Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

UNITED STATES CAPITOL

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This is the building where Congress - the Senate and the House of Representatives meet. Senators and representative (and their assistants) work in this building. This is where bills are discussed and our laws are written.

The United States Capitol was designed in 1792 by William Thornton. Thornton was a doctor, an artist, and an inventor. He was also an architect. He entered his drawings and plans for the building in a contest sponsored by the city officials of Washington. It was a contest for the best Capitol design. The prize was $500.

Our first President, George Washington, laid the cornerstone in 1793. Seven years later the first part of the Capitol was ready for government business. Congress moved from Philadelphia to the new Capitol. The Capitol was remodeled and enlarged several times. The last time it was improved was the new east front extension in 1961.

If you visit Washington D.C., you can visit this Capitol. Your congressional representative can make special arrangements for you to see Congress at work. You can see the Senate and the House in session. You can see the famous Rotunda in the center of the Capitol, which has paintings, statues, and frescoes telling the story of America. The new President of the United States always takes his oath of office at the Capitol.

You can take a virtual tour of the United States Capitol by visiting the following web site: