Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States of America. The signing of the Residence Act on July 16, 1790, approved the creation of a capital district located along the Potomac River on the country's East Coast. As permitted by the U.S. Constitution, the District is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress and is therefore not a part of any U.S. state. The U.S. states of Maryland and Virginia each donated land to form the federal district, which included the preexisting settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria. Named in honor of George Washington, the City of Washington was founded in 1791 to serve as the new national capital. In 1846, Congress returned the land originally ceded by Virginia and created a single municipal government for the remaining portion of the District in 1871.
- There is a sort of an unwritten code in Washington, among the underworld and the hustlers and these other guys that I am their friend.
- Washington is the most intensely parochial city in the world.
- WASHINGTONIAN, n. A Potomac tribesman who exchanged the privilege of governing himself for the advantage of good government. In justice to him it should be said that he did not want to.
- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911)
- The center of American ideas is Washington, D.C.
- Too small to be a state but too large to be an asylum for the mentally deranged.
- Anne Gorsuch Burford, characterizing the District of Columbia, remarks to a Colorado state convention of wool growers, Vail, Colorado, July 27, 1984, as reported by The Washington Post, July 29, 1984, p. 1. Burford was a former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Her remark is reminiscent of one reportedly made by James L. Petigru during Christmas week, 1860, in Charleston, South Carolina, when he was asked by Robert Barnwell Rhett, a leader of the secessionists, if he were with them: "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum".—Earl Schenck Miers, The Great Rebellion, p. 50 (1958).
- I'm hopeful. I know there is a lot of ambition in Washington, obviously. But I hope the ambitious realize that they are more likely to succeed with success as opposed to failure.
- George W. Bush, interview with the Associated Press (18 January 2001)
- [T]here is distrust in Washington. I am surprised, frankly, at the amount of distrust that exists in this town.
- George W. Bush, as quoted in "W.’s Greatest Hits: The top 25 Bushisms of all time" (12 January 2009), by Jacob Weisberg, Slate
- We have built no national temples but the Capitol; we consult no common oracle but the Constitution.
- Rufus Choate, "The Importance of Illustrating New-England History by a Series of Romances like the Waverley Novels", a lecture delivered at Salem, Massachusetts (1833).
- If I wanted to go crazy I would do it in Washington because it would not be noticed.
- Irwin S. Cobb. Reported as unverified in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989).
- We need to make D.C. listen.
- Ted Cruz, transcript of ObamaCare filibuster, TRANSCRIPT: Sen. Ted Cruz’s marathon speech against Obamacare on Sept. 24, Washington Post (September 24, 2013)
- After much menutial search for an elligible situation, prompted I may say from a fear of being prejudiced in favour of a first opinion I could discover no one so advantageously to greet the congressional building as is that on the west end of Jenkins heights which stand as a pedestal waiting for a monument, and I am confident, were all the wood cleared from the ground no situation could stand in competition with this. some might perhaps require less labour to be rendered agreeable but after all assistance of arts none ever would be made so grand and all other would appear but of secondary nature.
- Pierre L'Enfant, letter to George Washington (June 22, 1791); Records of the Columbia Historical Society (1899), vol. 2, p. 35. This letter contained a description of Capitol Hill, then called Jenkins Hill.
- An incumbent in Washington knows he is in trouble on the day that cartoonists begin to represent him as a king.
- Christopher Hitchens, The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain's Favourite Fetish (1990), Random House.
- Washington is a city where dwell many of the first men of the land, and the women they married when they were young.
- Fanny Dixwell Holmes, remark to President Theodore Roosevelt at the reception preceding a dinner at the White House in honor of her husband, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, January 8, 1903. Reported in Catherine Drinker Bowen, Yankee from Olympus, p. 362 (1944). Originally cited in Francis Biddle, "Mr. Justice Holmes", p. 195 (1942).
- Somebody once said that Washington was a city of Northern charm and Southern efficiency.
- John F. Kennedy, remarks to the trustees and advisory committee of the national cultural center, November 14, 1961. The Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1961, p. 719.
- Back in about 1753 it took a letter three days to go from New York City to Washington, and today you can go from here to China in less time than that... Man's scientific genius has been amazing.
- A gaffe in Washington is when a politician inadvertently reveals the truth, especially about himself.
- But it is dreaded that the freed people will swarm forth and cover the whole land. Are they not already in the land? Will liberation make them any more numerous? Equally distributed among the whites of the whole country, and there would be but one colored to seven whites. Could the one in any way greatly disturb the seven? There are many communities now having more than one free colored person to seven whites and this without any apparent consciousness of evil from it. The District of Columbia and the States of Maryland and Delaware are all in this condition. The District has more than one free colored to six whites, and yet in its frequent petitions to Congress I believe it has never presented the presence of free colored persons as one of its grievances. But why should emancipation South send the free people North? People of any color seldom run unless there be something to run from. Hertofore colored people to some extent have fled North from bondage, and now, perhaps, from both bondage and destitution.
- If people see the Capitol going on, it is a sign we intend the Union shall go on.
- Abraham Lincoln, remark to John Eaton of Toledo, Ohio (1863), reported in Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln (1939), vol. 2, p. 535 (1939). Sandburg notes that Eaton had spoken to Lincoln of "hoisting the statue of Liberty over the Capitol dome, new marble pillars to be installed on the Senate wing, a massive and richly embellished bronze door being made for the main central portal. People were saying it was an extravagance during wartime".
- So I came to Washington, where I knew I would be farther away from America than I could be on some foreign shore; not that I do not respect this as a good part of America but in its general routine the heart of America is felt less here than at any place I have ever been.
- Huey Long, remarks in the Senate, May 17, 1932, Congressional Record, vol. 75, p. 10393.
- We can't even straighten up our capital in terms of crime.
- This is truly the capital... And the capital of the most important nation in the world—so there is more protocol here... If you want to know who next U.S. president will be, you cannot stay within the beltway... I always tell my staff that this is a big country with a history.
- Henne Schuwer, interview with Safa Shahwan (May 2016)
- In Washington, the clearer a statement is, the more certain it is to be followed by a "clarification" when people realize what was said.
- If there is one thing that is bipartisan in Washington, it is brazen hypocrisy.
- [George] Washington intended this to be a Federal city, and it is a Federal city, and it tingles down to the feet of every man, whether he comes from Washington State, or Los Angeles, or Texas, when he comes and walks these city streets and begins to feel that this is my city; I own a part of this Capital, and I envy for the time being those who are able to spend their time here. I quite admit that there are defects in the system of government by which Congress is bound to look after the government of the District of Columbia. It could not be otherwise under such a system, but I submit to the judgment of history that the result vindicates the foresight of the fathers.
- William Howard Taft, address at a banquet given in his honor by the Board of Trade and Chamber of Commerce of Washington, D.C. (May 8, 1909); Presidential Addresses and State Papers of William Howard Taft (1910), vol. 1, chapter 7, p. 82-83.
- Now, I am opposed to the franchise in the District [of Columbia]; I am opposed, and not because I yield to any one in my support and belief in the principles of self-government; but principles are applicable generally, and then, unless you make exceptions to the application of these principles, you will find that they will carry you to very illogical and absurd results. This was taken out of the application of the principle of self-government in the very Constitution that was intended to put that in force in every other part of the country, and it was done because it was intended to have the representatives of all the people in the country control this one city, and to prevent its being controlled by the parochial spirit that would necessarily govern men who did not look beyond the city to the grandeur of the nation, and this as the representative of that nation.
- William Howard Taft, address at a banquet given in his honor by the Board of Trade and Chamber of Commerce of Washington, D.C. (May 8, 1909); Presidential Addresses and State Papers of William Howard Taft (1910), vol. 1, chapter 7, p. 83.
- To my eye, there is more American greatness in a New England town hall than in all of Washington, and more American greatness in an Oregon apple orchard or a Rotary meeting than there is in all the tanks and rockets that ever have been.