United States Capitol Building
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

District of Columbia to Become the Newest State — and Its New Name Would Be…?

T he city of Washington — in the District of Columbia — is poised to bid on becoming the newest state in the United States as proposed by a commission of five panel members.

What is unique about the District of Columbia is that it is the only place where you can be in the continental United States and yet not be located in any of the 50 states.

District of Columbia to Become the Newest State — and Its New Name Would Be…?

If you take a look at the official license plate of the city of Washington, you will see the line Taxation Without Representation at the bottom. This is because residents pay taxes to the federal government of the United States despite not having anyone in the House of Representatives to — well — represent them.

Should the District of Columbia become state number 51, that would mean representation for residents — not to mention the first time in almost 58 years that a new state was added to the United States, which means that the design of the flag would have to be changed…

…and it would also mean that the name District of Columbia would have to be changed as well. The proposed new name would be New Columbia — which was approved by voters back in 1982 during a referendum which was part of an earlier campaign for statehood — but the name Columbia was in honor of Christopher Columbus, who has been associated with the decimation of people who were native to the North American continent.

Other names have been tossed about — such as Anacostia, Douglass Commonwealth and Potomac and Douglass Commonwealth, according to this article written by Fenit Nirappil of The Washington Post. “Those who detest ‘New Columbia’ will get an opportunity to lobby for a different name in the fall, when the D.C. Council holds hearings on the draft constitution before bringing it before voters as a ballot question in November.”


There is apparently a race as to which region, district or territory will become the next state of the United States first — the District of Columbia; the proposed state of Jefferson; the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, where 61 percent of its citizens voted in a referendum in support of the financially-strapped island to become a state in 2012; or Cascadia, as inferred by Alvin, who is a reader of The Gate

…and those are only four possible candidates for statehood. There are more.

For this article, I have decided to refrain from opining. Rather, I would like to hear from you: if the District of Columbia does become a state, what should be its name?

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

  1. One of the keys to the greatness of our country is that the capital of the nation is not a part of any state. Voters in DC should be treated in a fashion similar to members of the armed forces serving overseas and have a home state where they can vote in federal elections.

    1. Please explain how disenfranchising almost 700,000 people is one of the keys to the greatness of our country. I was born and live in DC, why should I vote for someone who represents another jurisdiction that does not share our interests? The current system was fine while DC was little more than a collection of government buildings. Today it’s a thriving metropolis with a bigger economy and population than several states. The area surrounding the Mall should remain a federal enclave, but the rest of DC should be a state. Either that, or exempt residents from paying federal taxes, like those in other US territories.

  2. The residents of DC get a huge taxpayer funded freebie by having a massive bureaucracy located in their district generating billions of dollars of economy activity. I would trade my representatives for that any day.

  3. It’s not reasonable for a tiny area with 68 square miles and fewer than 700,000 people to become a state. If the people who live there want federal representation, let’s reduce D.C. to the area containing the federal buildings and return the rest to Maryland, the way Arlington and Alexandria were returned to Virginia in 1847.

  4. i’ll never happen …
    – DC was carved out of Virginia & Maryland … that territory has to go back to their respective states
    – a anew State means at least one new Representative, what state is going to give up a Congressman volantarily (recall, number in the House has been fixed for decades)
    – What state is going to let a mere 700k people have the same two Senators that (Say the 10s of millions in Calif). What State will allow their share of Senate votes/comitte seats get diminished.

    Texas,on the other hand, as a term of its admitance, retained the right to split itself into 4 smaller States and does not require aproval to do so

    1. You don’t seem to understand how the Senate works. All the states get the same number of senators (2) no matter what their population. DC has more people than Vermont and Wyoming. By your logic, why do they get as many senators as California? (And by the way, Rhode Island is pretty tiny, too.) There is absolutely no legal reason that the land would have to go back to Maryland or Virginia. Also, while the federal government is absolutely a large employer, they pay NO local taxes like other businesses. Neither do the many nonprofits located here. And unlike every other major metropolitan area, DC isn’t allowed to impose a commuter tax on Virginians and Marylanders who work in the city. There is no morally defensible reason for denying American citizens who pay federal taxes a voice in their own governance.

      1. >You don’t seem to understand how
        >the Senate works. All the states get
        >the same number of senators (2) no
        >matter what their population

        I understand that perfectly. Which is why no sitting senator is going to say “oh, i’ll be happy to let another 2 guys into the club; just to compete for my commitee chairmanship, or my ranking membership, or to divy up my pork barrel projects 51 ways instead of 50 ways. or to let in what will probably be two democartic senators when I’m a republican senator and thus increase the probability that that I’m the minority party”

  5. People have a misconception that because they pay $50K a year in federal taxes they’re entitled to special rights and the government owes them something. Guess what? You’re not even covering your own costs and the fact of the matter is that the majority of us are freeloading off those who do pay the lion’s share of federal taxes. Besides, the only reason DC residents have taxes to pay if because the rest of us pay their salaries or fund their consulting contracts or defense contracts or nonprofit or whatever.

  6. No mention is made of the continuing failures of the D.C. government. If the federal government could somehow leave D.C., and not continuously pour money into it, the district would collapse.. See: http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2015/09/24/washington_d_c_s_metro_economy_it_s_basically_stopped_growing.html

    Does “Puerto Rico on the Potomac” fit? Oh, and D.C. also has one of the highest AIDS rates in the U.S. The best that could happen would be for the district to be annexed by Maryland and Virginia. But neither state government is quite dumb enough for this to occur.

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