The District of Columbia, commonly known as Washington, D.C., is the seat of the United States federal government and is home to around 670,000 Americans. Washington, D.C. was created by Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 of the U.S. Constitution, which established the District in territory appropriated from Maryland and Virginia.
Uncle Sam keeps D.C. on a leash; the federal government directly administers D.C., meaning that Congress has the unique power to override any decision made by the local government. Additionally, D.C. residents could not vote in federal elections until the ratification of the 23rd Amendment in 1961, which granted the District three Electoral College votes in presidential elections. However, D.C. residents remain unrepresented in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, the primary federal law making institutions.
Most Americans are aware of the Plessy V. Ferguson Supreme Court case, however many are not familiar with the Insular cases, which were decided by the same Supreme Court justices. The Insular cases were a series of Supreme Court cases from the early 20th century which determined the constitutional rights of those who live in United States territories. Currently, the United States territories are composed of Puerto Rico, the American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S Virgin Islands. In these cases, the courts concluded that Americans living in American territories are not granted automatic citizenship and that Congress has the authority to grant citizenship to these territories. Although there have been several improvements to their conditions, these cases have yet to be overturned; in some of the American territories, citizenship continues to not be an automatic right.