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VOTE PLEA TO CONGRESS – Americanize 400,000, Urges D.C. Joint Citizens’ Committee – The Washington Post, February 13, 1918
|| 1/29/2010 || 12:45 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

The Constitutional Amendment contained in this transcribed newspaper article is quite beautiful. It shows nearly 100 years of compromise and the remains of a civil rights struggle that affects 600,000 American citizens. Only a shred of this original Constitutional Amendment exists today and its in the form of the 23rd Amendment to the United States Constitution, which was ratified 43 years after the publication of this newspaper article in 1961. Unfortunately, the 23rd Amendment only allows the residents of the District of Columbia to obtain Presidential Electors (to be able to vote for the President) on par with the least populous state and provides no representation in Congress. The portion of the Constitutional Amendment below that was not ratified remained unfinished business for another 17 years when in 1978 the District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment was passed by Congress. After seven years only 16 states of the needed 38 had ratified the amendment and the time window of ratification expired, leaving the residents of the District of Columbia without representation in Congress. There has not been a Constitutional Amendment passed by Congress since and I urge my delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton to introduce Constitutional Amendment similar to the one below. If not now, when?



VOTE PLEA TO CONGRESS


Americanize 400,000, Urges D.C. Joint Citizens’ Committee.


NO VOICE ON WAR OR TAXES


Proposed Amendment Would Give Power to Congress to Grant Franchise on President and Fix Representation in Both Houses– Statehood Not Contemplated.


Renewed appeal to Congress to Americanize the 400,000 inhabitants of the Capital by granting them a voice in the national government was made yesterday by the citizens’ joint committee on national representation for the District of Columbia. Every senator and representative was urged to support the constitutional amendment which will empower Congress to give the disfranchised citizens of Washington the right to representation in Congress, and to vote for President and Vice President.

The citizens’ committee mailed to the members of both houses of Congress a copy of the joint resolution providing for amendment of the Federal Constitution as the preliminary step to conferring the vote and representation on the District populace. With the resolution now pending before Congress went two circulars outlining the rights and privileges which its adoption would make possible to the long disfranchised citizens of the nation’s Capital.

Voice in Electoral College.

One circular explains what the proposed District suffrage amendment would do, and also what it would not do. This leaflet sets forth that by enabling Congress to give the District voting representation in Congress and the electoral college, it will become possible to–

Make Americans of 400,000 people– soon to be 1,000,000- whose present political prospects are less than those of aliens elsewhere in America.

Put in force the principle of “no taxation without representation” at the center of the American republic.

Add representative participation in government to the duty, always borne, of paying taxes and bearing arms.

Remove the present stigma resulting from permanent political impotence of a people more numerous than the population in each of six American States (1910 Census).

Statehood Not Proposed.

Make the heart of our own nation “safe for democracy” while engaged in the world crusade to that end.

Make it possible for the District boys fighting in France to look forward on their return to a voting right in the government they have fought to defend.

Make it no longer possible to say that the American Capital city the only national capital that has no voice in its national government.

Showing the other side of the shield, the circular then sets forth that a constitutional amendment does not propose statehood for the District; does not propose destruction of the “ten mile square” provision of the Constitution or lessen in the slightest degree complete control of the nation over the District; it is not a measure for local self-government, and does not disturb in any way the financial relation of the nation and Capital, either by the abolition or perpetuation of the half-and-half law.

Gives Congress Power to Act.

The joint resolution proposing the amendment necessary to the Constitution as a condition precedent to the granting by Congress of District suffrage, was introduced in the Senate by Senator Chamberlain, of Oregon, while in the House it was offered by Representative Austin, of Tennessee. This resolution when passed by a two-thirds vote of the Senate and House and ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the States provides that:



“The Congress shall have power to admit the status of citizens of a State the resident of the District constituting the seat of the government of the United States, created by article 1, section 8, for the purpose of representation in the Congress and among the electors of President and Vice President and for the purpose of suing and being sued in the courts of the United States under the provisions of article 3, section 2.

“When the Congress shall exercise this power the residents of such District shall be entitled to elect one or two senators as determined by the Congress, representatives in the House according to their numbers as determined by the decennial enumeration, and presidential electors equal in number to their aggregate representation in the House and Senate.

“The Congress shall provide by law the qualifications of voters and the time and manner of choosing the senator or senators, the representative or representatives, and the electors herein authorized.

“The Congress shall have power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing power.”


Low Court Standing.

Under the caption “Americanize Washingtonians,” the citizens committee in the other circular sets forth that the 400,000 Americans in the District constitute the only community of intelligent, public-spirited citizens in the United States which is denied representation in the national government.

“As a suitor in the courts of the United States,” runs this appeal for congressional support, “the District resident has, the Supreme Court says, a lower standing than an alien.

“In relation to national laws the sole function of the District resident is to obey. They take no part in making the laws which they must obey.

“In relation to national taxes their sole function is to pay. They have nothing to say, like other taxpayers, concerning the amount and kind of taxes they shall pay and how the tax money shall be spent.

No Voice in War Declaration.

“In relational to national war their sole function is to fight in obedience to command. They have no voice, like other Americans, in the councils which determine war and peace. They have no representation in the government which requires them to fight, to bleed and perhaps to die.

“National representation is a distinctive, basic right of the American citizen- in a government of the people, by the people, for the people- in a government which roots its justice in a consent of the governed- in a representative government which inseparably couples taxation and arms-bearing as a soldier with representation.

“Since the 400,000 Americans of the District pay the national taxes, obey national laws and go to war in the nation’s defense, they are entitled on American principles to be represented in the national government which taxes them, which makes all laws for them and which sends them to war.

Not to Disturb National Control.

“The constitutional amendment which we urge empowers Congress to correct this inequity without disturbing in the slightest national control of the Capital or the present form of municipal government. Congress retains every power in these respects that it now possess. All that happens will be that the District becomes a small fractional part of that Congress, and politically an integral part of the nation which that Congress represents.

“National representation will clothe the Washingtonian with a vital American privilege to which he is undeniably in equity entitled; will cleanse him of the stigma and stain of un-Americanism, and, curing his political impotency, will arm him with a certain power.

“It will relieve that nation of the shame of un-Americanism at its heart and of impotency to cure this evil.

“It will inflict no injury or hardship upon either nation or Capital to counteract these benefits.

“Consistency and justice; national pride and self-respect; the will to efface a shameful blot from the national escutcheon; the spirit of true Americanism and righteous hatred of autocracy in any guise; the patriotic impulse toward full preparedness of the nation as a champion of democracy and representative government everywhere in the world- all combine to make irresistible at this very moment our appeal for the adoption of this amendment.



This newspaper article was transcribed from a scan of the original newspaper article. The document was obtained from the Washington Post archives and is in the public domain. It is being republished here in order to continue my advocacy for full representation for the American citizens of the District of Columbia.



ALEXANDRIA AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA – The Alexandria Gazette, June 9, 1909
|| 12/25/2009 || 2:06 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

This editorial is the third in a series of editorials published by the Alexandria Gazette in first week of June 1909. As the editors hinted to at the end of the previous editorial, they reprint a previous opinion that was rendered by Senator George Frisbie Hoar of the judiciary committee shortly before his death.

Printed in full, for the first then, as it is the first time now, are the committee’s findings that the matter between Congress and Alexandria County, the former portion of the District of Columbia, have been resolved by political, not judicial means, and there is nothing stopping the negotiations for the reacquisition from taking place. The Hoar opinion was written 7 years prior in 1902 and concluded that the Federal government can purchase those lands back with the consent of the State of Virginia.


Click to view the newspaper clipping

ALEXANDRIA AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA – The Alexandria Gazette, June 9, 1909

As heretofore stated Mr. Hayes, of California, on May 27 introduced a bill in the House of Representatives to extend the limits of the District of Columbia so as to take in all of Alexandria county, but not Alexandria city or that part of Falls Church which lies within the county. The bill was published in full in the Gazette of June 1. Commenting upon this the Gazette of June 1st suggested that Mr. Hayes should read the report made to the Senate on this subject by the late Senator Hoar. This report reads as follows and has never before been published in full:



Constitutionality of the retrocession of a certain portion of the District of Columbia ceded to the United States by Virginia.
April 11, 1902, — Ordered to be printed.
MR. HOAR, from the committee on the judiciary, submitted the folowing

ADVERSE REPORT.

The committee on the judiciary, to whom was referred the joint resolution (S. R. 50) directing the attorney-general to bring suit to determine the constitutionality of the retrocession of that portion of the original District of Columbia which was ceded to the United States by the state of Virginia, submit the following report:

The territory on the other side of the Potomac river, including the city of Alexandria, which was originally a part of the 10 miles square, was ceded by Virginia for the seat of government. It was retroceded to Virginia by act of Congress in 1846, accepted by Virginia, and thereafter Congress exercised no jurisdiction over it, except so far as it controls the Arlington national cemetery, the experimental farm of the Department of Agriculture, the military school for cavalry, and the signal corps, with the land and building occupied by them.

It seems to the committee that it is not expedient that this act of retrocession should be set aside by Congress, even if Congress have the power so to do, without the consent of Virginia. Virginia accepted the transaction, it being understood that it was at the desire and for the benefit of the national government. She has established in Alexandria the important and intimate relations which every state forms for its own citizens dwelling on her own soil; and the people, on the other hand, we presume, feel the loyal and deep attachment which such a relation excites. Such a tie ought not to be broken at all without the consent of the parties, except in case of some paramount and overwhelming public interest.

As to the suggestion that the retrocession was unconstitutional, it seems to as the answer is that from the nature of the case it is a political question and not a judicial question, and that it has been settled by the political authorities alone competent to decide it. It is like the question, What is the true state government, the true and lawful government of a state?– like the question, What is the true frontier? where any dispute exists as to whether territory belongs to us or so a neighboring foreign country, and many like questions.

These are partly questions of law and partly of fact. The questions of law may be settled by the highest court to whom, in the course of judicial proceedings, they may be taken, unless, and until that court choose to reverse its previous opinions. But the fact must be determined in each case, when it arises, by the jury or other tribunal authorized to find the fact. It would be utterly intolerable that territory should be held in one case to be a part of Virginia, and in another case to be a part of the District of Columbia, according as might be held, in the individual case.

So it seems to the case must be deemed settled by the acquiescence in the act by Virginia and of the United States, as manifested by the conduct of the departments of government for more that half a century. The consequences of holding that this retrocession has been void from the beginning would be very serious.

If it be desirable that Alexandria become a part of the District of Columbia again, the only way to accomplish it will be to open negotiations with Virginia and get her consent (See Luther v. Borden, 7 How., 1.)

The committee, therefore, report adversely, and recommend that the resolution be indefinitely postponed.


This newspaper article was transcribed from a scan of the original newspaper article. The document was obtained from the Chronicling America newspaper collection and is in the public domain. It is being republished here in order to continue my advocacy for full representation for the American citizens of the District of Columbia.



A Bill To Extend The Limits of the District of Columbia – The Alexandria Gazette, June 1, 1909
|| 12/23/2009 || 11:54 am || + Render A Comment || ||

It appears that some of my recent work uncovering the history of the District of Columbia has been somewhat popular as of late. I could not be happier. History brings joy only to those willing to learn it.

This entry was transcribed from the June 1st, 1909 edition of the Alexandria Gazette. The newspaper printed the entire text of a bill introduced by Representative Everis A. Hayes of California.

In this bill he outlines the expansion of the District of Columbia back to it’s original boundary, with the exceptions of Alexandria City and Falls Church, and gives the President authority to negotiate with the governor of the State of Virginia a price of no more than $100,000 for the land. [that is between 2 million and 40 million 2009 dollars depending on how you calculate it]

There is a portion of the text that is illegible due to the use of tape when the newspaper was archived. However, I was able to adjust the contrast to be able to make out about 90% of the missing text.

I have a couple more subsequent articles to be transcribed that follow up on what exactly happened to this bill.



A BILL TO EXTEND DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA LIMITS.

The following is the full text of the bill introduced in the House of Representatives on May 27, 1909 by Mr. Hayes, of California, which was referred to the committee on the District of Columbia:

A bill extending the limits of the District of Columbia.

Whereas more territory ought to be held under the exclusive legislation given Congress over the District which is the seat of the general government for purposes of such a seat; and

Whereas that portion of Alexandria county, in the State of Virginia, which was originally ceded to the United States by the State if Virginia and receded to the State of Virginia by the twenty-ninth Congress by an act approved July ninth, eighteen hundred and forty-six, is now necessary for the public uses of the District of Columbia; Therefore,

Be it enacted by the [lost] House of Representatives of the United States in Congress assembled, [lost] that portion of the original District of Columbia ceded to the United States of America by the State of Virginia and which was receded to the State of Virginia by the twenty-ninth Congress by an act approved July ninth, eighteen hundred and forty-six, except that portion lying within the boundary lines or corporate limits of the towns of Alexandria and Falls Church, be held under the exclusive legislation given Congress over the District of Columbia, which is the seat of the general government, for the purposes os such a seat, and all the rights and jurisdiction therewith be, and the same are hereby, forever bound unto the District in full and absolute right and jurisdiction as well as of soil as of persons residing or to reside therein.

Sec. 2. That the right of jurisdiction and sovereignty shall be exercised by the United States government for the purposes of the District of Columbia over that portion of said Alexandria county, State of Virginia, except that portion lying within the corporate limits of the towns of Alexandria and Falls Church on and after the first day of July, nineteen hundred and ten.

Sec. 3. That the President is hereby authorized and empowered to open negotiations with the State of Virginia, through the Secretary of War or such other officer or commissioner as he may deem necessary and proper, to comply with the provisions of this act; and, further, the President is authorized to pay over into the treasury of the State of Virginia such sum of money as may be mutually agreed upon by the President of the United States and the governor of the State of Virginia for relinquishing her sovereignty or jurisdictions over the said portion of Alexandria county to the District of Columbia.

Sec. 4. That if it be not possible to conclude negotiations with the State of Virginia prior to July first, nineteen hundred and ten, the sovereignty of the District of Columbia and the exclusive legislation by Congress, together with all the rights and jurisdiction of the same, as well as of persons as of soil, shall extend over Alexandria county as aforesaid, except that portion included within the corporate limits of the town of Alexandria and the town of Falls Church, on and after the first day of July, nineteen hundred and ten, and the negotiations fixing the amount of the award to be awarded to the State of Virginia may be completed and the money paid over into the treasury of the State of Virginia at some future time as may be agreed upon by the President of the United States and the governor of the State of Virginia.

Sec. 5. That in addition to any sum of money which may be paid into the treasury of the State of Virginia by the President of the United States as provided by this act Congress will assume and pay all the debts or any part thereof now due or outstanding against that portion of Alexandria county no included within the corporate limits of the towns of Alexandria and Falls Church at the time of the passage of this act.

Sec. 6. That so much money as may be needed to pay in full said outstanding debts or obligations against that portion of Alexandria county, Virginia, as aforesaid, is hereby appropriated our the United States treasury, out of any money not otherwise appropriated, to be paid when and as the same may become due and payable.

Sec. 7. That so much money as may be needed is hereby appropriated out of the United States treasury no otherwise appropriated, to carry out the provisions of this act, not exceeding one hundred thousand dollars.


This newspaper article was transcribed from a scan of the original newspaper article. The document was obtained from the Chronicling America newspaper collection and is in the public domain. It is being republished here in order to continue my advocacy for full representation for the American citizens of the District of Columbia.



Does Virginia Own Alexandria County? – The Washington Herald, January 18, 1910
|| 12/11/2009 || 11:56 am || 2 Comments Rendered || ||

I found this article absolutely fascinating. I’ve blogged about the two acts of Congress that are referenced throughout this article [H.R. 259 – An act to retrocede the county of Alexandria, in the District of Columbia, to the State of Virginia & An Act for establishing the Temporary and Permanent seat of the Government of the United States], but until today I had not thoroughly read a legal opinion on the topic of Virginia’s retrocession of Alexandria County (now present-day Arlington County). My original contention was that the Act of 1846 was illegal because the text of the Act specified that retrocession was possible only with the approval of both the city *and* the county of Alexandria, and only the city voted in favor retrocession. The argument presented in this article below speaks to the larger issue of how the “permanent” seat of government was created out of a legal covenant that involved four parties: the Federal Government, Virginia, Maryland, and the original 19 property owners of the District. A very compelling case is made that through the passage of the Act of 1846 the original covenant was unconstitutionally broken. 99 years later, I thoroughly agree with the logic outlined in the article below and would like to have the District of Columbia return to its original size. While I don’t see it happening any time soon, history shows that change is constant.

Map of the portion of the District of Columbia ceded back to Virginia

The Washington Herald, January 18th, 1910

DOES VIRGINIA OWN ALEXANDRIA COUNTY?


Hon. Harris Taylor, in Elaborate Opinion, Holds the Retrocession Was Clearly Illegal and Unconstitutional.


Was the act of July 9, 1846, under which the County of Alexandria, then in the District of Columbia, was re-ceded to the State of Virginia unconstitutional?

Hon. Hannis Taylor, former Minister to Spain, and a constitutional lawyer of distinction, has prepared an elaborae opinon on this subject, which was presented to the Senate yesterday, in which he holds that the retrocession was clearly illegal and unconstitutional.

“If retrocession to Virginia is to stand,” he says, “then the land underlying the Capitol, the White House, and the Treasury belongs either to Maryland or the local proprietors whom it was granted. The nation can only be protected against that result by a judgement of the Supreme Court of the United States declaring the act of retrocession of 1846 to be null and void.”

Complete Answer Found.

What is the remedy?
“The complete answer,” he says, “is to be found in the opinion of the Supreme Court in the case of The United States vs. Texas (143 U.S.,621-649), in which it was held that the Supreme Court can, under the Constitution, take cognizance of an original suit brought by the United States against a State to determine the boundary between one of the Territories and such State; that the Supreme Court has jurisdiction to determine a disputed question of boundary between the United States and a State; that a suit in equity begun in the Supreme Court is appropriate for determining a boundary between the United States and one of the States.”

He quotes the opinion rendered in this case, and says it solves every problem that can possibly arise in an original suit between the United States and Virginia as to the boundaries of the District of Columbia.

Act of 1846.

His opinion as to the unconstitutionality of the retrocession is based upon the contention that the act of 1846 broke a quadrilateral contract entered into on the one hand by the United States and on the other by Virginia, Maryland, and the nineteen local property-owners in Washington.

The United States, through the act of Congress of July 10, 1790, passed under the constitutional mandate, agreed that “the District so defined, limited, and located, shall be deemed the District accepted by this act, for the permanent seat of the government of the United States.”

Each of the three grantors, in consideration of that stipulation, made for the benefit of each, through which alone title to the whole could be made perfect, entered into the quadrilateral contract in question.

“It is elementary in the law of contracts,” he says, “that when two or more instruments are recorded at the same time or at different times which relate to the same subject matter, and one refers to the other, either tacitly or expressly, they will be taken together and construed as one instrument.

Maryland’s Right.

“Maryland,” he says, “has a perfect right to claim of the United States, by reason of the recision of the original quadrilateral agreement, the return of every foot of land ceded by her and now embraced within the present limits of the District.

“That right Maryland can enforce in an original suit against the United States in the Supreme Court under the authority laid down in the case of the United States vs. Texas.

“That great case,” he says, “refuted most emphatically the contention made by Senator Hoar in the Senate on April 11, 1902, that retrocession was a political and not a judicial question, and was settled by the political authorities, alone competent to decide it.

“The Supreme Court in the case in question decided that ‘it cannot with propriety be said that a question of boundary between a Territory of the United States and one of the States of the Union is of a political nature and non susceptible of judicial determination by a court having jurisdiction of such a controversy.

Constitutional Mandate.

“The constitutional mandate that requires the President to ‘take care that the laws be faithfully executed’ compels him to ascertain and determine the limits of territory over which they are to be enforced.”

And in conclusion he says:
In determining all question all questions of boundary, whether foreign or domestic, the initiative in this country is vested in the Executive acting alone. While he may advise with Congress as to the steps he may take in ascertaining boundaries, while executing the laws within the same, the President cannot surrender his exclusive power to ascertain what they are.

As a practical illustration, if in this matter the President believes that Virginia is in lawful possession of that portion of the District described in the act of 1846, it is his constitutional duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed” in that area, regardless of any contrary opinion the legislative department of the government might entertain on the subject. He could hold no other view without abdicating the independence of the executive power in the execution of the laws. It is, however, in my humble judgment, a case in which there should be friendly consultation between the executive and legislative departments, because in the event of a recovery in the Supreme Court Congress would no doubt be called upon to pass such a bill of indemnity as would relieve Virginia of any accountability for revenues derived from the area in question during her de facto occupation.

Goes in the Record.

Senator Carter, in presenting the elaborate brief written at his request by Mr. Taylor, asked and was granted unanimous consent to have it printed in the Record, and also as a Senate document. He said:

The subject is of absorbing interest to the people of the District and will surely challenge the attention of the country with constantly increasing force as the growth of the Federal city and the expanding needs of the government demonstrate more fully the wisdom of President Washington and his co-laborers in fixing the District lines as originally marked.

To the United States government the subject is of
Continued on Page 3, Column 4


DOES VIRGINIA OWN ALEXANDRIA COUNTY


Continued from Page One.

grave concern, for it involves in a technical sense title to the ground upon which this Capitol, the White House, and many other important public buildings stand. If the recession to Virginia stands in law it would seem possible that the Federal government retains jurisdiction over the portion north of the Potomac in derogation of the rights and at the sufferance of the State of Maryland.

Fever-breeding Marsh.

When artistic taste and solicitude for sanitary conditions combined to inspire the movement to reclaim the Potomac Flats, the progress of the work soon revealed the fact that proper treatment of the narrow river and adjacent marshes would always be limited and unsatisfactory while confined to the northern bank alone. A fever-breeding marsh within 7,000 or 8,000 feet of the White House cannot be regarded with indifference, nor can any one fail to observe that the improvement on the north sets forth the unsightliness of the south bank of the river in bold relief. In short, each year more amply justifies the wisdom of Washington and his commission in embracing both sides of the river within the limits of the Federal District.

The Capitol, the White House, and all the public buildings were located near the center in the beginning, but the act of retrocession moved the southern line of the District to within a short distance of the White House grounds. This was not intended by Washington, under whose masterful direction the constitutional design regarding a seat for the Federal government was executed.

Defeat of Intention.

“The act receding two-fifths of the District to Virginia so obviously defeats the intention of the framers of the Constitution in this behalf and so ruthlessly disregards the rights of other parties that I have for years regarded it as null and void on general principles; not withstanding the interesting and important nature of the question, I have not found time to investigate the law and the historical facts bearing upon it. Last year, however, I had the good fortune to mention the matter to Mr. Harris Taylor, known to the bar of the country as one of our leading constitutional lawyers, and the gentleman volunteered to examine the question and to write me his view upon it.

Mr. Taylor’s letter sets forth the constitutional provision in question and all legislation, State and national, in relation to the subject, together with a review of all executive action and contract obligations in pursuance thereof. In fact, the letter is a brief of such rare clearness and ability that I believe it should be made permanently available for reference, and so believing, I renew my request and ask that when printed the commincation be referred to the Committee on the District of Columbia for consideration.

An Exhaustive Opinion.

Mr. Taylor’s opinion, buttressed by historical references and legal citations, is exhaustive and comprehensive. He says, in beginning:

The contemporaneous evidence puts the fact beyond all question that the final definition of a district ten miles square as the seat of our Federal government was in a special sense the personal work of President Washington, whose task involved the acquisition of the title to the tract from three sources- the State of Virginia, the State of Maryland, and the nineteen local proprietors who owned that part at the heart of the present city which underlies the Capitol, the White House, and the Treasury. Washington’s task was to induce the three parties who held the title to cede to the Federal government, without any direct pecuniary consideration, the entire area under a quadrilateral contract in which that government was the grantee and beneficiary, and Virginia, Maryland, and nineteen local proprietors the grantors. The real consideration moving to such grantors was the incidental benefits to accrue to them from their joint cession, which, in the language of the act of July 16, 1790, “is hereby accepted for the permanent seat of the government of The United States.” That covenant represented the only consideration moving directly from the Federal government, while the three grantors were bound to each other by the mutual considerations moving from the one to the other under interdependent grants.

Maryland, the last to grant, expressed the idea of mutual benefits to be derived from a common enterprise when her legislature declared that “it appears to this general assembly highly just and expedient that all the lands within the said city should contribute, in due proportion, in the mean which have already greatly enhanced the value of the whole.” Under that quadrilateral contract, supported by the foregoing considerations, the Federal government entered into possession with a perfect title, after the final cession made by Maryland December 19, 1791.

Government in Control.

No one, perhaps, will deny that after the title to the entire area had thus passed from the three grantors into the corporate person of the nation neither the State of Virginia nor the State of Maryland could have, either in law or in equity, any claim to the common heritage superior to that of any other State. Under such considerations the Federal government remained in peaceful possession of the entire area ten miles square, and governed the same under the Constitution for a period of fifty-five years. During that time the original boundaries as designed by Washington were marked by massive stone monuments, while still abide unimpaired.

By the act of retrocession of July 9, 1846, the District was dismembered by a conveyance to Virginia of nearly one-half of the entire area for no pecuniary or property consideration whatever. What was the real motive of the retrocession it is at this time difficult to ascertain.

From a legal standpoint, the fact that the portion reconveyed to Virginia had originally been contributed by her is of no significance whatever. Therefore, before argument begins, the mind wonders upon what constitutional principle such retrocession could have been made. Two distinct parts of the Constitution are involved. First, that part of section 8, Article 1, which provides that Congress shall have power “to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular States and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of government of the United States;” second, that part of section 10, article 1, which provides that “no State shall pass any bill of attainder, ex post facto law or law impairing the obligation of contracts.”

During the memorable Senate debate led by Senator Haywood, of North Carolina, who, as chairmen of the District Committee, bitterly assailed the constitutionality of the act of retrocession, the meaning and effect of section 8, Article 1, was fully explored.

I cannot doubt the soundness of the conclusion then reached by many leading statesmen of that day to the effect that, considered in reference to that part of the Constitution alone, the act of retrocession is null and void. What I cannot understand is the fact that any debate, however hastily conducted, the deeper and more obvious argument based on the contract clause of the Constitution (Article 1, section 10), should have been entirely overlooked. And yet the record shows that such was the fact.

It never occurred to any one in 1846, or since that time, to look to the sources of the title in the quadrilateral contract upon which the ownership of the area ten miles square really depends. What is said herein as to that branch of the subject is my personal contribution to the controversy.

Acquirement of Site.

He goes into history to show how the site of the National Capital was discussed and finally acquired, and says:

After prolonged discussion the act of July 16, 1790, was passed, and the site of the District finally located, partly in Prince George and Montgomery counties, in the State of Maryland, and partly in Fairfax County, in the State of Virginia, by proclamation of President George Washington, March 30, 1971, within the following bounds:

“Beginning at Jones Point, being the upper cape of Hunting Creek, in Virginia, and at an angle in the outset of 45 degrees west of the north, and running in a direct line ten miles for the first line; then beginning again at the same Jones Point and running another direct line at a right angle with the ffirst across the Potomac ten miles.”

From the diagram it appears that the “Portion derived from and receded to Virginia” constitutes nearly one-half of the territory of the District as originally defined in the proclamation of March 30, 1791. If the act of July 9, 1846 (9 Stats. 35), entitled “An act to retrocede the County of Alexandria, in the District of Columbia, to the State of Virginia,” is unconstitutional and void, the laws of the United States should now be executed by the President thourghout the “Portion derived from and receded to Virginia.”

Continuing, he says:
After the power to elect the seat of government had been once exercised by Congress, after the cession had been made for that purpose by “particular States,” after the area so ceded had been accepted by Congress under the act of July 16, 1790, declaring “the same is hereby accepted for the permanent seat of government of the United States,” the power of Congress over the subject matter was exhausted. Or, if it was not exhausted, could not again be exercised, because no power remained to transfer the District, as originally created and accepted, of any portion of it to any State. In other words, after a district of ten miles square had once been established and accepted as a permanent seat of government, Congress possessed no power to acquire another territory for another seat of government, without violating the constitutional limitation which confined it to the ten miles square. The Congress, an agent of limited authority, was expressly authorized to receive cessions from States of a limited amount of territory to be held as a permanent seat of government; but it was not authorized, expressly or implicitly, to give any part of such cessions away to any one. Such was the constitutional difficulty which the Hon. R. M. T. Hunter attempted to overcome when the bill in question was up for debate in the House of Representatives May 8, 1846.

Section 8 of Article 1 of the Constitution when taken as a whole, provides that “the Congress shall have power * * * to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular States and the acceptance of Congress become the seat of the government of the United States; and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the State in which the same shall be for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful things.” The delegation of power thus made Congress to acquire a seat of government for the United States, through formal acceptance of cessions to the be made by particular States is a distinct subject matter, entirely separate and apart from the succeeding delegation of power to govern “all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the State in which the same shall be.” Did the grant of an express power formally to accept cessions from particular States, which were to constitute and “become the seat of government of the United States,” carry with it, as a necessary implication, the right to use the means necessary for the execution of the power? In other words, did the implied power to use such necessary means flow from the express to accomplish the end? In construing that clause which provides that Congress shall have power “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers and all other powers vested by the Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof,” it was held at an early day that the clause in question “confers on Congress the choice of means and does not confine it to what is indispensably necessary.”

Constitutional Mandate.

The express mandate was given by the Constitution to Congress to acquire a seat of government by cessions from particular States, and in no other manner. Congress was powerless to force any State to make a cession; it could not go beyond the limits of the States. It could only persuade; it could not command. Congress did not offer to the ceding States any money consideration whatever for their cessions. The means, and the only means, Congress saw fit to employ to accomplish a vitally important end was the promise, made in the of July 16th, 1790, that the seat of government to be located on the cessions should be “permanent.”

The act expressly declared that “the district so defined, limited, and located shall be deemed the district accepted by this act for the permanent seat of government of the United States.” When Mr. Madison moved in the House of Representatives to strike out the word “permanent” from the act he was voted down, and thus we have a legislative interpretation, practically contemporaneous, to the effect that the Constitution intended to confer upon Congress the power make the seat of government permanent. Contemporary interpretation of the Constitution, practiced and acquiesced in for years, conclusively fixes its construction.

Some years go, when a movement was on foot to remove the Capital to the Valley of the Mississippi, the effect of the action of Congress under section 8, Article 1, was fully discussed. I am informed that it was then universally admitted that by the selection of the present seat of government the power of Congress, under the section in question, had been exhausted.

Virginia made her grant, which was the first grant, December 3 1789. The nineteen local proprietors perfected their grants on or about the 29th of June, 1791. Maryland did not make grant until December 19, 1791. In that grant, embodied in a very elaborate act of thirteen sections, Maryland put the fact beyond all question that the prior grants made by Virginia and the nineteen proprietors were conditions precedent to her grant.

Quotes from Opinions.

He quotes from many opinions rendered by the Supreme Court of the United States to show that a grant is a contract, and this quadrilateral contract entered into by the United States on the one hand and Virginia, Maryland, and the nineteen local proprietors on the other, was binding in its operation and effect, and could not be modified without abrogating the contract as a whole.



Related Legislation Entries:



The Medicare Constitution – American Healthcare Reform Parodied from the UK’s NHS Constitution
|| 8/18/2009 || 1:01 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Yesterday I read the op-ed “In Defense of Britain’s Health System” by British doctors Ara Darzi and Tom Kibasi in the Washington Post. Near the end of the article they stated:

Standing in defense of Britain’s health service does not mean that we believe it is the right prescription for the United States. It is not for us to propose the solution for America, but we hope that correcting the record on some of the facts about our NHS will help Americans evaluate the real strengths and challenges of our system, instead of focusing on the misinformation spread by fear-mongers.

It got me thinking, what if the American healthcare reform was simply expanded Medicare coverage? Even though only people 65 or older qualify for Medicare, its already America’s largest health insurance program, covering over 40 million Americans (Number of Uninsured Americans = 47 million). This concept of expanding America’s current single-payer healthcare option is already outlined in the bill HR 676, which is withering away in Congress due to intense pressure from insurance corporations, pharmaceutical corporations, industry trade groups, and small-government conservatives. But what if Americans received a Medicare Constitution that outlined the rights, pledges, expectations, responsibilities, and values of a national healthcare system? To answer these hypothetical questions I decided to plagiarize the British NHS Constitution and replace NHS with Medicare and Parliament with Congress (as well as few other minor changes). Below is the result:


A photoshopped graphic from the NHS constitution

Medicare belongs to the people.

It is there to improve our health and well-being, supporting us to keep mentally and physically well, to get better when we are ill and, when we cannot fully recover, to stay as well as we can to the end of our lives. It works at the limits of science – bringing the highest levels of human knowledge and skill to save lives and improve health. It touches our lives at times of basic human need, when care and compassion are what matter most.

Medicare was founded on a common set of principles and values that bind together the communities and people it serves – patients and public – and the staff who work for it.

This Constitution establishes the principles and values of Medicare in the United States of America. It sets out rights to which patients, public and staff are entitled, and pledges which Medicare is committed to achieve, together with responsibilities which the public, patients and staff owe to one another to ensure that the Medicare operates fairly and effectively. All Medicare bodies and private and third sector providers supplying Medicare services will be required by law to take account of this Constitution in their decisions and actions.

The Constitution will be renewed every 10 years, with the involvement of the public, patients and staff. It will be accompanied by the Handbook to the Medicare Constitution, to be renewed at least every three years, setting out current guidance on the rights, pledges, duties and responsibilities established by the Constitution. These requirements for renewal will be made legally binding. They will guarantee that the principles and values which underpin Medicare are subject to regular review and recommitment; and that any government which seeks to alter the principles or values of Medicare, or the rights, pledges, duties and responsibilities set out in this Constitution, will have to engage in a full and transparent debate with the public, patients and staff.



1. Principles that guide Medicare

Seven key principles guide Medicare in all it does. They are underpinned by core Medicare values which have been derived from extensive discussions with staff, patients and the public. These values are set out at the end of this document.

1. Medicare provides a comprehensive service, available to all irrespective of gender, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, religion or belief. It has a duty to each and every individual that it serves and must respect their human rights. At the same time, it has a wider social duty to promote equality through the services it provides and to pay particular attention to groups or sections of society where improvements in health and life expectancy are not keeping pace with the rest of the population.


2. Access to Medicare services is based on clinical need, not an individual’s ability to pay. Medicare services are free of charge, except in limited circumstances sanctioned by Congress.


3. Medicare aspires to the highest standards of excellence and professionalism – in the provision of high-quality care that is safe, effective and focused on patient experience; in the planning and delivery of the clinical and other services it provides; in the people it employs and the education, training and development they receive; in the leadership and management of its organizations; and through its commitment to innovation and to the promotion and conduct of research to improve the current and future health and care of the population.


4. Medicare services must reflect the needs and preferences of patients, their families and their carers. Patients, with their families and carers, where appropriate, will be involved in and consulted on all decisions about their care and treatment.


5. Medicare works across organizational boundaries and in partnership with other organizations in the interest of patients, local communities and the wider population. Medicare is an integrated system of organizations and services bound together by the principles and values now reflected in the Constitution. Medicare is committed to working jointly with local authorities and a wide range of other private, public and third sector organizations at national and local level to provide and deliver improvements in health and well-being.


6. Medicare is committed to providing best value for taxpayers’ money and the most effective, fair and sustainable use of finite resources. Public funds for healthcare will be devoted solely to the benefit of the people that Medicare serves.


7. Medicare is accountable to the public, communities and patients that it serves. Medicare is a national service funded through national taxation, and it is the Government which sets the framework for Medicare and which is accountable to Congress for its operation. However, most decisions in Medicare, especially those about the treatment of individuals and the detailed organization of services, are rightly taken by state & local Medicare and by patients with their clinicians. The system of responsibility and accountability for taking decisions in Medicare should be transparent and clear to the public, patients and staff. The Government will ensure that there is always a clear and up-to-date statement of Medicare’s accountability for this purpose.



2a. Patients and the public – your rights and Medicare’s pledges to you

Everyone who uses Medicare should understand what legal rights they have. For this reason, important legal rights are summarized in this Constitution and explained in more detail in the Handbook to the Medicare Constitution, which also explains what you can do if you think you have not received what is rightfully yours. This summary does not alter the content of your legal rights.

The Constitution also contains pledges that Medicare is committed to achieve. Pledges go above and beyond legal rights. This means that pledges are not legally binding but represent a commitment by Medicare to provide high quality services.

Access to health services:

You have the right to receive Medicare services free of charge, apart from certain limited exceptions sanctioned by Congress.
You have the right to access Medicare services. You will not be refused access on unreasonable grounds.
You have the right to expect your local Medicare provider to assess the health requirements of the local community and to commission and put in place the services to meet those needs as considered necessary.
You have the right, in certain circumstances, to go to other states or countries for treatment which would be available to you through your local Medicare provider.
You have the right not to be unlawfully discriminated against in the provision of Medicare services including on grounds of gender, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability (including learning disability or mental illness) or age.

Medicare also commits:

  • to provide convenient, easy access to services within the waiting times set out in the Handbook to the Medicare Constitution (pledge);
  • to make decisions in a clear and transparent way, so that patients and the public can understand how services are planned and delivered (pledge); and
  • to make the transition as smooth as possible when you are referred between services, and to include you in relevant discussions (pledge).

Quality of care and environment:

You have the right to be treated with a professional standard of care, by appropriately qualified and experienced staff, in a properly approved or registered organization that meets required levels of safety and quality.
You have the right to expect Medicare organizations to monitor, and make efforts to improve, the quality of healthcare they commission or provide.

Medicare also commits:

  • to ensure that services are provided in a clean and safe environment that is fit for purpose, based on national best practice (pledge); and
  • to continuous improvement in the quality of services you receive, identifying and sharing best practice in quality of care and treatments (pledge).

Nationally approved treatments, drugs and programs:

You have the right to drugs and treatments that have been recommended by FDA for use in Medicare, if your doctor says they are clinically appropriate for you.
You have the right to expect local decisions on funding of other drugs and treatments to be made rationally following a proper consideration of the evidence. If Medicare decides not to fund a drug or treatment you and your doctor feel would be right for you, they will explain that decision to you.
You have the right to receive the vaccinations that the CDC recommends that you should receive under a Medicare-provided national immunization program.

Medicare also commits:

  • to provide screening programs as recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services (pledge).

Respect, consent and confidentiality:

You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, in accordance with your human rights.
You have the right to accept or refuse treatment that is offered to you, and not to be given any physical examination or treatment unless you have given valid consent. If you do not have the capacity to do so, consent must be obtained from a person legally able to act on your behalf, or the treatment must be in your best interests.



2b. Patients and the public – your responsibilities

Medicare belongs to all of us. There are things that we can all do for ourselves and for one another to help it work effectively, and to ensure resources are used responsibly:

You should recognize that you can make a significant contribution to your own, and your family’s, good health and well-being, and take some personal responsibility for it.
You should register with a General Practitioner, who will become your main point of access to Medicare.
You should treat Medicare staff and other patients with respect and recognize that causing a nuisance or disturbance in clinics and hospitals could result in prosecution.
You should provide accurate information about your health, condition and status.
You should keep appointments, or cancel within reasonable time. Receiving treatment within the maximum waiting times may be compromised unless you do.
You should follow the course of treatment which you have agreed, and talk to your clinician if you find this difficult.
You should participate in important public health programs such as vaccination.
You should ensure that those closest to you are aware of your wishes about organ donation.
You should give feedback – both positive and negative – about the treatment and care you have received, including any adverse reactions you may have had.



3a. Staff – your rights and Medicare pledges to you

It is the commitment, professionalism and dedication of staff working for the benefit of the people Medicare serves which really make the difference. High quality care requires high quality workplaces, with commissioners and providers aiming to be employers of choice.

All staff should have rewarding and worthwhile jobs, with the freedom and confidence to act in the interest of patients. To do this, they need to be trusted and actively listened to. They must be treated with respect at work, have the tools, training and support to deliver care, and opportunities to develop and progress.

The Constitution applies to all staff, doing clinical or non-clinical Medicare work, and their employers. It covers staff wherever they are working, whether in public, private or third sector organizations.

Staff have extensive legal rights, embodied in general employment and discrimination law. These are summarized in the Handbook to the Medicare Constitution. In addition, individual contracts of employment contain terms and conditions giving staff further rights.

The rights are there to help ensure that staff:

  • have a good working environment with flexible working opportunities, consistent with the needs of patients and with the way that people live their lives;
  • have a fair pay and contract framework;
  • can be involved and represented in the workplace;
  • have healthy and safe working conditions and an environment free from harassment, bullying or violence;
  • are treated fairly, equally and free from discrimination; and
  • can raise an internal grievance and if necessary seek redress, where it is felt that a right has not been upheld.

In addition to these legal rights, there are a number of pledges, which Medicare is committed to achieve. Pledges go above and beyond your legal rights. This means that they are not legally binding but represent a commitment by Medicare to provide high-quality working environments for staff.

Medicare commits:

  • to provide all staff with clear roles and responsibilities and rewarding jobs for teams and individuals that make a difference to patients, their families and carers and communities (pledge);
  • to provide all staff with personal development, access to appropriate training for their jobs and line management support to succeed (pledge);
  • to provide support and opportunities for staff to maintain their health, well-being and safety (pledge); and
  • to engage staff in decisions that affect them and the services they provide, individually, through representative organizations and through local partnership working arrangements. All staff will be empowered to put forward ways to deliver better and safer services for patients and their families (pledge).


3b. Staff – your responsibilities

All staff have responsibilities to the public, their patients and colleagues.

Important legal duties are summarized below.


You have a duty to accept professional accountability and maintain the standards of professional practice as set by the appropriate regulatory body applicable to your profession or role.
You have a duty to take reasonable care of health and safety at work for you, your team and others, and to cooperate with employers to ensure compliance with health and safety requirements.
You have a duty to act in accordance with the express and implied terms of your contract of employment.
You have a duty not to discriminate against patients or staff and to adhere to equal opportunities and equality and human rights legislation.
You have a duty to protect the confidentiality of personal information that you hold unless to do so would put anyone at risk of significant harm.
You have a duty to be honest and truthful in applying for a job and in carrying out that job.


The Constitution also includes expectations that reflect how staff should play their part in ensuring the success of Medicare and delivering high-quality care.

You should aim:

  • to maintain the highest standards of care and service, taking responsibility not only for the care you personally provide, but also for your wider contribution to the aims of your team and Medicare as a whole;
  • to take up training and development opportunities provided over and above those legally required of your post;
  • to play your part in sustainably improving services by working in partnership with patients, the public and communities;
  • to be open with patients, their families, carers or representatives, including if anything goes wrong; welcoming and listening to feedback and addressing concerns promptly and in a spirit of co-operation. You should contribute to a climate where the truth can be heard and the reporting of, and learning from, errors is encouraged; and
  • to view the services you provide from the standpoint of a patient, and involve patients, their families and carers in the services you provide, working with them, their communities and other organizations, and making it clear who is responsible for their care.


Medicare values

Patients, public and staff have helped develop this expression of values that inspire passion in Medicare and should guide it in the 21st century. Individual organizations will develop and refresh their own values, tailored to their local needs. Medicare values provide common ground for cooperation to achieve shared aspirations.


Respect and dignity. We value each person as an individual, respect their aspirations and commitments in life, and seek to understand their priorities, needs, abilities and limits. We take what others have to say seriously. We are honest about our point of view and what we can and cannot do.


Commitment to quality of care. We earn the trust placed in us by insisting on quality and striving to get the basics right every time: safety, confidentiality, professional and managerial integrity, accountability, dependable service and good communication. We welcome feedback, learn from our mistakes and build on our successes.


Compassion. We respond with humanity and kindness to each person’s pain, distress, anxiety or need. We search for the things we can do, however small, to give comfort and relieve suffering. We find time for those we serve and work alongside. We do not wait to be asked, because we care.


Improving lives. We strive to improve health and well-being and people’s experiences of Medicare. We value excellence and professionalism wherever we find it – in the everyday things that make people’s lives better as much as in clinical practice, service improvements and innovation.


Working together for patients. We put patients first in everything we do, by reaching out to staff, patients, carers, families, communities, and professionals outside Medicare. We put the needs of patients and communities before organizational boundaries.


Everyone counts. We use our resources for the benefit of the whole community, and make sure nobody is excluded or left behind. We accept that some people need more help, that difficult decisions have to be taken – and that when we waste resources we waste others’ opportunities. We recognize that we all have a part to play in making ourselves and our communities healthier.





####

Alas, I don’t think Americans will receive such a utopic result when it comes to healthcare reform. As I stated before, there is too much money to be made off of pain & suffering for the American system to radically change to a system like the one parodied above. But I do have hope that one day people will wake up and realize that we are all in this together.



An Act for establishing the Temporary and Permanent seat of the Government of the United States
|| 2/24/2009 || 12:35 pm || Comments Off on An Act for establishing the Temporary and Permanent seat of the Government of the United States || ||

For last month or so I’ve been adding historic pieces of legislation here on my blog. The aim here, and the general aim of this blog, is to keep an ongoing, on-line journal that features things that I’m either interested in or things that I have created. Historic pieces of legislation related to the District of Columbia fall into the former category, and today’s entry is the text & scans of the act that established the Temporary (Philadelphia) and Permanent Seat of the Government of the United States in a “district of territory” that would eventually become named the District of Columbia.



+ MORE



Text of H.R. 259 – An act to retrocede the county of Alexandria, in the District of Columbia, to the State of Virginia
|| 2/19/2009 || 7:12 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

From 1840 to 1846, residents of Alexandria petitioned Congress and the Virginia legislature to approve retrocession. On February 3, 1846 the Virginia General Assembly agreed to accept the retrocession of Alexandria if Congress approved. Following additional lobbying by Alexandrians, Congress passed legislation (below) on July 9, 1846 to return all the District’s territory south of the Potomac River back to the Commonwealth of Virginia, pursuant to a referendum that would be held later in the year, and President Polk signed this first piece of legislation the next day.

A referendum on retrocession was then held on September 1–2, 1846 and the residents of the City of Alexandria voted in favor of the retrocession, 734 to 116, however, the residents of Alexandria County voted against retrocession 106 to 29. Despite the objections of those living in Alexandria County, President Polk certified the referendum and issued a proclamation of transfer on September 7, 1846. However, the Virginia legislature did not immediately accept the retrocession offer. Virginia legislators were concerned that the people of Alexandria County had not been properly included in the retrocession proceedings. After months of debate, the Virginia General Assembly voted to formally accept the retrocession legislation on March 13, 1847.

In Abraham Lincoln’s first State of the Union, delivered on December 3, 1861, he suggested restoring the District of Columbia to George Washington’s original boundaries:

The present insurrection [Civil War] shows, I think, that the extension of this District across the Potomac at the time of establishing the capital here was eminently wise, and consequently that the relinquishment of that portion of it which lies within the state of Virginia was unwise and dangerous. I submit for your consideration the expediency of regarding that part of the District and the restoration of the original boundaries thereof through negotiations with the State of Virginia.

I also question the legitimacy of the retrocession because in the bill below you can see that it states that both the county AND the town of Alexandria were to pass the referendum. The county of Alexandria never voted in favor of retrocession, only the town voted for it. Imagine if the land was returned back to the District of Columbia?

Continue:

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Text of the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1871
|| 1/30/2009 || 5:23 pm || Comments Off on Text of the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1871 || ||

The District of Columbia Organic Act of 1871 aka “An Act to provide a Government for the District of Columbia (41st Congress, 3d Sess., ch. 62, 16 Stat. 419, enacted 1871-02-21) is an Act of Congress, which revoked the individual charters of the City of Washington, the City of Georgetown, and the County of Washington and created a new city government for the entire District of Columbia. The legislation effectively merged what had been separate municipalities within the federal territory into a single entity. It is for this reason that the city, while legally named the District of Columbia, is still commonly known as Washington, D.C. However, this act was abolished in 1874, and while the name did not change, the territorial Governor was replaced with a three-member Board of Commissioners appointed by the President. This system existed until 1974 when the District of Columbia Home Rule Act allowed for District residents to elect their own mayor.

Below is the text of the bill:

Continue reading the bill:

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Text of the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801
|| 1/29/2009 || 5:12 pm || Comments Off on Text of the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801 || ||

The District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801 (officially An Act Concerning the District of Columbia) (6th Congress, 2nd Sess., ch. 15, 2 Stat. 103, enacted 1801-02-27) is an Act of Congress, which incorporated the District of Columbia and divided the territory into two counties: Washington County to the east of the Potomac River and Alexandria County to the west. The charters of the independent cities of Georgetown and Alexandria were left in place and no change was made to their status. The laws of both Maryland and Virginia continued to remain in force within the District.

Below is the text of the bill:

Continue reading the bill:

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  • thank you,
    come again!