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Should Washington DC become a state?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/5/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 7,874 times Debate No: 7700
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (10)
Votes (1)




I thank my opponent for accepting this debate.

The question is whether DC should beceom a state or not, and I have taken the con side.

a). Our founding fathers did not want it to be. They intended for it to be a seperate federal district, and we should respect their wishes.

b). It would cost tons of money and time. Think of the headache is would cause if we had to change all the textbooks, all the statues, all the whatever.... we cannot afford to spend that kind of money, especially now.

c). It would provide no economic benefit. Most of the money coming into DC is from tourism. It has little industry or agriculture. Most of the citiznes work outside it anyway. It cannot really prouduce much income on its own, and it would be supported by the federal government as a state. This would come from out tax dollars, so basically the citizens are paying for a 5 letter description.

Instead, it should be given the rights of a state. That way, they get the representation without having to actually becoming a state.


Hello, and thanks for beginning the debate

I affirm the resolution that Washington, D.C. should become a state

The main reason that I elect to affirm the resolution is democracy. Democracy is a value that is of utmost importance in today's world. It is now widely agreed that having a say in government ought to be a fundamental right of all human beings. The founder's themselves choose to split from the British empire due to "taxation without representation". It is this very same issue that compels me to affirm the resolution.

My opponent ended his introduction by saying "Instead, it [Washington, D.C.] should be given the rights of a state. That way, they get the representation without having to actually becoming a state." I find this point interesting. My opponent agrees and concedes that D.C. deserves the rights that accompany statehood. Yet, for some reason, he refuses to use the word state. Why on earth would we spend the time and resources to give D.C. the rights of states, but then suddenly choose not to call it a state? That makes no sense. If you're going to invest the time into giving the rights of states, you at least ought to go all the way and call it a state.

My opponents points refuted:

a.) My opponent says that we should not make the district a state because our founding fathers did not want it to be. Not quite. The founders did not make the district what it is because they did not want it to be a state. They made it what it was because they did not want it to be in a state. The founders realized that they could not put the capital inside a state when the governor of Pennsylvania refused to disperse rioters outside of Philadelphia (the initial capital of the U.S.) [1]. As James Madison says in Federalist #43:

"The indispensable necessity of complete authority at the seat of government, carries its own evidence with it. It is a power exercised by every legislature of the Union, I might say of the world, by virtue of its general supremacy. Without it, not only the public authority might be insulted and its proceedings interrupted with impunity; but a dependence of the members of the general government on the State comprehending the seat of the government, for protection in the exercise of their duty, might bring on the national councils an imputation of awe or influence, equally dishonorable to the government and dissatisfactory to the other members of the Confederacy." [2].

It probably never occurred to the founders to make a capital state because the founders didn't feel that it was necessary. At the time, they figured that it would be easier and more respectful to the other states to just make a capital city.

b.) My opponent asserts "It would cost tons of money and time". First of all, I must state that money is not more important than democracy. When making a decision regarding political and civil rights, your first question should never be "How much money will it make me?". Secondly, it might cost "tons" of money, but it won't cost nearly as much as projects that the government has undertaken before. If we can spend 700 billion dollars to bail out irresponsible banks, I think we can shell out a couple of bucks to provide democracy to half a million people. The money spent on making D.C. a state would be a tiny footnote on the mountain of the national debt. Additionally, it likely wouldn't cost more than a couple of years to make D.C. a state. HR 51, a 1993 bill that would make D.C. a state, would take only two years to complete the process [3]. My opponent then states "Think of the headache is would cause if we had to change all the textbooks, all the statues, all the whatever.... ". There is no need to revise every single history book just because D.C. becomes a state. We can include that in future history books. After all, it is history in the making. It shouldn't be in old history books, because it hadn't happened yet in the old history books. As for statues, those change all the time. That's part of government. Plenty of statues changed when Hawaii became a state. Lots of statues changed when the Supreme Court made it's famous Brown ruling. However, we are happy to embrace those changes because they worked for the better of our nation and our individual rights.

c.) My opponents third contention is that it would provide no economic benefit. I would like to reiterate that money does not trump individual rights. The natural right of individuals to be represented in their government should not be restricted by any amount of money or economic concept. What matters more: money, or the great principles that this country was founded upon? The government should not just do what makes the most economic sense. If we did this, the world would be run purely by corporations. It is the duty of government to provide for the rights of its citizens, and in this instance, this requires making the district of Colombia a state. My opponent says that we are paying "for a 5 letter description". He thinks this is wrong. However, he believes it just that we pay for giving D.C. the rights of state. Well, it doesn't cost anything extra to call D.C. a state in addition to giving it the rights of states. When it comes down to it, we aren't paying for the word 'state'. We're paying for giving people the right to vote, a right that everyone deserves. My opponent agrees that the district should have this right, so his third contention is pointless.


Washington D.C. has more people than the state of Wyoming, but Wyoming has two senators and a representative in the house [4].

Democracy, a value that this nation was founded on, is more important than a trivial amount of money






Thanks for starting such a good topic to debate. I look forward to the next rounds.
Debate Round No. 1


Interrobang forfeited this round.


Since my opponent forfeited this round, I won't post any new arguments, with the assumption that my old ones still stand.
Debate Round No. 2


Interrobang forfeited this round.


Same as above.
Debate Round No. 3


Interrobang forfeited this round.


See above
Debate Round No. 4


Interrobang forfeited this round.


Debate Round No. 5
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Debate_Dude 1 year ago
I for one do not feel that making DC a state is the best way to address this issue. One would think that sense the land originally belonged to Maryland that they should have 'first rights' and that the people of Maryland should be part of the process.

An alternative proposal might be the District of Columbia Voting Rights Restoration Act of 2004 (H.R. 3709), which would have treated the residents of the DC as residents of Maryland for the purposes of Congressional representation. Maryland's congressional delegation would then have been apportioned accordingly to include the population of the District.

This approach seems to be a better fit as it would not add any democratic delegates which I understand is a sore spot to republicans. More importantly, the voice of the people of DC and Maryland would be heard.
Posted by JoK3r 8 years ago
Is it even possible to give a CITY states rights? If so, just make it a state. But, I agree, too much money, too much problems, no point to it.
Posted by SuperPerfundo 8 years ago
Founding taxation without representation. I'm sure thats in a textbook somewhere....
Posted by resolutionsmasher 8 years ago
It is not a part of any other state and thus its people lose the right to vote in national elections. They don't have senators or representatives in Congress and thus its people are being cheated out of democracy. Because of this we need to allow D.C. to become a state. Its population nearly matches that of the state of Oklahoma so its land size shouldn't be a factor. When Interrobang suggests giving it the rights of a state without letting it become a state then we still accomplish all of his negative effects. At that point we might as well call them a state. Of cource that is up to the people in D.C. If they don't want to become a state then they will not file their state constitution for ratification and thus will not become a state. But we should make that option available.
Posted by rangersfootballclub 8 years ago
why even debate this unless you are where pro ?? Its a city not a state ....
Posted by I-am-a-panda 8 years ago
Respect the decisions of your founding fathers? Fine, go back to slavery.
Posted by TheSexicanMexican 8 years ago
mongoose, technically D.C. is a megalopolis, but yes you're right it shouldn't be a state.
Posted by mongeese 8 years ago
I just want to say, we wouldn't have to change the textbooks; textbooks are always out of date, and the teachers would just have to teach without the textbook. I am supporting CON, though.
Posted by wjmelements 8 years ago
more like, "Should we give the central government more power?"
Posted by mongoose 8 years ago
How could it be made a state? It's a CITY for crying out loud.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by TheSexicanMexican 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:07