Should Washington, D.C. be Added as the 51st State?
In 1959, Hawaii was admitted into the United States as the 50th state. The six ensuing decades without the admittance of a new state is by far the longest in U.S. history—but that may soon change. Recently, the House of Representatives passed a bill to admit Washington, D.C. as the 51st state after a push by activists to make changes on this issue. This has sparked debates around the efficacy and constitutionality of such a measure.
Those who support Washington, D.C. being added as the 51st state argue that its residents are currently experiencing “taxation without representation.” They contend that it is unjust that D.C. does not have senators or representatives in Congress. This side argues it is ironic that the leader of the free world has a capital that appears to treat residents differently from the rest of the country. Finally, they argue that denying D.C. statehood has a racial impact, as a large amount of Washington’s residents are African American, a group that historically faced voter suppression.
Those who oppose Washington, D.C. being added as the 51st state argue that doing so would be unconstitutional. They contend that the 23rd Amendment, which granted D.C. electoral votes in presidential elections, would need to be repealed before Washington could become a state. They also claim that there is a reason why D.C. has never been a state, because it would be dangerous to have the federal government and a state government combined in such a way. Finally, they may argue that opposing D.C. statehood has nothing to do with race, and that it is purely based on constitutional and political arguments.
So, what do you think? Should Washington, D.C. be added as the 51st State? Students can answer Yes, it should; No, it should not; or a nuanced answer in between!
Note: Ideal Think the Vote responses include the following:
- Address the question asked in a thoughtful and meaningful manner
- Use cited facts and constitutional arguments when appropriate to support their answers
- Are expressed in cohesive sentences and are free of distracting spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors
- They address counterarguments and opposing concerns in a respectful manner
- They organize their answer in a manner that flows logically and reads clearly
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