Capital and Capitol

Jeffrey F. Meyer

in Myths in Stone

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2001 | ISBN: 9780520214811
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520921344 | DOI:
Capital and Capitol

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This chapter investigates the national capital as a repository of myths in stone, asking what can be learned about the nature of the new republic that built it and the evolving national government that guided its development. With Pierre Charles L'Enfant's vision and Thomas Jefferson's preference coinciding, the revolutionary republican government was to have a capital whose architectural treatment resembled those of the monarchic governments of Europe yet expressed the new political system. The centrality of Washington in space and time should not be taken in a literal sense. It is a mythic center. There are many symbols of centrality in Washington. The symbolism of e pluribus unum is as important in the Capitol as in the city as a whole.

Keywords: national capital; national government; Pierre Charles L'Enfant; Thomas Jefferson; Washington; Capitol

Chapter.  11868 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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