imagined at the time of the Constitution(not even SCOTUS, John Marshall basically made up Judicial Review). Also we have a tradition in the US of making random unimportant small cities the capitals of most states(both in that period and later) rather than a states most important cities and a random swamp in between Virginia and Maryland fits in with that mold perfect.

And DC did get a semi vote in presidential elections via amendment. They also have votes for things that don't "count". For example they have "shadow" Congresspeople(one of which was Reverend Jesse Jackson), elected people who sit in Congress and watch and can do some Congressional functions but cannot vote.
Actually, Alexander Hamilton envision judicial review in Federalist Paper No. 78. Of course, he talked about "irreconcilable variance"--which is a very high standard.

As for US state capitals, AFAIK, some of them were established in the center of US states in order to make travel easier. Basically, there was the goal of ensuring that it wouldn't be too difficult for politicians from all over the relevant US state to actually travel to and from the relevant US state capital.
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,734
Las Vegas, NV USA
I think the US should have a mobile capital. The various agencies can be located at fixed locations around the country. Congress can meet at any large meeting place. Everything is on the Webb for information and communication. The President can live at home as he pretty much does now. The Supreme Court can meet in any courthouse. They need to get out more anyway. This will force those who govern to see the country they're governing.
 
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