Thomas Jefferson, one of the "Founding Fathers" of the U.S., was the nation's third president. Before that, he was the nation's first secretary of state, and that's when this portrait was painted.

Painting by Charles Wilson Peale

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  • On March 4, 1801, Thomas Jefferson became the first president to be inaugurated in Washington, D.C. The city—the District of Columbia—was founded in 1791. It is named after both President George Washington and Christopher Columbus.

    The District of Columbia is a “federal district,” and is not a state or a part of any state. It was created to be the location of the United States federal government. The district is divided into four sections, with the U.S. Capitol building at the meeting of those sections. Washington, D.C., is located on the banks of the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, wedged between the states of Virginia and Maryland. Until 1961, residents of Washington, D.C., could not vote in presidential elections. To this day, because it is not a state, the district does not have any representatives in Congress.

    Washington, D.C., is the only geographical area of its kind. All three branches of the federal government are located there: the executive branch (the White House), the judicial branch (the Supreme Court), and the legislative branch (the Capitol). Washington is also home to many of the country’s important museums and monuments.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    bank Noun

    organization that loans, protects, and exchanges money to and from individuals and organizations.

    Capitol Noun

    official building used by the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C.

    Christopher Columbus Noun

    (1446-1506) Italian navigator.

    election Noun

    selection of people to public office by vote.

    federal Adjective

    having to do with a nation's government (as opposed to local or regional government).

    George Washington Noun

    (1732-1799) first president of the United States.

    government Noun

    system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

    inaugurate Verb

    to make a formal beginning or start.

    representative Noun

    someone or something who acts in place of a group of people.