Sunday, May 15, 2016

Today in History

L'Enfant plan for Washington DC
originally published 1792

President Adams orders Government moved to DC 

Today in 1800, at the close of the last meeting of Congress, President John Adams instructed his cabinet to ensure that Congress and all federal offices were in DC by June 15. Yes, they had just one month to finish their move. It was doable because back then the Federal government had only 125 employees. In contrast, the Federal government as of 2014 employs almost 3 million people (not including military).

President Adams and his family did not move into the White House, which was still unfinished, until November of that year.

For a different look at the history of Washington DC, check out J.D. Dickey's Empire of Mud: The Secret History of Washington, DC. From the blurb:

Before America became a world power in the twentieth century, Washington City was an eyesore at best and a disgrace at worst. Unfilled swamps, filthy canals, and rutted horse trails littered its landscape. Political bosses hired hooligans and thugs to conduct the nation's affairs. Legendary madams entertained clients from all stations of society and politicians of every party. The police served and protected with the aid of bribes and protection money. Beneath pestilential air, the city’s muddy roads led to a stumpy, half-finished obelisk to Washington here, a domeless Capitol Building there. Lining the streets stood boarding houses, tanneries, and slums. Deadly horse races gouged dusty streets, and opposing factions of volunteer firefighters battled one another like violent gangs rather than life-saving heroes. The city’s turbulent history set a precedent for the dishonesty, corruption, and mismanagement that have led generations to look suspiciously on the various sin--both real and imagined--of Washington politicians.
Have a wonderful Sunday!

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