CHAPTER XX
THE STRUGGLE FOR THE CAPITAL

THE Constitution gave authority to Congress to accept from the State or States ceding it a district not to exceed ten miles square, to be exclusively under the jurisdiction of the National Government, for a permanent seat of Government. The provision came from a resolution offered in the Convention on August 3 by Madison that "the Legislature shall at their first assembling determine on a place at which their future sessions shall be held." In his speech supporting the resolution Madison said it would be more important under the new Government than it had been under the old, that the capital be in a central location, because the new Government would be more numerous, and as it would exercise many functions not now pertaining to the Federal Government more people would be obliged to resort to the capital than had hitherto done so. The first Congress under the Constitution was, therefore, in a measure obliged to take up the question of locating a new capital as one of its manifest duties. How the question became involved with that of making provision for the public debt, so that the settlement of the one meant the settlement of the other, is a story of trading of votes in Congress and of a bargain struck between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. The actuating motive of the voting was a desire to secure sectional advantages, and this desire was so apparent that it is clear that there was little of a broad national spirit among the members of the first Congress. To them neither the assumption of the State debts nor the choice of a site for the capital involved any deep principle. The assumption was a

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