On This Date- November 3rd

Nov 3, 1964:

D.C. residents cast first presidential votes

On this day in 1964, residents of the District of Columbia cast their ballots in a presidential election for the first time. The passage of the 23rd Amendment in 1961 gave citizens of the nation’s capital the right to vote for a commander in chief and vice president. They went on to help Democrat Lyndon Johnson defeat Republican Barry Goldwater in 1964, the next presidential election.

Taxation without Representation

dbking via Flickr

Between 1776 and 1800, New York and then Philadelphia served as the temporary center of government for the newly formed United States. The capital’s location was a source of much controversy and debate, especially for Southern politicians, who didn’t want it located too far north. In 1790, Congress passed a law allowing President George Washington to choose the permanent site. As a compromise, he selected a tract of undeveloped swampland on the Potomac River, between Maryland and Virginia, and began to refer to it as Federal City. The commissioners overseeing the development of the new city picked its permanent name—Washington—to honor the president. Congress met for the first time in Washington, D.C., on November 17, 1800.

The District was put under the jurisdiction of Congress, which terminated D.C. residents’ voting rights in 1801. In 1961, the 23rd Amendment restored these rights, allowing D.C. voters to choose electors for the Electoral College based on population, with a maximum of as many electors as the least populated state. With a current population of over 550,000 residents, 61-square-mile D.C. has three electoral votes, just like Wyoming, America’s smallest state, population-wise. The majority of D.C.’s residents are African Americans and they have voted overwhelmingly for Democratic candidates in past presidential elections.

Seal of the District of Columbia.

In 1970, Congress gave Washington, D.C., one non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives and with the passage of 1973’s Home Rule Act, Washingtonians got their first elected mayor and city council. In 1978, a proposed amendment would have given D.C. the right to select electors, representatives and senators, just like a state, but it failed to pass, as have subsequent calls for D.C. statehood.

Also on This Day

American Revolution
Washington learns of Conway cabal, 1777
Detroit-Windsor Tunnel opens to traffic, 1930
Civil War
Confederate General Jubal Early is born, 1816
Cold War
Johnson defeats Goldwater for presidency, 1964
A serial killer abducts and rapes his teenage victim, 1984
Hotel fire ends in disaster in South Korea, 1974
General Interest
Panama declares independence, 1903
The Soviet space dog, 1957
Communists and Klansmen clash in Greensboro, 1979
Iran arms sales revealed, 1986
Carrie creeps out audiences, 1976
Thackeray completes Barry Lyndon, 1844
The Crystals earn a #1 hit with “He’s A Rebel”—or do they?, 1962
Old West
Black Bart makes his last stagecoach robbery, 1883
Newspaper mistakenly declares Dewey president, 1948
The Body is elected governor of Minnesota, 1998
Vietnam War
Battle of Dak To begins, 1967
Nixon calls on the “silent majority”, 1969
World War I
Central Powers face rebellion on the home front, 1918
World War II
The order is given: Bomb Pearl Harbor, 1941
This Week in History, Nov 3 – Nov 9

Nov 03, 1964
D.C. residents cast first presidential votes
Nov 04, 1956
Soviets put brutal end to Hungarian revolution
Nov 05, 1994
George Foreman becomes oldest heavyweight champ
Nov 06, 1962
U.N. condemns apartheid
Nov 07, 1991
Magic Johnson announces he is HIV positive
Nov 08, 1895
German scientist discovers X-rays
Nov 09, 1938
Nazis launch Kristallnacht

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