Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Charles Carroll, known as Charles Carroll of Carrollton or Charles Carroll III to distinguish him from his similarly-named relatives, was a wealthy Maryland planter and an early advocate of independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain and one of the signers of the American Declaration of Independence. He is sometimes referred to as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America, although he was not involved in framing the United States Constitution, he served as a delegate to the Continental Congress and Confederation Congress and as first United States Senator for Maryland. He was the sole Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence. Carroll was the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence - and the longest lived. Carroll was known contemporaneously as the "First Citizen" of the American Colonies, a consequence of his editorials in the Maryland Gazette. Carroll was the wealthiest, the longest-lived survivor, possessed the highest formal education of all of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
A product of his 17-year Jesuit education in France, Carroll spoke five languages fluently. Born in Annapolis, Carroll inherited vast agricultural estates and was regarded as the wealthiest man in the American colonies when the American Revolution commenced in 1775, his personal fortune at this time was reputed to be 2,100,000 pounds sterling. In addition, Carroll presided over his manor in Maryland. Though barred from holding office in Maryland due to his religion, Carroll emerged as a leader of the state's movement for independence, he was a delegate to the Annapolis Convention and was selected as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1776. He was part of an unsuccessful diplomatic mission that Congress sent to Canada in hopes of winning the support of French Canadians. Carroll served in the Maryland Senate from 1781 to 1800, he was elected as one of Maryland's inaugural representatives in the United States Senate, but resigned from the United States Senate in 1792 after Maryland passed a law barring individuals from serving in state and federal office.
After retiring from public office, he helped establish the Ohio Railroad. He was the longest-lived and last surviving signatory of the Declaration of Independence, dying 56 years after the document was signed; the Carroll family were descendants of the Ó Cearbhaill lords of Éile in Ireland. Carroll's grandfather was the Irish-born Charles Carroll the Settler from Litterluna. Carroll left his native Ireland around the year 1659, emigrated to St. Mary's City, capital of the colony of Maryland, in 1689, with a commission as Attorney General from the colony's Catholic proprietor, Charles Calvert, 3rd Baron Baltimore. Charles Carroll the Settler was the son of Daniel O'Carroll of Litterluna; the "O'" in Irish surnames was dropped due to the Anglicisation policy of the occupying English during the period of the "Penal Laws". Charles Carroll the Settler had a son, born in 1702 and named Charles. To distinguish himself from his father he was known as Charles Carroll of Annapolis. Carroll was born on September 19, 1737, in Annapolis, the only child of Charles Carroll of Annapolis and Elizabeth Brooke.
He was born illegitimate, as his parents were not married at the time of his birth, for technical reasons to do with the inheritance of the Carroll family estates. They married in 1757; the young Carroll was educated at a Jesuit preparatory school known as Bohemia Manor in Cecil County on Maryland's Eastern Shore. At the age of eleven, he was sent to France, he continued his studies in Europe, read for the law in London before returning to Annapolis in 1765. Charles Carroll of Annapolis granted Carrollton Manor to his son, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, it is from this tract of land that he took his title, "Charles Carroll of Carrollton". Like his father, Carroll was a Roman Catholic, as a consequence was barred by Maryland statute from entering politics, practicing law and voting; this did not prevent him from becoming one of the wealthiest men in Maryland, owning extensive agricultural estates, most notably the large manor at Doughoregan, Hockley Forge and Mill, providing capital to finance new enterprises on the Western Shore.
Carroll was not interested in politics and in any event Catholics had been barred from holding office in Maryland since the 1704 Act seeking "to prevent the growth of Popery in this Province". But, as the dispute between Great Britain and her colonies intensified in the early 1770s, Carroll became a powerful voice for independence. In 1772 he engaged in a debate conducted through anonymous newspaper letters, maintaining the right of the colonies to control their own taxation. Writing in the Maryland Gazette under the pseudonym "First Citizen," he became a prominent spokesman against the governor's proclamation increasing legal fees to state officers and Protestant clergy. Opposing Carroll in these written debates and writing as "Antillon" was Daniel Dulany the Younger, a noted lawyer and loyalist politician. In these debates, Carroll argued that the government of Maryland had long been the monopoly of four families, the Ogles, the Taskers, the Bladens and the
President of the Continental Congress
The President of the Continental Congress was the presiding officer of the Continental Congress, the convention of delegates that emerged as the first national government of the United States during the American Revolution. The president was a member of Congress elected by the other delegates to serve as a neutral discussion moderator during meetings of Congress. Designed to be a ceremonial position without much influence, the office was unrelated to the office of President of the United States. Upon the ratification of the Articles of Confederation in March 1781, the Continental Congress became the Congress of the Confederation; the membership of the Second Continental Congress carried over without interruption to the First Congress of the Confederation, as did the office of president. Fourteen men served as president of Congress between September 1774 and November 1788, they came from 9 of the original 13 states: Virginia, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Delaware, New Jersey, New York. The median age at the time of election was 47.
The president of Congress was, by design, a position with little authority. The Continental Congress, fearful of concentrating political power in an individual, gave their presiding officer less responsibility than the speakers in the lower houses of the colonial assemblies. Unlike some colonial speakers, the president of Congress could not, for example, set the legislative agenda or make committee appointments; the president could not meet with foreign leaders. The presidency was a ceremonial position. There was no salary; the primary role of the office was to preside over meetings of Congress, which entailed serving as an impartial moderator during debates. When Congress would resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole to discuss important matters, the president would relinquish his chair to the chairman of the Committee of the Whole. So, the fact that President Thomas McKean was at the same time serving as Chief Justice of Pennsylvania, provoked some criticism that he had become too powerful.
According to historian Jennings Sanders, McKean's critics were ignorant of the powerlessness of the office of president of Congress. The president was responsible for dealing with a large amount of official correspondence, but he could not answer any letter without being instructed to do so by Congress. Presidents signed, but did not write, Congress's official documents; these limitations could be frustrating, because a delegate declined in influence when he was elected president. Historian Richard B. Morris argued that, despite the ceremonial role, some presidents were able to wield some influence: Lacking specific authorization or clear guidelines, the presidents of Congress could with some discretion influence events, formulate the agenda of Congress, proded Congress to move in directions they considered proper. Much depended on the incumbents themselves and their readiness to exploit the peculiar opportunities their office provided. Congress, its presidency, declined in importance after the ratification of the Articles of Confederation and the ending of the Revolutionary War.
Delegates elected to the Congress declined to serve, the leading men in each state preferred to serve in state government, the Congress had difficulty establishing a quorum. President Hanson wanted to resign after only a week in office, but Congress lacked a quorum to select a successor, so he stayed on. President Mifflin found it difficult to convince the states to send enough delegates to Congress to ratify the 1783 Treaty of Paris. For six weeks in 1784, President Lee did not come to Congress, but instead instructed secretary Charles Thomson to forward any papers that needed his signature. John Hancock was elected to a second term in November 1785 though he was not in Congress, Congress was aware that he was unlikely to attend, he never took his seat, though he may have been uninterested in the position. Two delegates, David Ramsay and Nathaniel Gorham, performed his duties with the title of "chairman"; when Hancock resigned the office in June 1786, Gorham was elected. After he resigned in November 1786, it was months before enough members were present in Congress to elect a new president.
In February 1787, General Arthur St. Clair was elected. Congress passed the Northwest Ordinance during St. Clair's presidency and elected him as the governor of the Northwest Territory; as the people of the various states began debating the proposed United States Constitution in months of 1787, the Confederation Congress found itself reduced to the status of a caretaker government. There were not enough delegates present to choose St. Clair's successor until January 22, 1788, when the final president of Congress, Cyrus Griffin, was elected. Griffin resigned his office on November 15, 1788, after only two delegates showed up for the new session of Congress. Prior to ratification of the Articles, presidents of Congress served terms of no specific duration; when Peyton Randolph, elected in September 1774 to preside over the First Continental Congress, was unable to attend the last few days of the session due to poor health, Henry Middleton was elected to replace him. When the Second Continental Congress convened the following May, Randolph was again chosen as president, but he returned to Virginia two weeks to preside over the House of Burgesses.
John Hancock was elected to fill the vacancy, but his position was somewhat ambiguous, because it was not clea
Samuel Osgood was an American merchant and statesman born in Andover, Massachusetts a part of North Andover, Massachusetts. His family home still stands at 440 Osgood Street in North Andover and his home in New York City, the Samuel Osgood House, served as the country's first Presidential mansion, he served in the Massachusetts and New York State legislatures, represented Massachusetts in the Continental Congress and was the fourth Postmaster General of the United States, serving during George Washington's first term. In 1812, he was elected the first president of the newly formed City Bank of New York, which became Citibank, predecessor of today's Citigroup. John Osgood came to Massachusetts from Andover in England in 1638. In 1646 he named it Andover for his home town. Four generations Captain Peter Osgood lived there and in 1748 he had a third son whom he named Samuel. Samuel attended Dummer Academy, Harvard College, where he studied theology and graduated in 1770, he returned to Andover to follow a mercantile career.
He joined the local militia, was elected to represent the town in the colonial assembly, in 1775 to the provincial congress that functioned as a revolutionary government. Osgood led a local company of minutemen into the Battle of Lexington and Concord in the spring of 1775, they followed the retreating British, became part of the Siege of Boston. As more troops assembled, he was made Major of a brigade while serving at Cambridge, he became an aide to General Artemas Ward, was promoted to Colonel. When the siege succeeded in the spring of 1776 Osgood left the army and returned to the provincial congress; the Provincial Congress named Osgood to the Massachusetts Board of War and he served there until 1780 when the government was reorganized. He was a delegate to the state's constitutional convention in 1779-1780. Under the new Constitution he was elected to the Massachusetts State Senate in 1780 and served two terms; the new government named Osgood as one of their delegates to the Continental Congress and he served there from 1782 until 1784.
After a brief term in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1784, the governor appointed Osgood a judge in 1785 but he soon resigned when the National Congress made him a commissioner of the Treasury that year. He moved to New York City to take up this office, which he held until the Congressional Government ended; when a new U. S. government was installed in 1789, President Washington appointed Osgood the first Postmaster General under the new U. S. Constitution, replacing Ebenezer Hazard, commissioned postmaster of the city of New York by the Continental Congress. Osgood served as Postmaster from 1789 to 1791. One of the first things Osgood would do is make the Post Office in Baltimore the new regional headquarters, whose postmaster was Katherine Goddard. Osgood was replaced by John White; the seat of the Federal Government at that time was in New York City and the official residence of the President was located at the Samuel Osgood House at 3 Cherry Street, the home of Samuel Osgood and his family.
Osgood offered the mansion to Washington so that the President and his wife would have what was considered the finest house in the city as their home. The residence thus became America's first executive mansion; when the Federal Government moved to Philadelphia for a ten-year period before settling in Washington, D. C. Osgood chose to remain in New York and resigned his post in 1791. Osgood was a presidential elector in 1792, cast his votes for George Washington and George Clinton, he was a member of the New York State Assembly in 1800-01 and 1802, was Speaker in 1800-01. In 1803, he was appointed by President Thomas Jefferson as Naval Officer of the Port of New York, a position he held until his death. For the last year of his life he was President of the new City Bank of New York. Osgood was a member of the American Philosophical Society, in his years devoted time to writing and study, he had an extensive correspondence with Thomas Jefferson among others. He died in New York City in 1813, his birthplace in North Andover, Massachusetts is located on a street named for his family, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as is his New York residence.
Col. Osgood's portrait has been housed in the President's Room of the U. S. Capitol since Lincoln's presidency. Samuel Osgood. Mrs. William C. Eddy, ed. "Sketch of the Life of Samuel Osgood". The Magazine of American History with Notes and Queries. 21: 324–8. United States Congress. "Samuel Osgood". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Samuel Osgood at Find a Grave
Civilian control of the military
Civilian control of the military is a doctrine in military and political science that places ultimate responsibility for a country's strategic decision-making in the hands of the civilian political leadership, rather than professional military officers. The reverse situation, where professional military officers control national politics, is called a military dictatorship. A lack of control over the military may result in a state within a state. One author, paraphrasing Samuel P. Huntington's writings in The Soldier and the State, has summarized the civilian control ideal as "the proper subordination of a competent, professional military to the ends of policy as determined by civilian authority". Civilian control is seen as a prerequisite feature of a stable liberal democracy. Use of the term in scholarly analyses tends to take place in the context of a democracy governed by elected officials, though the subordination of the military to political control is not unique to these societies. One example is the People's Republic of China.
Mao Zedong stated that "Our principle is that the Party commands the gun, the gun must never be allowed to command the Party," reflecting the primacy of the Communist Party of China as decision-makers in Marxist–Leninist and Maoist theories of democratic centralism. As noted by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill professor Richard H. Kohn, "civilian control is not a fact but a process". Affirmations of respect for the values of civilian control notwithstanding, the actual level of control sought or achieved by the civilian leadership may vary in practice, from a statement of broad policy goals that military commanders are expected to translate into operational plans, to the direct selection of specific targets for attack on the part of governing politicians. National Leaders with limited experience in military matters have little choice but to rely on the advice of professional military commanders trained in the art and science of warfare to inform the limits of policy. Advocates of civilian control take a Clausewitzian view of war, emphasizing its political character.
The words of Georges Clemenceau, "War is too serious a matter to entrust to military men", wryly reflect this view. Given that broad strategic decisions, such as the decision to declare a war, start an invasion, or end a conflict, have a major impact on the citizens of the country, they are seen by civilian control advocates as best guided by the will of the people, rather than left to an elite group of tactical experts; the military serves as a special government agency, supposed to implement, rather than formulate, policies that require the use of certain types of physical force. Kohn succinctly summarizes this view when he writes that: The point of civilian control is to make security subordinate to the larger purposes of a nation, rather than the other way around; the purpose of the military is to defend society. A state's effective use of force is an issue of great concern for all national leaders, who must rely on the military to supply this aspect of their authority; the danger of granting military leaders full autonomy or sovereignty is that they may ignore or supplant the democratic decision-making process, use physical force, or the threat of physical force, to achieve their preferred outcomes.
A related danger is the use of the military to crush domestic political opposition through intimidation or sheer physical force, interfering with the ability to have free and fair elections, a key part of the democratic process. This poses the paradox that "because we fear others we create an institution of violence to protect us, but we fear the institution we created for protection". Military personnel, because of the nature of their job, are much more willing to use force to settle disputes than civilians because they are trained military personnel that specialize in warfare; the military is authoritative and hierarchical allowing discussion and prohibiting dissention. For instance, in the Empire of Japan, prime ministers and everyone in high positions were military people like Hideki Tojo, advocated and pressured the leaders to start military conflicts against China and others because they believed that they would be victorious. Many of the Founding Fathers of the United States were suspicious of standing militaries.
As Samuel Adams wrote in 1768, "Even when there is a necessity of the military power, within a land, a wise and prudent people will always have a watchful and jealous eye over it". More forceful are the words of Elbridge Gerry, a delegate to the American Constitutional Convention, who wrote that "tanding armies in time of peace are inconsistent with the principles of republican Governments, dangerous to the liberties of a free people, converted into destructive engines for establishing despotism."In Federalist No. 8, one of The Federalist papers documenting the ideas of some of the Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton expressed concern that maintaining a large standing army would be a dangerous and expensive undertaking. In his principal argument for the ratification of the proposed constitution, he argued that only by maintaining a strong union could the new country avoid such a pitfall. Using the European experience as a negative example and the British experien
Otho Holland Williams
Otho Holland Williams was a Continental Army officer from Maryland in the American Revolutionary War. He participated in many battles throughout the war in the New York, New Jersey and Southern theaters ending his career as a Brigadier General. Born in rural Prince George's County, Williams spent his childhood on Springfield Farm near present-day Williamsport, he was put in the care of his father's brother-in-law, Mr. Ross. Williams took an apprenticeship under Mr. Ross and studied his profession in the Clerk's office of Frederick taking charge of the office. At age eighteen, Williams undertook a similar trade. Williams entered into a commercial life. In response to Congress's call for soldiers at the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War in the spring of 1775, Williams joined a Continental Army rifle unit as a commissioned officer. Soon thereafter, he and his unit marched off to the Siege of Boston. Seeing his first significant combat action in late 1776 at the Battle of Fort Washington, Williams was captured by the British and imprisoned in New York.
He was released in early 1778 and returned to the Continental Army as colonel of the 6th Maryland Regiment, a position he had acquired during his captivity. From thereafter, Williams led his regiment through much of the southern campaign, most notably in the battles of Camden, Guilford Court House, Eutaw Springs. Near the end of the War, Williams was sent by his commanding officer General Greene with documents to Congress and was promoted to brigadier general in 1782. After the war, Williams served as an associate justice for Baltimore County, as the first commissioner of the Port of Baltimore, he returned to Springfield Farm in 1787, bought the house and the surrounding land, began laying out the town of Williamsport. In 1792, Washington offered Williams to be Brigadier General of the Army, though he declined due to his failing health. Williams died two years in 1794 while travelling to Sweet Springs, Virginia. Otho Holland Williams was born on March 1, 1749, the third generation of his family born on the North American Continent, his ancestors having emigrated from Wales.
For the first year of his life, he lived with his parents Joseph and Prudence Williams in Prince George's County until the family settled at the mouth of the Conecocheague near present-day Williamsport. His family home was Springfield Farm, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Shortly before Joseph Williams death, he placed his thirteen-year-old son into the care of his brother-in-law Mr. Ross who worked in the Clerk's office in Frederick County. After studying the duties of the office, Williams took charge of the office himself before moving to Baltimore for similar employment at the age of eighteen. In the spring of 1774, Williams entered into commercial life. On June 14, 1775, upon the call for soldiers by the Continental Congress, Williams joined Capt. Thomas Price's Independent Rifle Company of Maryland as first lieutenant; the company marched to the Siege of Boston. Soon after the company's arrival in Boston, Williams was promoted to the command of the company. By order of the Continental Congress on June 27, 1776, the rifle company was integrated into the Maryland and Virginia Rifle Regiment, with Hugh Stephenson as colonel, Moses Rawlings as lieutenant colonel and Williams as major.
The regiment did not see much action until the Battle of Fort Washington, where Williams was taken prisoner by the British. He was taken to New York. During this time in New York, it was common for British officers to amuse themselves by insulting American prisoners with pointed questions such as "What Trade were you of before you entered the service?" When a high ranking British officer asked this question of Williams he replied: That he was in a profession which taught him to resist tyranny and punish insolence, that proofs of his profession would follow a reputation towards him. It is suggested that the officer offended by this retort informed William Phillips—then in command of the New York garrison—that Williams was sending military information to George Washington contrary to the terms of his parole. Williams was promptly arrested and confined to a sixteen square foot room without ventilation in the city's provost jail which he shared with Ethan Allen. Due to possible maltreatment by his captors and malnourishment, his health was affected to the point where he never recovered from his imprisonment.
After the surrender of General John Burgoyne after the Battles of Saratoga, Williams was exchanged on January 16, 1778. During his imprisonment, Williams had been promoted to colonel and given command of the 6th Maryland Regiment of the Maryland Line. Shortly after his release, he stated in a letter to the governor of Maryland that the regiment contained "...not above a hundred effective men... and that those are indifferently clothed." He further stated: "I heartily desire to join the army as soon as possible but it had better be reinforced by a regiment without a colonel than by a colonel without a regiment." After joining Washington's army shortly before the Battle of Monmouth he learned that the regiment was noted for a looseness of discipline and was unable to stand with others in the line during battle. Soon after he took effective command, the 6th Maryland Regiment became known as the equal, if not superior, to any in the whole army. After the unsuccessful attempt to capture Savannah, under the command of General Benjamin Lincoln, the Southern Department of the Continental Army retreated to Charleston, South C
Thomas Jefferson was an American statesman, lawyer and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. He had served as the second vice president of the United States from 1797 to 1801; the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a proponent of democracy and individual rights motivating American colonists to break from the Kingdom of Great Britain and form a new nation. Jefferson was of English ancestry and educated in colonial Virginia, he graduated from the College of William & Mary and practiced law, with the largest number of his cases concerning land ownership claims. During the American Revolution, he represented Virginia in the Continental Congress that adopted the Declaration, drafted the law for religious freedom as a Virginia legislator, served as the 2nd Governor of Virginia from 1779 to 1781, during the American Revolutionary War, he became the United States Minister to France in May 1785, subsequently the nation's first secretary of state under President George Washington from 1790 to 1793.
Jefferson and James Madison organized the Democratic-Republican Party to oppose the Federalist Party during the formation of the First Party System. With Madison, he anonymously wrote the controversial Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions in 1798 and 1799, which sought to strengthen states' rights by nullifying the federal Alien and Sedition Acts; as president, Jefferson pursued the nation's shipping and trade interests against Barbary pirates and aggressive British trade policies. He organized the Louisiana Purchase doubling the country's territory; as a result of peace negotiations with France, his administration reduced military forces. He was reelected in 1804. Jefferson's second term was beset with difficulties at home, including the trial of former vice president Aaron Burr. American foreign trade was diminished when Jefferson implemented the Embargo Act of 1807, responding to British threats to U. S. shipping. In 1803, Jefferson began a controversial process of Indian tribe removal to the newly organized Louisiana Territory, he signed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves in 1807.
Jefferson, while a planter and politician, mastered many disciplines, which ranged from surveying and mathematics to horticulture and mechanics. He was an architect in the classical tradition. Jefferson's keen interest in religion and philosophy led to his presidency of the American Philosophical Society. A philologist, Jefferson knew several languages, he corresponded with many prominent people. His only full-length book is Notes on the State of Virginia, considered the most important American book published before 1800. After retiring from public office, Jefferson founded the University of Virginia. Although regarded as a leading spokesman for democracy and republicanism in the era of the Enlightenment, Jefferson's historical legacy is mixed; some modern scholarship has been critical of Jefferson's private life, pointing out the contradiction between his ownership of the large numbers of slaves that worked his plantations and his famous declaration that "all men are created equal." Another point of controversy stems from the evidence that after his wife Martha died in 1782, Jefferson fathered children with Martha's half-sister, Sally Hemings, his slave.
Despite this, presidential scholars and historians praise his public achievements, including his advocacy of religious freedom and tolerance in Virginia. Jefferson continues to rank among U. S. presidents. Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743, at the family home in Shadwell in the Colony of Virginia, the third of ten children, he was of English, Welsh and was born a British subject. His father Peter Jefferson was a surveyor who died when Jefferson was fourteen. Peter Jefferson moved his family to Tuckahoe Plantation in 1745 upon the death of William Randolph, the plantation's owner and Jefferson's friend, who in his will had named him guardian of his children; the Jeffersons returned to Shadwell in 1752, where Peter died in 1757. Thomas inherited 5,000 acres of land, including Monticello, he assumed full authority over his property at age 21. Jefferson began his childhood education beside the Randolph children with tutors at Tuckahoe. Thomas' father, was self-taught, regretting not having a formal education, he entered Thomas into an English school early, at age five.
In 1752, at age nine, he began attending a local school run by a Scottish Presbyterian minister and began studying the natural world, for which he grew to love. At this time he began studying Latin and French, while learning to ride horses. Thomas read books from his father's modest library, he was taught from 1758 to 1760 by Reverend James Maury near Gordonsville, where he studied history and the classics while boarding with Maury's family. During this period Jefferson came to know and befriended various American Indians, including the famous Cherokee chief, who stopped at Shadwell to visit, on their way to Williamsburg to trade. During the two years Jefferson was with the Maury family, he traveled to Williamsburg and was a guest of Colonel Dandridge, father of Martha Washington. In Williamsburg the young Jefferson met and came to admire Patrick Henry, eight ye
United States Capitol rotunda
The United States Capitol rotunda is the central rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D. C. built 1818–1824. It is located below the Capitol dome, built 1857–1866, it is the tallest part of the Capitol and has been described as its "symbolic and physical heart." The rotunda is connected by corridors leading south to the House of Representatives and north to the Senate chambers. To the immediate south is the semi-circular National Statuary Hall, the House of Representatives chamber until 1857. To the northeast is the Old Senate Chamber, used by the Senate until 1859 and by the Supreme Court until 1935; the rotunda is 96 feet in diameter, rises 48 feet to the top of its original walls and 180 feet 3 inches to the canopy of the dome, is visited by thousands of people each day. It is used for ceremonial events authorized by concurrent resolution, including the lying in state of honored dead; the doctor and architect William Thornton was the winner of the contest to design the Capitol in 1793.
Thornton had first conceived the idea of a central rotunda. However, due to lack of funds or resources, oft-interrupted construction, the British attack on Washington during the War of 1812, work on the rotunda did not begin until 1818; the rotunda was completed in 1824 under Architect of the Capitol Charles Bulfinch, as part of a series of new buildings and projects in preparation for the final visit of Marquis de Lafayette in 1824. The rotunda was designed in the neoclassical style and was intended to evoke the design of the Pantheon; the sandstone rotunda walls rise 48 feet above the floor. Walter, the fourth Architect of the Capitol. Walter had designed the Capitol's north and south extensions. Work on the dome began in 1856, in 1859, Walter redesigned the rotunda to consist of an inner and outer dome, with a canopy suspended between them that would be visible through an oculus at the top of the inner dome. In 1862, Walter asked painter Constantino Brumidi to design "a picture 65 feet in diameter, painted in fresco, on the concave canopy over the eye of the New Dome of the U.
S. Capitol." At this time, Brumidi may have added a watercolor canopy design over Walter's tentative 1859 sketch. The dome was being finished in the middle of the American Civil War and was constructed from fireproof cast iron. During the Civil War, the rotunda was used as a military hospital for Union soldiers; the dome was completed in 1866. The crypt had an open ceiling into the rotunda. Visitors can still see the holes in the stone circle that marked the rim of the open space in the rotunda floor. Underneath the floor of the crypt lies a tomb, the intended burial place for George Washington but after a lengthy battle with his estate and the state of Virginia the plans for him to be buried in the crypt were abandoned. In January 2013, the Architect of the Capitol announced a four-year, $10 million project to repair and conserve the Capitol Dome's exterior and the Capitol rotunda; the proposal required the stripping of lead paint from the interior of the dome, repair to the ironwork, repainting of the interior of the dome, rehabilitation of the interstitial space between the dome and rotunda, installation of new lighting in the interstitial space and the rotunda.
The dome and rotunda, which were last conserved in 1960, were showing significant signs of rust and disrepair. There was a danger that decorative ironwork could have fallen from the rotunda to the space below, that weather-related problems could damage the artwork in the rotunda. Without immediate repair, safety netting was installed, temporarily blocking the rotunda's artwork from view. Eight niches in the rotunda hold framed historical paintings. All measure 12 by 18 feet. Four of these are scenes from the American Revolution, painted by John Trumbull, commissioned by Congress to do the work in 1817; these are Declaration of Independence, Surrender of General Burgoyne, Surrender of Lord Cornwallis, General George Washington Resigning His Commission. These were placed between 1819 and 1824. Between 1840 and 1855, four more paintings were added; these were all done by different artists. These paintings are Landing of Columbus by John Vanderlyn, Discovery of the Mississippi by William Henry Powell, Baptism of Pocahontas by John Gadsby Chapman, Embarkation of the Pilgrims by Robert Walter Weir.
The Apotheosis of Washington is a large fresco by Greek-Italian Constantino Brumidi, visible through the oculus of the dome of the rotunda. The fresco depicts George Washington sitting exalted amongst the heavens, it covers an area of 4,664 square feet. The Frieze of American History is painted to appear as a carved stone bas-relief frieze but is a trompe-l'œil fresco cycle depicting 19 scenes from American history; the "frieze" occupies a band below the 36 windows. Brumidi designed the frieze and prepared a sketch in 1859 but did not begin painting until 1878. Brumidi painted seven and a half scenes. While working on William Penn and the Indians, Brumidi fell off the scaffolding and held on to a rail for 15 minutes until he was rescued, he died a few months in 1880. After Brumidi's death, Filippo Costaggini was commissioned to complete the eight and a half remaining scenes in Brumidi's sketches, he left a 31-foot gap due to an error in Brumidi's original design. In 1951, Allyn Cox completed the frieze.
Except for the last three panels named by Allyn Cox, the scenes have no partic