Washington, D.C. was established during the Compromise of 1790 and originally consisted of land provided by the states of Maryland and Virginia. Because of constitutional restrictions and federal laws, residents of the nation’s capital can currently vote for president but lack voting representation in the House and the Senate. The District also lacks the autonomy and political authority that is provided with statehood. In June 2020, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 51 which would make portions of Washington, D.C., the 51st state. In order to admit D.C. as a new state to the Union, the bill would need to be passed by both chambers of Congress and signed by the president.
This deliberation looks at the history and constitutional foundations relating to D.C. statehood and has students explore and analyze arguments relating to this topic. Students will answer the question: Should Washington, D.C. become a state?