The District of Columbia is best known as the home of all three branches of the United States federal government. However it must be remembered that, despite playing host to the rarified corridors of American political power, to nearly seven hundred thousand people, the United States capital is simply “home.”
Founded in 1791, Washington DC has served as the capital of the United States for over 200 years. During those 200 years, DC became a kind of bastion of and homage to federal authority. With its monuments and memorials in honor of the nation’s greatest leaders and fallen servants, DC represents American democracy in its boldest, most concentrated form.
It wasn’t always so. In the early days, Washington DC was little more than a swamp between the existing cities of Alexandria and Georgetown, Virginia. The early days were rough and within twenty years of the capital’s founding the British burned down the White House, the Capitol, and various other public buildings as part of the larger War of 1812. It was only after the Civil War and its attendant expansion of federal power and enfranchised citizens (many of whom moved to the DC area), that Washington became a city worthy of its status. Incessant federal expansion since that time has ensured a level of taxpayer-fueled prosperity until the present time.
So where does a young professional, just starting out on his or her career fit into this city? Well, underneath its mantle of power and politics lies a city rich with culture, history, and the everyday lives of everyday Washingtonians. With top universities, loads of public and private sector job opportunities, and plenty of must-see tourist attractions, DC attracts a wide variety of people. All these people bring with them diverse and layered backgrounds that together make up the colorful quilt that is Washington DC.
With its accessible public transportation, mild climate, and inexhaustible opportunities for cultural, educational, and social enrichment, it’s no wonder so many different people call DC home.