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VOTE: H 1-11. Residence Act of 1789

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1st Congress

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES

Mr. Owens of Virginia, for himself, introduced,

A BILL,

An Act for establishing the temporary and permanent seat of the Government of the Untied States.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

 

Sec. 1. 

That a district of territory, not exceeding ten miles square, to be located as hereafter directed on the river Potomac, at some place between the mouths of the Eastern Branch and Connogochegue, be, and the same is hereby accepted for the permanent seat of the government of the United States. Provided nevertheless, That the operation of the laws of the state within such district shall not be affected by this acceptance, until the time fixed for the removal of the government thereto, and until Congress shall otherwise by law provide.

Sec. 2.

That the President of the United States be authorized to appoint, and by supplying vacancies happening from refusals to act or other causes, to keep in appointment as long as may be necessary, three commissioners, who, or any two of whom, shall, under the direction of the President, survey, and by proper metes and bounds define and limit a district of territory, under the limitations above mentioned; and the district so defined, limited and located, shall be deemed the district accepted by this act, for the permanent seat of the government of the United States.

Sec. 3.  

That the said commissioners, or any two of them, shall have power to purchase or accept such quantity of land on the eastern side of the said river, within the said district, as the President shall deem proper for the use of the United States, and according to such plans as the President shall approve, the said commissioners, or any two of them, shall, prior to the first Monday in December, in the year one thousand eight hundred, provide suitable buildings for the accommodation of Congress, and of the President, and for the public offices of the government of the United States.

Sec. 4

That for defraying the expense of such purchases and buildings, the President of the United States be authorized and requested to accept grants of money.

Sec. 5.

 That prior to the first Monday in December next, all offices attached to the seat of the government of the United States, shall be removed to, and until the said first Monday in December, in the year one thousand eight hundred, shall remain at the city of Philadelphia, in the state of Pennsylvania, at which place the session of Congress next ensuing the present shall be held.

Sec. 6. 

That on the said first Monday in December, in the year one thousand eight hundred, the seat of the government of the United States, shall, by virtue of this act, be transferred to the district and place aforesaid. And all offices attached to the said seat of government, shall accordingly be removed thereto by their respective holders, and shall, after the said day, cease to be exercised elsewhere; and that the necessary expense of such removal shall be defrayed out of the duties on imposts and tonnage, of which a sufficient sum is hereby appropriated.

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Speaker Frederick Muhlenberg (I-PA)

This bill is brought up for debate by the House for no less than 72 hours.

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Mr. Speaker,

The time has come for us to establish a national capital. This legislation starts that process by authorizing President Washington to locate a piece of land along the banks of the Potomac. While at the same time establishing a temporary capital to Philadelphia, the place where our independence started. I urge this house to thoughtfully consider this legislation.

I yield

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Mr. Speaker,

Why should the capital be moved south to Virginia? Is it because it just so happens to be the congressman's state? Why can't it be in New York, which has the best economy in the nation? Why can't it be in Boston, which is where the acts that started the revolution occurred? Why can't it be in Philadelphia, where we created our Constitution? What does Virginia offer, besides being the home of the congressman?

I yield.

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Mr Speaker,

I am not proposing that our capital be in Virginia, I'm proposing it be central to all the states in our union. I am proposing we build a new city, one that will be the envy of governments across the globe. A national capital that isn't part of any state is what our country needs. That is why this is only the first step in the process. Once the President has found the parcel of land, I will put forward new legislation to create a federal district to be administrated by this body, and be the seat of our government.

I yield.

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Mr. Speaker,

I would dispute the notion that New York has the best economy of any part of the country, thus I do not find such a suggestion to be persuasive.  I do believe it is appropriate that a new capital be constructed near the geographic center of this new nation, so as to not unnecessarily favor any particular state or section of the country.  That key aspect of this proposal is what I find most intriguing and I am most inclined to support.

I yield.

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Time for debate has expired. We will now move to a 72 hour final vote on this bill. Please cast your vote as a reply to this thread.

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Aye:                      
House (Main) Virginia Federalist $3,835 71 65 58 57 53 2 81
House (Main) Massachusetts Federalist $6,000 43 36 41 38 42 1 63
House (Main) North Carolina Federalist $5,302 32 15 14 27 14 3 63
Nay:                      
House (Main) New York Federalist $3,345 48 39 58 47 38 3 79
Abstain:                      
House (Main) Rhode Island Independent $13,112 35 29 65 35 35 2 85

NPC Votes
  Total Aye Nay Present
Northern Federalist 3 1 2  
Central Federalist 3 3    
Southern Federalist 2 2    
Northern Republicans 0      
Central Republicans 0      
Southern Republicans 5 1 3 1
Northern Independents 9 3 4 2
Central Independents 10 5 3 2
Southern Independents 11 5 3 3
  43 20 15 8

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Residence Act
  Federalists Republicans Independents Total
Aye 9 1 13 23
Nay 3 3 10 16
Abstain   1 8 9

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SENATE: Residence Act
  Federalists Republicans Independents Total
Aye 5 2 8 15
Nay 1 3 4 8
Abstain 1 1 1 3

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