Washington, D.C. chosen as national capital so that founding fathers could profit

As we send in your checks today to keep the wise planners in D.C. funded, let’s consider why D.C. is where it is.

In our government-funded K-12 system, I learned that the location between Maryland and Virginia was a political compromise and that the interests competing were those of multiple states.

From America’s Founding Fathers, a lecture series by Allen Guelzo, a professor at Gettysburg College, I have learned that actually the interests competing were those of individuals.

The original idea was a capital near Philadelphia on the Susquehanna River. Why relocate to a swamp along the Potomac River? Professor Guelzo says that this was a much better location for shareholders of the Potomac Company, which was building canals to facilitate shipping up and down the river.

Who were the shareholders and principals of the company? George Washington was one of the biggest! And his Mt. Vernon estate happened to be quite close to the eventual site of the national capital. Many additional “founding cronies” helped themselves to what they expected to be massive personal profits by moving the site of the capital to the river whose navigation they were improving.

Maybe the next Mueller investigation can look at whether Donald Trump has been scheming to move the capital to Palm Beach?

5 thoughts on “Washington, D.C. chosen as national capital so that founding fathers could profit

  1. Makes sense, why reward in industrious inhabitants of land of William Penn who did not want to risk rebellion themselves? Does not look like Potomac River company profits were why American revolution occurred. After all it started in Boston and first victories were attained in Carolinas. I doubt that George Washington thought of Potomac River company profits when he was training Continental Army and that’s not why he was elected military commander of revolutionary forces either. On the positive side, fishing is still good on upper Susquehanna.

    • Good point about fishing. As a young guy living in Arlington VA in the 80s, a friend and I went fishing in the Potomac. We caught a shoe and an eel.

  2. This does not sound right, that the cause of the nation’s capital being located in DC was George Washington’s financial interests — could just as well have been located in Boston because of Adams’s financial interests, in Philadelphia because of Franklin’s financial interests, and so on. Sounds like the kind of fake news that would appeal to wise to the ways of the world 18 yr. olds.

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