In order to allow for the installation of scaffolding and floor, statuary, and artwork protection in conjunction with the Dome Restoration Project, the Rotunda of the Capitol will be closed from Monday, July 27 through Monday, September 7. While the Rotunda is unavailable for tours, an alternate tour route will be provided. The Capitol Visitor Center is open during the closure of the Rotunda and will offer special activities which do not require advance reservations. You can also download our new U.S. Capitol Rotunda app.

Exhibit Theme

The D.C. Emancipation Act

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Abraham Lincoln’s draft message to...
Image Caption

Abraham Lincoln’s draft message to Congress on D.C. Emancipation, Wednesday, April 16, 1862

President Abraham Lincoln expressed his confidence in Congress’s constitutional authority to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia.  He had supported a plan for compensated emancipation in the nation’s capital since his time as a member of Congress in the late 1840s. This draft of his presidential message is in the handwriting of his private secretary, John Nicolay.

Manuscript Division, Library of Congress