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The History of Washington, DC: Promise and Paradox

The W&M Washington Center is please to welcome back Professor Adrienne Petty to Hybrid DC Summer Session I!
  • HIST 312/AMST 390
  • 3 credits, COLL 300
  • DC Summer Session I, course dates: June 1-July 2, 2021
  • In-person week tentatively scheduled for: June 21-25, 2021
    • 5 in-person evening sessions 5:30-8:30pm
  • Networking Reception: June 24 6:30-8:30pm
  • CRN: 32106 (HIST), 32634 (AMST)

From its founding, D.C. has been a symbol of democracy. Yet the history of D.C. has been profoundly anti-democratic. For much of the city’s history, D.C. residents had no voice in how the federal and city taxes they paid were spent, lacked the right to vote in presidential elections, and were at the whim of both houses of Congress. Today, district residents continue to be subjected to taxation without representation. This hybrid course will examine the history of D.C.—the city and the capital—from the eve of emancipation to the Free DC Movement of the 1960s. By focusing on the city’s residents, economy, and culture, students will examine how and why Washington the city has so often stood in contradiction to the ideals and promise of Washington the Nation’s Capital, and the political uses of the city as a testing ground for federal policies.