Wednesday, 13 August 2008
The Early Years - Washington DC
During these summer holidays I am reading and researching the the early years of some of the institutions relevant to my studies for a doctorate. These include the Labour Group in the House of Lords (see blog entry for 7th August); the leadership of the House of Representatives; and the establishment and growth of the US Congress.
As part of that, I've been reading some interesting books and articles over the last week. In particular - "The Washington Community 1800-1828" by James Sterling Young (New York & London: Columbia University Press, 1966) and "The Sacred Geometry of Washington DC" by Nicholas R Mann (Sutton Mallet, UK: Green Magic, 2006). Both are fascinating books. James Sterling Young looks at the members of the ruling group who moved to the newly built city (which in fact was an underpopulated series of small communities tied to the branches of government in which each community served) when Washington DC became the Federal Capital in 1800. Nicholas Mann looks at the plan of the city - and how its physical structure represented the political theories which underlay the constitutional structure. Both have a lot to say about how the site of the city was selected and developed.
In addition I've been reading material about the springs; streams; rivers and hills upon which Washington is built - many no longer visible. As a result over the rest of the holidays (along with other matters - there are fascinating elections going on in the USA and British politics is not exactly uninteresting at this time!) - I shall share with you what I find about my favourite city.