Friday, January 2, 2009
Mr. Madison's Mistakes, Part 3
Flaw #3: The status of Washington, D.C. The nation's capital was not a city at all during the colonial era, and the location was chosen to be more centrally located than Philadelphia or Richmond. Again, there was a worry among some states that there would be favorites, so it was decided the capital city should belong to no state.
For forward looking people, the founding fathers didn't think this one through very well. The city was going to grow, and even if the legislature was only there part-time - the amount of time spent with the constituents was much greater back in the day - some people would have to do the full time jobs in the city, and it would make sense they would live there, too. To have citizens of the country specifically denied the rights of representation was just dumb, especially when these laws were enacted by people who had just been through a war that was ostensibly fought to make sure there would be no taxation without representation. In the past few decades, the people working hardest to deny the citizens of the District full citizenship rights have been Republicans with a distinct plantation mentality.
Tomorrow, the last and worst of Mr. Madison Mistakes. The word plantation is a hint.