Skip to main content
Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Save up to 20% on the price of your tickets!

It's easy... Become a member today! If you are already a member, log in to get your member rate.

George Washington and the Building of a Capital City: A Lesson in Leadership

Evening Program

Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1K0070
$20 - Member
$25 - Non-Member
Reserving your tickets...


  • This program is part of our Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
  • Platform: Zoom
  • Online registration is required.
  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.


Despite America's newly won independence, a bitter dispute over whether to have a capital and where to locate it almost tore the young nation apart. The key role George Washington played in settling this question is a little-known tale of founding-period intrigue and an underappreciated side of Washington's exceptional political skill and leadership.

Robert P. Watson, Distinguished Professor of American History at Lynn University, presents a fascinating look at the forces that influenced Washington's passion and vision for the capital city and the intense political struggle to build it. He shares some little-known and interesting stories about both George Washington and the early days of the city, and explains how, in time, the location and design of the grand capital helped to allay some of the political bickering, gave the new nation some much-needed credibility in the eyes of the world, strengthened the fledgling republic, and imbued the people with a new sense of national identity. Washington’s consensus-building deserves close study today.

Watson’s upcoming book, George Washington’s Final Battle: The Epic Struggle to Build a Capital City and a Nation (Georgetown University Press), is available for purchase.



  • Unless otherwise noted, registration for streaming programs typically closes two hours prior to the start time on the date of the program.
  • Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from
  • Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of the program. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of the program, please email Customer Service for assistance.
  • View Common FAQs about our Streaming Programs on Zoom.

This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.