The history of Alexandria, D.C., began in 1791 with a gentleman’s conspiracy. Political smokescreens and backroom deals involving George Washington set the new capital on both sides of the Potomac. Yet what first seemed an economic boon for the port city descended into an economic quagmire with a judicial vacuum. The streets were rocked by the lawlessness of a dueling mania, devastating fires and a draconian court system that sent petty thieves to the gallows. Author Michael Lee Pope charts this all-but-forgotten history from the incorporation into the District of Columbia and the controversial surrender of the city in the War of 1812 to gangs of retrocessionists that roamed the city in 1846 and the rising tensions between North and South that finally returned Alexandria to the commonwealth.
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