How the District of Columbia Can Achieve Statehood: Supporting the Democratic Process in the Cradle of Democracy


Author/Creator ORCID



Type of Work


Political Science and International Relations Department


Bachelor's Degree

Citation of Original Publication


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The question of whether the District of Columbia should be able to receive the status of statehood is a relevant question in American politics because hundreds of thousands of American citizens living there do not currently have voting representation in Congress; these citizens laws are all subject to be overridden by the United States Congress. For decades, the D.C. statehood movement has struggled to gain sufficient support to achieve its aim. The movement has failed to win an adequate amount of support from the majority of Congress and the American public. The issue of D.C. statehood remains far from the forefront of the current political agenda in the United States. This study analyzes the political framing techniques used by the prominent players in the statehood movement. It investigates whether the movement’s advocates have met requirements that framing theory advances as critical for a social movement to be successful. The study explores key parts of framing theory, including the core requirements of diagnostic, prognostic, and motivational arguments, as well as a balance between pragmatic and emotional frames.  The study determines whether these framing elements exist in the public discourse of D.C. statehood advocates or whether the statehood movement needs to add additional framing elements to mobilize broad support and achieve its goal.