John Oliver on the District of Columbia’s Missing Political Rights

Americans who live in the District of Columbia pay Federal taxes, die in U.S. wars, but have no vote in Congress. What they have had, for over two centuries, is Taxation Without Representation. Sound familiar? John Oliver explains it all to you:

Of course our Constitution awards the congressional vote to “the people of the several states,” point out Kenneth Starr and Patricia Wald, because it was ratified in 1789, when every single U.S. citizen lived in a state. It gave the vote to every corner of America. Congress didn’t even authorize creation of a new permanent capital until 1791, and nothing came of it until 1801 when suddenly people who now lived in the District of Columbia were deprived of their federal voting rights.

Congress, with authority but no stake in the District, ruled it through neglect. Things got so bad that Andrew Jackson used his 1830 and 1831 State of the Union addresses to plead with Congress to allow Congressional representation for DC. Neglect continued; Congressional attempts to bring democracy to the District broke down in partisan bickering.


“10 Myths about the District of Columbia,” DC Vote


“This Sunday: Capitol Hill Kids Will Sing for Statehood,” Maria Carey, The Hill Is Home


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2 Responses to “John Oliver on the District of Columbia’s Missing Political Rights”

  1. permanenttouristindc Says:

    John Oliver’s piece was wonderful as was your Notions Capital but wasn’t the Residency Act of 1790, not 1791?

  2. Mike Licht Says:

    Right, the Act was passed in 1790, but the conventional date given for the founding of the City of Washington is 1791. Dunno why.

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