Showing the East Front of the Capitol as it appeared in 1839, this steel engraving from American Scenery writtenby author N.P. Willis was accompanied by text describing the “waste lands which lie at the foot of Capitol Hill” and the generally low level of urban development in the area. This is, however, turned in to a positive attribute, as George Washington had intended the Capitol to be “far from any commercial centre…the legislative capital should be thinly peopled, and the power exclusively of the legislators themselves,” thus casting the composition of the print as illustrative of the beloved first President’s wishes.
History, Art & Archives, U.S. House of Representatives, “Principal Front of the Capitol Washington,” https://history.house.gov/Collection/Listing/2004/2004-087-003/ (January 19, 2021)
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