Eighteenth-century father of our Constitution James Madison would probably have rolled over in his grave if he’d seen the Jan. 5 Metro article “New House leadership gets behind D.C. statehood.” He probably would have thought: Doesn’t anyone remember the past?

In the summer of 1783, the Continental Congress (including an unnerved Madison) fled Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania statehouse (now known as Independence Hall) to Princeton, N.J. They were chased out by a mutinous mob of unpaid, armed militiamen from Lancaster and Philadelphia after Pennsylvania’s Executive Council and its president, John Dickinson, refused Congress’s demand to mobilize loyal militia and quash the mob. Given what happened in Philadelphia, the Continental Congress drafted the Constitution to provide for the creation of a “District” to locate the capital of the nation removed from the control of any state. Dickinson, who became a delegate from Delaware, signed the Constitution.

In Federalist 43, Madison noted the necessity of the nation’s government to be in complete control over the area where it sat. His evidence included that every state government in the Union had control over where it sat and so does every government in the world. If the nation’s government did not have complete control, its members could be harassed and its proceeding interrupted with impunity. He also explained why the future inhabitants of this District should be willing parties to this arrangement.

Perhaps history has a lot to tell us about why the District maybe shouldn’t be a state. The Post’s article said nothing. The past was ignored.

Thomas Leggette, Falls Church