On This Day
1790 – The District of Columbia is established as the capital of the United States after signature of the Residence Act.
The Residence Act of 1790, officially titled An Act for establishing the temporary and permanent seat of the Government of the United States (1 Stat. 130), was a United States federal statute adopted during the second session of the First United States Congress, and signed into law by President George Washington on July 16, 1790. The Act provided for a national capital and permanent seat of government to be established at a site along the Potomac River and empowered President Washington to appoint commissioners to oversee the project. It also set a deadline of December 1800 for the capital to be ready, and designated Philadelphia as the nation’s temporary capital while the new seat of government was being built. At the time, the federal government was operating out of New York City.
Congress passed the Residence Act as part of a compromise brokered among James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton. Madison and Jefferson favored a southerly site for the capital on the Potomac River, but they lacked a majority to pass the measure through Congress. Meanwhile, Hamilton was pushing for Congress to pass the Assumption Bill, to allow the Federal government to assume debts accumulated by the states during the American Revolutionary War. With the compromise, Hamilton was able to muster support from the New York State congressional delegation for the Potomac site, while four delegates (all from districts bordering the Potomac) switched from opposition to support for the Assumption Bill.
Born On This Day
1903 – Irmgard Flügge-Lotz, German mathematician and engineer (d. 1974)
Irmgard Flügge-Lotz, née Lotz (16 July 1903 – 22 May 1974) was a German-American mathematician, aerospace engineer, and control theorist. She was a pioneer in the development of the theory of discontinuous automatic control, which has found wide application in hysteresis control systems; such applications include guidance systems, electronics, fire-control systems, and temperature regulation. She became the first female engineering professor at Stanford University in 1961 and the first female engineer elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
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