The Capitol Dome

The Capitol Dome 55.2

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Like the lantern shining within the olos atop the Dome whenever either or both chambers of Congress are in session, this issue of e Capitol Dome sheds light in all directions. Two of the four articles deal pri- marily with art, one focuses on politics, and one is a fascinating exposé of how the two can overlap. In the first article, Michael Canning reveals how the Capitol, far from being only a palette for other artist's creations, has been an artist (actor) in its own right. Whether as a walk-on in a cameo role (as in Quiz Show), or a featured performer sharing the marquee (as in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington), the Capitol, Library of Congress, and other sites within the Capitol complex have been used as important signifiers in cinema for the past 80-plus years. e second article surveys some well- trod terrain in the landscape of American congressional history, but through a unique lens. Blending biography and institutional history with the colorful partisan and sec- tional politics of the antebellum period, British historian Dr. Daniel Peart demon- strates how Representative John Quincy Adams's temperament, political principles, and shrewd parliamentarianism were dely deployed to accomplish real political goals. Dr. Paula Murphy, like Peart, studies America from the British Isles. Her research into Irish and Irish-American contributions to the Capitol complex confirms an import- ant artistic legacy while revealing some sur- prising contributions from important but unsung artists. Her research on this side of "the Pond" was supported by a USCHS Capitol Fellowship. Another Capitol Fellow alumnus, John Busch, makes an ingenious case-study of the historical impact of steam navigation. roughout the nineteenth century, steam- boats shared top billing with locomotives as the most celebrated and recognizable motif of technological progress. Busch's article shows how that symbol was employed for geo-polit- ical "messaging" within one of the most sig- nificant paintings in the Capitol. e editorial staff of e Capitol Dome hopes you enjoy this issue! William C. diGiacomantonio From the Editor's Desk

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