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Washington: Evergreen State

CAPITAL: Olympia
JOINED UNION: November 11, 1889
STATE BIRD: Willow Goldfinch
STATE FLOWER: Rhododendron
MEANING OF STATE NAME: Named after George Washington
1992 POPULATION: 5,135,731
LAND AREA: 66,582 square miles
ECONOMY: Hydropower, aerospace, lumber and wood products, apples, wheat, commercial fishing
HISTORY: Home to the Yakima and Spokane Indian tribes, among others, Washington was explored by American, Spanish, French, English, and Russians during the late 1700s and early 1800s. Fur traders helped shape the state, establishing Spokane House in 1810, and under John Jacob Astor, Fort Okanogan in 1811. In 1845, America and England agreed on the border between Washington and Canada. The discovery of gold in 1855 brought more people to the state. In recent years, Seattle has become one of America's most desirable cities to live in, with people moving there from other states.

Washington Didn't Want It 1833-1884


While he was alive, George Washington managed to ward off attempts to create a monument to himself. It would be too expensive, he said. But like it or not, in 1833, a private organization called the Washington National Monument Society, decided to go ahead and build a monument to the United States' first president, so it started soliciting funds and reviewing plans.

Eventually a plan based on a design by Robert Mills was accepted, and the cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1848. Then, finding the ground was too soft, the monument was moved to its present location.

In 1876, seeing the project would need more than private support, Congress voted to pay for the project. Work began in 1880, and the monument was finished on December 6, 1884 at a cost of about $1.2 million.

The Washington Monument is patterned after ancient Egyptian obelisks, though several times larger. It is about 555-and-a-half-feet tall and is covered with white Maryland marble, and topped with a small, cast-aluminum pyramid.

Presidents Sleep Here 1792


The Constitution of the United States of America created three governing bodies: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. The Executive branch is headed by the President, who lives in the White House. The White House was built in 1792, and every President except for George Washington, has lived here. In 1814, during the War of 1812, the British burned down the White House. It was rebuilt, and with other structural improvements and rebuilding between 1948 and 1952, remains the
official residence of Presidents.

In other countries at the time of the American Revolution, people were governed by a king or queen who inherited power and ruled for life. In America, citizens could elect their leaders and change Presidents every four years if they desired.

The President of the United States of America works with Congress to pass legislation, formulates foreign policy, and travels around the world to cement American relationships with foreign powers. The President also selects judges for the Supreme Court, but the Senate must approve these choices and doesn't always do so. Also important is the President's role as commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

To deal with various issues, the President selects people to serve on his cabinet. These positions include the Secretaries of State, Defense, and Commerce. Today, a President can serve for two four-year terms. President Franklin Roosevelt was elected to four terms. After that, Congress voted an amendment to the Constitution limiting the terms of the presidency.


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