Political Representation in Alexandria, Virginia: A Decade of Change

For more than two centuries, Alexandria, Virginia has been a hub of political activity. From its beginnings as a royal colony in 1624 to its current status as an independent city, Alexandria has experienced a great deal of transformation in terms of political representation. In 1863 to 1865, the city served as the capital of the Restored Government of Virginia, which represented the seven remaining counties in the state. This period saw the introduction of a Charter of Grants and Freedoms, which granted suffrage to some citizens but not to others such as women, African slaves, and landless whites.

During the English Civil War and the Commonwealth (1642-1660), Virginia was largely left unscathed. In 1852, the railroad company obtained permission from the state of Virginia to build a parallel line along the Orange & branch line in Alexandria. This allowed for increased economic activity and growth in the city. On March 20, George Mason and Alexander Henderson, of Virginia, met in Alexandria with Daniel Jenifer, Thomas Stone, and Samuel Chase, of Maryland, to discuss border and navigation disputes on the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. The political landscape of Virginia and the South was further altered in the spring of 1867 when the United States granted African-American men the right to vote. This marked a major shift in political representation in Alexandria and throughout Virginia.

In response to this change, the Virginia Trade Union Association was founded in June to generate political support and bring about significant changes in Virginia's political culture. In 1847, Alexandria was ceded back to Virginia from the federal government. This marked a new era for Alexandria's political representation as it became part of Fairfax County. During this time, Alexandria's economy was in shambles but it had not suffered the destruction that many other places in Virginia had experienced. Fast forward to today and Alexandria is still a major player in Virginia politics. In recent years, there have been several noteworthy changes in political representation in Alexandria.

For instance, Dr. Shah ran for a county seat this election but did not win. This is significant because no one thought that an American Indian would run for public office just a few decades ago. Overall, Alexandria's political representation has undergone tremendous transformation over the past decade. From its beginnings as a royal colony to its current status as an independent city with increased economic activity and growth, Alexandria has seen its fair share of changes in political representation.

Bret Hokula
Bret Hokula

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