Annual Symposium

The United States Capitol Historical Society regularly holds conferences at which scholars present the results of their research to a wide public audience. The papers that result are later published to reach libraries and readers unable to attend conferences on Capitol Hill. To date, the Society has held symposia in four series.

Perspectives on the Age of the American Revolution: From 1978 to 1993, the Society’s first symposia series focused attention on the bicentennials of the American Revolution, the Constitution, and the creation of the Federal Government. The series was organized and conducted by Dr. Ronald Hoffman, then professor of history at the University of Maryland and now director of the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture at Williamsburg, Virginia. The University Press of Virginia published the books that resulted from the conferences. More than 170 leading historians participated in the programs, which were widely praised for their contribution to scholarship.

Perspectives on the History of Congress, 1789-1801: From 1994 to 2001, the Society conducted a series of conferences each spring on the history of Congress in its formative period from 1789 to 1801 directed by Dr. Kenneth Bowling, co-editor of the Documentary History of the First Federal Congress Project at The George Washington University. Ohio University Press published several volumes resulting from the series.

Perspectives on the Art and Architectural History of the United States Capitol: Between 1994 and 2008 the Society conducted a series of conferences each fall on the art and architectural history of the United States Capitol planned with the cooperation of the Curator of the Office of the Architect of the Capitol, Dr. Barbara Wolanin. Ohio University Press published several volumes resulting from this series.

The National Capital in a Nation Divided: Congress and the District of Columbia Confront Sectionalism and Slavery: Since 2004 the Society is conducting a major series of annual conferences on the important issues that confronted the national government in the antebellum period, Civil War, and Reconstruction eras.  Dr. Paul Finkelman, President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy at Albany Law School, directs the series.

 

PAST SYMPOSIUM TITLES:

 

“The National Capital in a Nation Divided” Congress and the District of Columbia Confront Sectionalism and Slavery: 2004-

 

2004: Debates Over Sectionalism

2005: Congress in the Age of Jackson

2006: Congress and Slavery in the 1840s and 1850s

2007: Congress and Slavery in the District of Columbia

2008: Congress and the Crisis of the 1850s

2009: Lincoln’s Washington: Abraham Lincoln in Congress and the Presidency

2010: Secession and War Come to Washington

2011: Emancipation during the Civil War

2012: Creating an Army to Preserve the Union

2013: Congress, the Home Front, and the Civil War

 

Perspectives on the Art and Architectural History of the United States Capitol: 1994-2008

 

1994: Mid-Nineteenth Century Art in the Capitol

1995: Two Centuries of Capitol Architects

1996: Montgomery C. Meigs: Renaissance Man

1997: “Book Palace of the American People”: The Art and Architecture of the Library of Congress’s Jefferson Building

1998: Capital Statues: American Sculpture in the United States Capitol

1999: American Pantheon: The Art and Architecture of the Capitol Rotunda

2000: Created Capitols: The U.S. Capitol and the State Capitols

2002: Paris on the Potomac: French Inspired Art and Architecture on and around Capitol Hill

2003: Capitol Additions and Extensions: 1850 to the Present

2004: The Fourth Rome: Roman and Italian Influences on the Art, Architecture and Culture of Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Capitol

2005: The Landscape Architecture of the U.S. Capitol

2006: Capitol Fellowship Twentieth Anniversary Symposium

2007: Recent Capitol Fellowship Research Symposium

2008: “Step by Step” and “The National Mall: Rethinking Washington’s Monumental Core”

 

Perspectives on the History of Congress: 1994-2001

 

1994: Inventing Congress

1995:”A Vessel Just Launched”: The First Federal Congress

1996: Neither Separate Nor Equal: Congress and the Executive and Judicial Branches in the 1790s

1997: The Social and Political Lives of Members of Congress at Philadelphia

1998: Seeking Justice and Influencing Congress: Petitioning and Lobbying, 1789-1801

1999: The Institutional Development of Congress in the 1790s

2000: Created Capitals: Congress Moves to Washington, D.C.

 

Perspectives on the Age of the American Revolution

 

1978: Diplomacy and Revolution: The Franco-American Alliance of 1778

1979: Sovereign States in an Age of Uncertainty

1980: Slavery and Freedom in the Age of the American Revolution

1981: Arms and Independence: The Military Character of the American Revolution

1982: An Uncivil War: The Southern Backcountry during the American Revolution

1983: Peace and the Peacemakers: The Treaty of 1783

1984: The Economy of Early America

1985: Women in the Age of the American Revolution

1986: “To Form a More Perfect Union”: Critical Ideas of the Constitution

1987: Of Consuming Interests: The Style of Life in the 18th Century

1988: Religion in a Revolutionary Age

1989: “The Transforming Hand of Revolution”: Reconsidering the American Revolution as a Social Movement

1990: Launching the Extended Republic: The Federalist Era

1991: The Bill of Rights: Government Proscribed

1992: Native Americans and the Early Republic

1993: A Republic for the Ages