Washington, D.C., also known as the District of Columbia, Washington, or simply DC, is the capital of the United States. It is located along the Potomac River, on land donated by the state of Maryland that also borders Virginia. It is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States Congress and not part of any state.
Washington is home to the centers of all three branches of government - the White House, Congress, and the Supreme Court, along with many important monuments and museums, which are primarily situated around the National Mall. It is the home of the President, the First Lady, and the entire White House senior staff, and is the main setting for The West Wing.
The existence of a national capital, outside of the control of any state, is provided for in the Constitution. In the Compromise of 1790, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson agreed to establish the capital in the South, in exchange for the creation of the first national debt. George Washington chose the location of the new capital, a square 10 miles on each side, along the Potomac River. The location already contained two thriving port cities, Georgetown and Alexandria, and the land was donated by the states of Maryland and Virginia. Initially, the district contained three different cities - Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria - which were organized into two counties. Later, the land south of the Potomac was retroceded to Virginia, and Georgetown was annexed by Washington. Today, the city of Washington is coterminous with the District of Columbia.
The District played a key role in the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. The Lincoln Memorial was the site of the 1963 March on Washington, where Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
- The White House, home of the President of the United States
- The Capitol, where the United States Congress meets
- The Supreme Court building
- The headquarters of most federal government departments, including the State Department and the Treasury Department. The Department of Defense is headquartered at the Pentagon in nearby Arlington, Virginia
Monuments and landmarks
- The National Mall
- The Lincoln Memorial
- The Washington Monument
- The Jefferson Memorial
- The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
- Arlington National Cemetery, while not located in Washington, is right across the Potomac River, adjacent to the National Mall
- The Smithsonian museums
- The National Gallery of Art
- The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
- "Southeast DC" (which most likely refers to the real-life neighborhood of Anacostia) is the home of Charlie Young
- Georgetown, an upper-class neighborhood that is home to Josh Lyman and probably other characters
- Georgetown University, where Zoey Bartlet is a student
- George Washington University
- A number of shops, restaurants, bars, cafes, schools, and parks