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.

A Classical Model for the Republic

Many of the nation’s founders studied ancient Rome. Classically educated, they were well versed in Roman law, government, history, and literature. They prized classical architecture for its nobility, timelessness, and beauty, and also for its associations with a great, self-governing civilization.

Thomas Jefferson enthusiastically promoted classical architecture for the new city’s public buildings. Through these structures, he hoped that Americans would spread this style throughout the country. Jefferson already had designed a reproduction of a Roman temple for the Virginia state legislature in Richmond, the first such building since antiquity.

The buildings being planned for the new seat of government in Washington offered an even greater potential for architectural education.

History of Congress and the Capitol

The Capitol 1789-1815

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The Pantheon, Rome, ca. A.D. 117–...
Image Caption

The Pantheon, Rome, ca. A.D. 117–268

The Pantheon, Rome, ca. A.D. 117–268

The Pantheon inspired Dr. Thornton’s design for the center section of the Capitol.

© CORBIS

The Pantheon, Rome, ca. A.D. 117–268

The Pantheon, Rome, ca. A.D. 117–268

The Pantheon inspired Dr. Thornton’s design for the center section of the Capitol.

© CORBIS

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