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Guides to Washington DC

In a book about U.S. cities and states, we must remind you that while Washington is a city, it's also a state; and that the District of Columbia is neither state nor city. Confused? In case you didn't know, the District of Columbia is a federally protected enclave of sorts, settled and founded in the late 18th century. The government still owns it, and its only city was named after our good father George Washington, who decreed that it should be the nation's capital. And so it was in 1800.

Today, it is the seat of one of the world's most powerful nations, playing a key role in international politics and relations in even the most remote corners of the world. America's president lives in its White House, our elected legislators and appointed officials assemble there in the hallowed halls of Congress and the judiciary, and it is home to one of the world's largest and most respected museums in the world, The Smithsonian. A visit to the Washington and Jefferson Memorials in the spring fills visitors' noses with the sweet scent of cherry blossoms, and their heads with a weighty sense of the nation's historic roots in revolution, the fight for independence, and freedom of expression. When politics get ugly and social problems seem overwhelming, Washington can be a good reality check, a reminder of how far we've come as a nation, and an inspiration to keep us ever mindful of the diversity and liberty that keeps America great.


Washington DC

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