District Of Columbia, * The name of a district of country, ten miles square, situate between the states of Maryland and Virginia, over which the national government has exclusive jurisdiction. By the constitution, congress may " exercise exclusive jurisdiction in all cases whatsoever, over such district, not exceeding ten miles square, as may, by, cession of particular states, and the acceptance of congress, become the seat of government of the United States." In pursuance of this authority, the states of Maryland and Virginia, ceded to the United States, a small territory on the banks of the Potomac, and congress, by the Act of July 16, 1790, accepted the same for the permanent seat of the government of the United States. The act provides for the removal of the seat of government from the city of Philadelphia to the District of Columbia, on the first Monday of December, 1800. It is also provided, that the laws of the state, within such district, shall not be affected by the acceptance, until the time fixed for the removal of the government thereto, and until congress shall otherwise by law provide.

2. It seems that the District of Columbia, and the territorial districts of the United States, are not states within the meaning of the constitution, and of the judiciary act, so as to enable a citizen thereof to sue a citizen of one of the states in the federal courts. 2 Cranch, 445; 1 Wheat, 91.

3. By the Act of July 11, 1846, congress retroceded the county of Alexandria, part of the District of Columbia, to the state of Virginia.

* From Bouvier's Law Dictionary, 1856 Edition. Please see Bouvier's Legal Abbreviations & Abbreviated References for help with obscure nomenclature & references.

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