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Old 12-15-2010, 07:34 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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State Capitals and Largest Cities — Infoplease.com

Was the American mentality that they wanted their cities smallish and focused on being the seat of government, rather than the area with the biggest economic and cultural pull?

I can only think of a few states where the biggest city is also the capital: Atlanta/Georgia, Phoenix/Denver, Richmond/Virginia, Denver/Colorado. Some states have positively tiny capitals compared to the biggest city, like Jefferson City in Missouri (I guess I can understand Missouri though, lol).

In most other places in the world like Canada, Australia etc the capitals tend to be the biggest city. Did most American state capitals begin as the state capital?
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
State Capitals and Largest Cities — Infoplease.com

Was the American mentality that they wanted their cities smallish and focused on being the seat of government, rather than the area with the biggest economic and cultural pull?

I can only think of a few states where the biggest city is also the capital: Atlanta/Georgia, Phoenix/Denver, Richmond/Virginia, Denver/Colorado. Some states have positively tiny capitals compared to the biggest city, like Jefferson City in Missouri (I guess I can understand Missouri though, lol).

In most other places in the world like Canada, Australia etc the capitals tend to be the biggest city. Did most American state capitals begin as the state capital?

The location of most American state capitals had more to do with geography than other attributes such as military security (meaning more difficult to invade) which is seen more in other parts of the world. Our state capitals were often located most central to population numbers at the time (which would explain Tallahassee, FL) or centralized in terms of geographic boundaries (many instances).
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:29 AM
 
Location: New Hampshire
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Yes, many state capitals were established either near the geographic center of the state or the center of population.

Compare this map of centers of population by state with the map of state capitals:





There are only a few cases where the capital is considerably far from the center of population, notably in Alaska, California, Florida, Nevada, Wyoming, and New York.
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:54 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX/Chicago, IL/Houston, TX/Washington, DC
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It was designed to keep the government and the economical power weight of the state in two separate cities. Also capital cities were designed to be in areas more resistant to natural disasters, so in states where there is a coastline it put them at a disadvantage in terms of being able to develop.

Some cities are the exception to that rule though.

Boston, Phoenix, Atlanta, Denver, Salt Lake City, Indianapolis, Nashville are all good examples of that exception.
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:08 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Interesting...I always thought most state capitals were purpose-built to perform their bureaucratic function. Natural disasters would be one of the last reasons I would imagine. I mean take Oklahoma is there anywhere in the state not prone to natural disasters? If I recall Oklahoma City often gets hit with twisters, massive thunderstorms, and the odd blizzard and ice storm.
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:51 AM
 
Location: MichOhioigan
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Can't speak for other states but in Michigan Detroit was (logically) the first capital. A new capital (Lansing) was created for two main reasons;

Threat of invasion from Canada - As silly as this may sound now, in the early and mid 1800s, after the War of 1812 fear and resentment of the British was high. Relations between the two nations were still cool and tense. There was concern that Britain would attack the U.S. through Canada and try to reclaim its lost territorty. Detroit sits on the Canadian border. Losing Michigan's major city and port would be bad enough. To lose the state capital/government would be disasterous. By moving the Capital 80+ miles inland it created a buffer and would allow the State of Michigan to continue functioning (albeit not well) in the event of the loss of Detroit.

In the early-to-mid 1800s there were various reform movements and ideas going on throughout the United States. One was that state government should not be subject to the temptations and corruptions of big city influences, party bosses, special interests, etc. By placing the Capital in a small, more remote location it was felt that government would function more efficiently and ethically. Nice concept but...mmmmm. How did that work out?
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Up on the moon laughing down on you
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J'aimeDesVilles View Post
Can't speak for other states but in Michigan Detroit was (logically) the first capital. A new capital (Lansing) was created for two main reasons;
Houston was the fiorst Capital of Texas. But the second president insisted on a more centralized capital geographically. The first president was more strategical, he wanted a capital less prone to attack from Mexico, so he was in favor of the Capital in Houston (and besides, that city was named after him )
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:25 AM
 
Location: Detroit's Marina District
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I've seen this question elsewhere on the forum...

Or maybe its just the old age settin' in.
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:29 AM
 
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They're tied to government and being close to the middle of the state or the (then) center of population.

All other cities grew because of economics.

The two don't go hand in hand. People move somewhere because of jobs and the economy - not because it's a state capital.
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Remisc View Post
I've seen this question elsewhere on the forum...

Or maybe its just the old age settin' in.
No, you're correct.

Why Are Most Of The State Capitols Not In The Largest City?

Same question. Same answers.
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