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.

Battles Among the Branches 1879-1881

After the Civil War, military conflict turned into political conflict. The Constitution originally had considered a slave only three-fifths of a person when calculating a state's House seats. Now, however, former slaves counted as full citizens, enabling the South to balance the North's rapid population growth. After Reconstruction, Southern states accompanied their return to national politics with a campaign of terror against African-American voters. Democrats, the party favored by white Southerners, gained control of the House. Republicans held the presidency. Partisan rivalry flared.

Many Republicans tried to protect the rights of black voters. Southern Democrats blocked these efforts, repeatedly tacking onto bills an amendment preventing the federal government from getting involved. Republican president Rutherford B. Hayes would then veto the bill. After two years of stalemate, the House Democrats finally abandoned the tactic.

History of Congress and the Capitol

The House 1877-1913

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Election scene at Washington, June...
Image Caption

Election scene at Washington, June 3, 1867, sketched by A.W. M’Callum.

Freedmen are illustrated in a Washington, D.C. polling place as both voters and staff.

Reproduced from The Uncivil War, by James H. Whyte, General Collections, Library of Congress

Election scene at Washington, June 3, 1867, sketched by A.W. M’Callum.

Freedmen are illustrated in a Washington, D.C. polling place as both voters and staff.

Reproduced from The Uncivil War, by James H. Whyte, General Collections, Library of Congress

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