XVII. Congressional Governance of Washington, D.C. & Military Facilities

Catechism of the Constitution Book CoverThe Federalist Papers has posted a PDF copy of an Elementary Catechism on the Constitution from 1828 written by Arthur J. Stansbury. I’m publishing it on Mondays in a series of posts. Because the date of publication was 1828, some content has been changed by later Constitutional amendments. There are no sections in the book, so I’m dividing it into any natural breaks of topics and the posts will vary in length. Any emphases within the text are Stansbury’s.

After the Catechism was written, in 1846, Virginia was granted retrocession of the land in Alexandra originally ceded to be in Washington, D.C., and the town was again part of the state of Virginia.

XVII. Congressional Governance of Washington, D.C. & Military Facilities

Q. Have you mentioned all the powers of Congress?

A. No; they have power to make all the Laws for a certain District, not more than ten miles square, where Congress meets, and where the Chief Officers of Government reside. This is called the Seat of Government.

Q. Has this District no Legislature of its own choice, as the States have?

A. No.

Q. Is it a part of any State?

A. No. It consists of territory, which the States have given up, for the express purpose that it might be the seat of the General Government. The territory at present used for this purpose, is called the District of Columbia; and has been ceded, (that is, given up) by the States of Maryland and Virginia, within which it before lay.

Q. Is there any other place in the United States, which is thus ruled by Congress alone?

A. Yes — all Forts, Magazines, (that is, places where powder and other things used by an army are laid up) Arsenals, (that is, buildings where arms are kept) and Dock-yards; (that is, places where vessels of war are built) which belong to the United States, are governed, not by the Legislatures of the States in which they may be, but by the General Government alone.

In the heading under Charters of Freedom, you will find a copy of the Constitution as well as links to other pertinent primary documents and commentary on the Constitution.

Elementary Catechism on the Constitution posts:

Elementary Catechism on the Constitution (Preface)
I. The Necessity of Government and Its Forms
II. The American Revolution
III. The Occasion and Purpose of the Constitution
IV. State and National Laws
V. The House of Representatives
VI. The Senate
VII. Impeachment
VIII. Impeachment of the President & The Rule of Law
IX. Meetings of Congress
X. Members of Congress
XI. The Making of Federal Laws
XII. Taxes, Duties, Imposts, and Excises
XIII. Finance and Commerce
XIV. Courts & International Offences
XV. Declaration of War
XVI. State Militia
Book image from The Federalist Papers. Other reading formats of the Elementary Catechism on the Constitution can be found here.


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