The Federal Government's Move

Updated July 24, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

The Question:

In what year did the federal government move to Washington D.C. from Philadelphia?

The Answer:

The United States Congress moved from Philadelphia to Washington D.C. in 1800.

Several different cites served as the national capital during the early years of the United States. But in 1783, Congress decided the country should have a permanent center of government.

As you would expect, several cities wanted to host the government, figuring the new capital would become an important commercial and industrial center.

In 1790, Alexander Hamilton suggested building a new capital on land owned by the federal government. Congress decided on an area along the Potomac River called the District of Columbia and asked President George Washington to choose the exact site.

Washington made his choice the following year. It required Virginia and Maryland donate some land, which they did, and the new capital was named after Washington.

Follow this link to see Washington D.C. on a map of the United States.

-The Editors

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