Due to a special event, on Wednesday, July 8, there will be no tours of the U.S. Capitol after 11 a.m. Emancipation Hall and Exhibition Hall in the Capitol Visitor Center will be unavailable all day. While reservations prior to 11 a.m. will be honored, same-day passes will not be available. The Capitol Visitor Center will close at noon except for individuals on official business and those going to the House and Senate Galleries.

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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