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Report of the Committee appointed to inquire into the expediency of removing the Seat of Government, October 3, 1814

A House of Representatives committee charged with determining whether the national capital should move from Washington, D.C., to another location concluded that a move would be “inexpedient.” A House vote on a motion to change the decisive word to “expedient” was split, 68–68, until the Speaker of the House cast his tie-breaking vote for the change.

Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives and Records Administration

Report of the Committee appointed to inquire into the expediency of removing the Seat of Government, October 3, 1814

Moving the Seat of Government

Washington, D.C., was founded in 1790 to be the nation’s capital. The federal government, which had previously met in New York and Philadelphia, relocated there in 1800. After the British burned Washington’s public buildings—including the U.S. Capitol—in August 1814, northern congressmen proposed moving the government, at least temporarily, back to Philadelphia. A House committee considered the matter, but the full House defeated the bill when put to a vote. District citizens built a temporary brick Capitol for Congress, and Washington, D.C., remained the seat of government.

Resolved, that it is inexpedient expedient to remove the seat of government at this time, from the city of Washington.

Report of the Committee appointed to inquire into the expediency of removing the Seat of Government, October 3, 1814