We take it for granted that our nation’s capital is Washington, the District of Columbia. Or Washington D.C., or The District, or just D.C., if you’re extra cool. Before the year 1791, however, it was anything but certain that the capital of our newly minted republic would be planted on the banks of the mighty Potomac River. Plural regions vied for the honor of hosting the American capital city, and yearned for the economic boon that would accompany it. These five spots came up short, but for a time each had a shot at being at the epicenter of American rage every time our government squanders tax money, stumbles into foolish wars or engages in gut-wrenchingly awful legislation.