The characteristic features of Washington

Washington is the capital of the United States of America. General information about the city. The history of Washington. Excursion of Washington. The White House. Pentagon Building. The Supreme Court Building. The Library of Congress. The Capitol.

Рубрика География и экономическая география
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The characteristic features of Washington


washington america capital

    • Chapter I. Washington IS The capital of the USA
    • 1.1 General information about the city
    • 1.2 The history of Washington
    • Chapter II. Excursion on Washington
    • 2.1 The White House
    • 2.2 Pentagon Building
    • 2.3 The Supreme Court Building
    • 2.4 The Library of Congress
    • 2.5 The United States Capitol
    • Washington, D.C., is the capital of the United States. It is also one of the country's most beautiful and historic cities and the site of many of its most popular tourist attractions. Washington lies in the southeastern United State, between Maryland and Virginia. It is the only American city that is not a part of a state. Washington covers the entire area of the District of Columbia, a section of land that is under the jurisdiction of the federal government. The population of Washington is 3,250,822.
    • Every year, millions of people from all parts of the United States and from other countries visit Washington. They go there to see such important government buildings as the United States Capitol, where Congress meets, and the White House, where the president lives and works. They also tour the city's many museums, which together house the world's largest collection of items from America's past.
    • Many of Washington's buildings and monuments are magnificent white marble structures. Scenic parks and gardens, and - in springtime - gorgeous blossoms of Japanese cherry trees, add natural beauty to the manmade splendor of the area.
    • The object of the research is Washington DC. The subject is the main characteristic features of Washington DC, its history and places of interest.
    • The purpose of the present work is to observe the characteristic features of Washington DC, to study its history and places of interest including important government buildings such as the United States Capitol and the White House.
    • To achieve this purpose it is necessary to solve the following tasks:

1. to observe communication, private business and social problems of the city;

2. to determine the main historic events of the city;

3. To study the main information about the White House;

4. To study the main information about Pentagon Building;

5. To study the main information about the Supreme Court Building;

6. To study the main information about the Library of Congress;

7. To study the main information about the United States Capitol.

Structurally the paper consists of introduction, two chapters focused on the general information about Washington DC, its history and places of interest, conclusion and bibliography.

Chapter I. Washington DC. The capital of the USA

General information about the city

Washington, D.C, is the capital of the United States. It is also one of the most beautiful and historic cities and the site of many of many of its most popular tourist attractions.

Washington serves as the headquarters of the federal government. The president of the United States, the members of Congress, the Supreme Court justices, and about 374,000 other federal government employees work in the Washington area. Decisions made by government leaders in the city affect the lives of people throughout the United States and, sometimes, in other parts of the world. For example, the president suggests laws to Congress and directs U.S. relations with other countries. The members of Congress pass laws that every American citizen must obey. The Supreme Court justices decide whether the government's laws and practices are constitutional. Washington is important to the American people in another way. The city is a symbol of their country's unity, history, and democratic tradition.

Washington, D.C., lies along the northeast bank of the Potomac River. The city covers 179 square kilometers and has a population of 638,432. The state of Maryland borders Washington on the north, east, and south. Virginia lies the Potomac River to the west and south.

Suburban communities of Maryland and Virginia surround Washington. The city and its suburbs form a metropolitan area that covers 10,249 square kilometres and has a population of 3,250,822.

The United States Capitol stands near the center of Washington. Broad streets extend out from the Capitol in all directions like the spokes of a wheel. These streets, together with the Mall that extends west from the Capitol, divide Washington into four sections. The sections are Northwest, Northeast, Southeast, and Southwest. Each section is named for its direction from the Capitol. Each address in Washington is followed by one of four abbreviations and their meanings are: NW (Northwest), NE (Northeast), SE (Southeast), and SW (Southwest). [1, p. 76].

Northwest section is Washington's largest section. The Northwest section is also Washington's main center of cultural, economic, and government activity. The southern part of Northwest Washington includes the White House and the many government buildings near it. Washington's, main shopping districts lie in the Northwest section.

Northeast section is chiefly a residential area, and has both middle-class and low-income neighbourhoods.

Southeast section is a wealthy residential neighbourhood of luxury blocks of flats and restored old houses. There is an old-fashioned market called the Eastern Market. Farmers from the area around Washington come to the market to sell such products as fresh fruit and vegetables, cider, eggs, and flowers.

Southwest section. Almost all of Southwest Washington has been rebuilt since the 1950's as part of a major urban renewal program. As a result, the section has many relatively new houses, flats and office buildings.[3, p. 124].

Washington is one of the few cities in the world that was designed before it was built. President George Washington chose the city's site in 1791. He hired Pierre Charles L'Enfant, a French engineer, to draw up plans for the city. Washington replaced Philadelphia as the nation's capital in 1800. L'Enfant and other members of a commission appointed to plan the city named in honour of George Washington. The D.C. in the city's name stands for District of Columbia.


About 70 per cent of Washington's people are blacks. No other major American city has so large a percentage of black people. Whites make up about 27 per cent of the city's population. The other 3 per cent includes small groups of American Indians and Asians - especially Chinese, Filipinos, and Japanese.

About 41,000 people who live in Washington are citizens of countries other than the United States. Many of these people work for foreign embassies or for international organizations in the city. The foreign population includes people from almost every country, and gives the city an international flavor.


Washington has some of the nation's most luxurious housing, including the Watergate apartments and the mansions and town houses of Georgetown. It also has much good middle-class housing. However, the city faces a shortage of good housing for low-income, as well as moderate-income, families. This housing shortage exists in both the city and the suburbs, and ranks among the biggest problems experienced in the Washington area.

Social problems

Washington faces a variety of social problems. Among of them are poverty and crime.

Overall, the people of Washington have a high standard of living. But thousands of people do not share in this wealth.

Much of the crime in the Washington area takes place in the city, especially in poor neighbourhoods. But in recent years, crime rates have been rising more rapidly in the suburbs than in the city. Washington's crime problem receives more nationwide publicity than that of any other city with the possible exception of New York City. Whenever a government official is the victim of a crime, the news is reported throughout the country. As a result, many people believe Washington has one of the nation's highest crime rates. But more than 60 metropolitan areas have a higher crime rate. Over a dozen metropolitan areas lead Washington in the rate of violent crimes, such as assault and murder.


Washington ranks as a leading communication center. Many of the world's major news-papers, magazines, and radio and television networks have permanent correspondents in the city. These provide their readers, listeners, and viewers with firsthand news of the activities of the government.

The government makes Washington one of the nation's chief publishing centers. Its departments and agencies produce pamphlets and books on thousands of subjects. The subjects range from census information to how to solve farm problems and where to go for medical help.

Washington has two general daily newspapers, the Washington Post and the Washington Times. USA Today, a national daily paper, is published in the Washington area. Fourteen television stations and more than 40 radio stations serve the Washington area.

Private business

The government's attractions make Washington one of the world's leading centers of tourism. Every year, millions of tourists visit the city to see government in action and to enjoy its many interesting and historic sights. The money the tourists spend help support - and provides jobs in - many hotels, motels, restaurants, and other businesses.

Many other economically important businesses and private organizations are located in Washington chiefly because the government is there. They include law and accounting firms, public affairs research organizations, and communications companies. They also include numerous trade associations and labour unions that have their headquarters in the city so they can try to influence government policies in the best interests of their members. The people who work to influence the government are called lobbyists. Finance, insurance, property, and wholesale and retail trade also provide many jobs in Washington.

Manufacturing is far less important in Washington than it is in most large cties. Only a small portion of the area's labour force works in manufacturing industries. Printing and publishing films employ many of these workers. [13, p. 58].

1.2 The history of Washington

The first people known to have lived in the Washington area were Piscataway Indians. Whites moved into the area during the late 1600's and established farms and plantations. In 1749, settlers founded Alexandria, the area's first town, in what was then the colony of Virginia.

Several different cities served as the national capital during the early years of the United States. In 1783, Congress decided that the country should have a permanent center of government. But the states could not agree on a location for it. People assumed that the new capital would become an important commercial and industrial city. As a result, each state wanted it to be located within its borders. Also, both Northerners and Southerners believed the capital should be in their part of the country.

In 1790, Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton worked out a solution. He proposed that the capital be built on land that belonged to the federal government, rather than to a state. He and others persuaded Northern political leaders to agree to locate the capital in the South. In return, Southern leaders supported certain government policies favoured by the North.

Once the disagreements were settled, Congress decided to locate the capital along the Potomac River. It asked President George Washington, who had been raised in the Potomac area, to choose the exact site.

The president's office, made in 1791, included not only the land now occupied by Washington, but also about 78 square kilometres of land west of the Potomac. The city's present territory had belonged to Maryland, and the land southwest of the river was part of Virginia. The two states turned over the territory to the federal government. [14, p. 7].

George Washington hired Pierre Charles L'Enfant, a French engineer, to create a plan for the physical layout of the city. L'Enfant's plan dealt only with the area between the Anacostia River and Georgetown. But it established the pattern for the entire city. It made the Capitol the center of Washington.

The federal government moved to Washington from its temporary capital in Philadelphia in 1800. At that time, the entire Washington area had only about 8,000 people. In 1814, during the War of 1812, British soldiers captured Washington. They burned the Capitol, the White House, and other government buildings. Reconstruction of the buildings was completed in 1819.

The predictions that Washington would become an important commercial and industrial center did not come true. The city could not compete economically with such long-established cities as Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Charleston. Lacking economic growth, Washington therefore remained a small city.

Washington's main periods of growth have been times of crisis, such as wars and depressions. During such times, the role of the federal government has been greatly expanded to help to meet crises. Large numbers of people moved to the city to handle the new jobs that resulted.

The Civil War (1861 - 1865) was the first crisis that caused Washington to grow. During the war, the city's population soared from about 60,000 to 120,000. The Union stationed thousands of troops in Washington to protect the city from Confederate attacks. Large numbers of people flocked to the city to help direct the Union's war effort and to establish business. In addition, thousands of slaves who had been freed during the war moved to the city. The enormous population growth led to severe housing shortage in Washington. In addition, the city's streets, sewer and water systems, and other public facilities were not able to cope with increased population. [13, p. 60].

Washington grew gradually for many years after the Civil War. But in 1917, when the United States entered World War I, another period of enormous growth began. Again, the government needed new workers to help to direct a war effort, and business and services were needed to support them.

During the Great Depression of the 1930's, jobs became scare in all parts of the United States except Washington. The federal government became deeply involved in projects designed to end the depression, and thousands of new government jobs became available in the capital.

Several factors have caused the federal government to grow with few interruptions since the depression. They include country's participation in World War II from 1941 to 1945, its leadership of the Western world after the war, and the federal government's increased responsibilities in the field of social welfare. The government's growth has brought about steady growth of the Washington area. [13, p. 60].

Chapter II. Excursion on Washington

2.1 The White House

The White House is the official residence of the president of the United States. The president lives and works in the world-famous mansion in Washington D.C. The White House contains the living quarters for the chief executive's family and the officers in which the president and staff members conduct official business of the United States. Some most important decisions have been made there.

The 132-room White House stands in the middle of a beautifully landscaped 7-hectare plot at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The building was popularly known as the White House in the 1800's when its white limestone was a noticeable contrast to the surrounding red brick houses. However, its official name was first the President's House and then the Executive Mansion until 1901. That year, President Theodore Roosevelt authorized White House as the official title.

The White House is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the United States. Every Year, more than one and a half million visitors go through the parts of the mansion that are open to the public. Members of the public may visit certain rooms in the White House on most weekday mornings.

Outside the White House

The main Building is 53 meters long and 26 meters high. A wide curved porch with lonic columns two storeys high stands on the mansion's south side. A square porch on the north side is the main entrance. Two long, low galleries extend from the building's east and west sides. The terraced roof covering them forms a promenade on the first floor. Facilities for the White House press corps are under the west terrace. A theatre is under the east terrace.

The east and west wings stand at the end of the terraces. The west (executive) wing contains the offices of the president and the presidential staff, and the Cabinet room. The east wing includes the offices of the president's military aides.

The south lawn, often called the President's Park, contains many trees and shrubs planted by former occupants of the White House. For example, the south porch is shaded by magnificent magnolia trees planted by President Andrew Jackson.

Inside the White House

Public rooms. Tourists enter the White House through the east wing of the building. Most visitors are shown only five rooms on the first floor of the mansion, but these rooms represent the elegance and beauty of the entire interior.

The State Dining Room at the west end of the main building can accommodate as many as 140 dinner guests at one time. It was remodeled in 1902.

The Red Room is furnished in the style of the period from 1810 to 1830. The walls are hung with red silk.

The Blue Room is the main reception room for guests of the president. Its furnishings represent the period from 1817 to 1825. President James Monroe, who occupied the White House during these years, ordered much of the furniture now in this oval room.

The Green Room has been restored in the style of the years between 1800 and 1814. Its walls are covered with a light green silk moire. Its furniture is the style of Duncan Phyfe, a noted American furniture maker of the late 1700's and early 1800's.

The East Room is the largest room in the White House, 24 meters long and 11.2 meters wide. Guests are entertained in the East Room after formal dinners. It is at the end of the first floor. The East Room was remodeled in 1902.

Private rooms. The president, the president's family, their guests, and the president's staff use many other rooms in the White House every day. The ground floor contains the Diplomatic Reception Room, used as the entrance for formal functions; the kitchen; the library; and offices of the White House doctor and curator.

The second floor contains the living quarters of the president and the president's family. The Lincoln Bedroom, the Treaty Room, and the Queen's Room are also at that floor.

The third floor contains guest rooms and staff quarters. The White House also has a private bowling alley, swimming pool, and cinema. [4, p. 26].

The history of the White House

The original building was begun in 1792. It was designed by James Hoban, an Irish-born architect. Hoban's design was selected in a competition sponsored by the federal government. It showed a simple Georgian mansion in the classical Palladian style of Europe in the 1700's. He modeled the design after Leinster House, the meeting place of the Irish Parliament, in Dublin, Ireland.

President and Mrs. John Adams became the first occupants of the White House in 1800. But it had not yet been completed, and they suffered many inconveniences. Mrs. Adams used the East Room to dry the family laundry. The White House became more comfortable and beautiful during the administration of Thomas Jefferson. With the aid of architect Benjamin H. Latrobe, Jefferson carried out many of the original White House plans, and added terraces at the east and west ends.

A new building. British forces burned the mansion on Aug. 24, 1814, during the War of 1812. President James Madison and his wife, Dolley, were forced to flee. The White House was rebuilt and President and Mrs. James Monroe moved into it in 1817. The north and south porches were added in the 1820's.

President Theodore Roosevelt had the building repaired in 1902. He rebuilt the east terrace and added the executive wing adjacent to the west terrace.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt enlarged the west wing. An indoor swimming pool was added there. The east wing was also expanded.

Rebuilding and redecorating

The White House underwent extensive repairs from 1948 to 1952, during the presidency of Harry S. Truman. Workers used concrete and steel to strengthen the dangerously weakened structure of the Executive Mansion. The third floor was converted into a full third storey, and a second-storey balcony was added to the south porch for the president's private use. The basement of the building was expanded, and the total number of rooms was increased from 125 to 132.

But the historic rooms familiar to the American public remained basically unchanged until the administration of John F. Kennedy. In 1961, Mrs. Kennedy appointed a Fine Arts Committee to restore the White House interior to its orginal appearance. The White House Historical Association was chartered in 1961 to publish guide books on the mansion and to acquire historical furnishings for the White House. A library committee was formed to stock the White House library with books representing American thought throughout the country's history.

More major changes in the building's historic rooms occurred during the administration of Richard Nixon. Beginning in 1970, Mrs. Nixon continued Mrs. Kennedy's efforts to restore the White House interior in an early 1800's theme. [6, p. 18].

2.2 Pentagon Building

The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia. As a symbol of the U.S. military, the Pentagon is often used metonymically to refer to the U.S. Department of Defense rather than the building itself.

Designed by American architect George Bergstrom (1876-1955), and built by general contractor John McShain of Philadelphia, the building was dedicated on January 15, 1943, after ground was broken for construction on September 11, 1941. General Brehon Somervell provided the major motive power behind the project; Colonel Leslie Groves was responsible for overseeing the project for the U.S. Army.

The Pentagon is the world's largest office building by floor area, with about 600,000 m2, of which 340,000 m2 are used as offices. Approximately 28,000 military and civilian employees and about 3,000 non-defense support personnel work in the Pentagon. It has five sides, five floors above ground, two basement levels, and five ring corridors per floor with a total of 28.2 km of corridors. The Pentagon includes a five-acre (20,000 m2) central plaza, which is shaped like a pentagon and informally known as “ground zero”.

On September 11, 2001, exactly sixty years after the building's groundbreaking, a Boeing 757-223, American Airlines Flight 77, was hijacked by terrorists and crashed into the western side of the Pentagon, killing 189 people. It was the first significant foreign attack on the capital's U.S. government facilities since the Burning of Washington by the British during the War of 1812.

The architectural style of the Pentagon is Stripped Neo-Classical. The building was constructed out of reinforced concrete made from 380,000 tons of sand dredged from the Potomac River and supported by 41,492 concrete piles. The designers not only created a building that reflected the architectural style of the nation Capitol but also saved enough steel to build one battleship.

The Pentagon sits on 34 acres of land including the five acre center court, making a footprint large enough to accommodate five Capitol buildings. The Pentagon has 6,500,000 gross square feet of space, 7,754 windows, and 17 1/2 miles of corridor. In spite of the buildings tremendous size, it takes only seven minutes to walk between any two points of the building because of its unique design.

The Pentagon is three in one: it is a building, an institution, and a symbol. It is an engineering marvel - a product of its name and civilization. Born of necessity, built in grate haste, and occupied section by section, it turned out to be a much better building than anyone expected or had a right to expect. [8, p. 4].

The history of the Pentagon

Pentagon History began in 1941 when Brigadier General Brehon Sommervell decided the War Department needed a temporary solution to its critical shortage of office space.

Congress appropriated the funds necessary to construct the War Departments new home (approximately $83 million) on August 14, 1941. The groundbreaking ceremony took place on September 11, 1941.

Architectural and structural design work for the Pentagon proceeded simultaneously with construction, with initial drawings provided in early October 1941, and most of the design work completed by June 1, 1942. At times the construction work got ahead of the design, with different materials used than specified in the plans. Pressure to speed up design and construction intensified after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, with Somervell demanding that 9.3 ha of space at the Pentagon be available for occupation by April 1, 1942.

Construction of the Pentagon was done during the period of racial segregation in the United States. This had structural consequences to the design of the building. Under the supervision of colonel Leslie Groves, the decision to have separate eating and lavatory accommodations for whites and blacks was made and carried out. The dining areas for blacks were put in the basement and on each floor there were double toilet facilities separated by gender and race.

President Roosevelt had made an order ending such racial discrimination in the U.S. military in June 1941. When the President visited the Pentagon before its dedication, he questioned Groves regarding the number of washrooms and ordered him to remove the “Whites Only” signs. Until 1965 the Pentagon was the only building in Virginia where segregation laws were not enforced.

From 1998 to 2011, the Pentagon underwent a major renovation, known as the Pentagon Renovation Program. This program, completed in June, 2011, involved the complete reconstruction of the entire building in phases to bring the building up to modern standards, removing asbestos, improving security, providing greater efficiency for Pentagon tenants, and sealing of all office windows. [9, p. 21].

2.3 The Supreme Court Building

The Supreme Court Building is the seat of the Supreme Court of the United States (the highest curt in the US). Built in 1935, it is situated at 1 First Street, NE (across the street from the Capitol) and was designed by architect Cass Gilbert (as Gilbert's last major project; he died before it was completed). It rises four stories (28 m) above ground. The cornerstone was laid on October 13, 1932, and construction completed in 1935 at a cost of just under $10 million budget authorized by Congress. The outside of the Supreme Court building is made from Vermont marble.

Gilbert modeled the US Supreme Court Building on Greece's Parthenon, as is evident from first glance. The site determined the size of the building, which stands four stories tall. The building is set back on its lot and a set of 53 marble steps lead to the grand front entrance. Two marble blocks flank that stairway and feature sculptures by James Fraser - a male figure representing "Guardian of Law" and a female figure, who is said to embody the spirit of equity, known as "Contemplation of Justice". A tower, with large arched windows and lofty stone chimney stacks, rises above the building to the same height as the nearby parish church of St Margaret.

With the exception of the US Supreme Court room itself, the interior surfaces are lined with Alabama marble. The Courtroom is lined with Spanish ivory vein marble. It is said that the columns inside the courtroom, made of Italian marble from Siena, resulted from dialogue between architect Gilbert and ruler Mussolini. Apparently, Gilbert appealed to the dictator for help in obtaining the finest quality Italian marble. There are twenty four columns in the Courtroom, which are made of ivory buff and golden marble mined from quarries near Siena Italy.

The western facade of the US Supreme Court building, which is often considered the front of the building since it faces the Capitol Building, bears the motto "Equal Justice Under Law," while the east face of the Supreme Court Building is inscribed with the saying "Justice, the Guardian of Liberty."

Above the court is the law library, an elegant room paneled in oak with carvings of appropriate emblems and allegorical figures. [2, p. 26].

Being of relatively modern construction, the building is in good condition, and the majority of its historic fabric, decoration and fixed furniture survive.

The history of the Supreme Court Building

The first session of the Supreme Court was convened on February 1, 1790, but it took some 145 years for the Supreme Court to find a permanent residence. When Washington DC became the US capital in 1790, there was no building specifically designated for the use of the members of the Supreme Court. For more than 140 years, the court was housed in the US Capitol building, first in the basement and then in other parts of the complex. During those years the Supreme Court lived a nomadic existence. Initially meeting in the Royal Exchange Building in New York, the Court established chambers in Independence Hall and later in City Hall when the national capitol moved to Philadelphia in 1790. The Court moved again when the Federal government moved in 1800 to the permanent capital in Washington. Since no provision had been made for a Supreme Court building.

In 1929, Chief Justice William Howard Taft suggested that the Supreme Court have its own headquarters. Shortly thereafter, architect Cass Gilbert, best known for his design of the Woolworth Building in NYC, was chosen for the project. Even though the country was in the midst of the Great Depression, the cornerstone for the building was laid in 1932 and the project completed in 1935. [2, p. 31].

At the laying of the cornerstone for the building on October 13, 1932, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes stated, "The Republic endures and this is the symbol of its faith." The building was designed on a scale in keeping with the importance and dignity of the Court and the Judiciary as a coequal, independent branch of the Federal government and as a symbol of "the national ideal of justice in the highest sphere of activity."

2.4 The Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, the national library of the United States of America, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in four buildings it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and number of books. The head of the Library is the Librarian of Congress, currently James H. Billington.

The Library of Congress is physically housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill and a conservation center in rural Virginia. The Library's Capitol Hill buildings are all connected by underground passageways, so that a library user need pass through security only once in a single visit. The library also has off-site storage facilities for less commonly requested materials.

The Thomas Jefferson Building is located between Independence Avenue and East Capitol Street on First Street SE. It first opened in 1897 as the main building of the Library and is the oldest of the three buildings. Known originally as the Library of Congress Building or Main Building, it took its present name on June 13, 1980.

The John Adams Building is located between Independence Avenue and East Capitol Street on 2nd Street SE, the block adjacent to the Jefferson Building. The building was originally built simply as an annex to the Jefferson Building. It opened its doors to the public on January 3, 1939.

The James Madison Memorial Building is located between First and Second Streets on Independence Avenue SE. The building was constructed from 1971 to 1976, and serves as the official memorial to President James Madison. The Madison Building is also home to the Mary Pickford Theater, the "motion picture and television reading room" of the Library of Congress. The theater hosts regular free screenings of classic and contemporary movies and television shows.

Today's Library of Congress is an unparalleled world resource. The collections include more than 32 million cataloged books and other print materials in 470 languages; more than 61 million manuscripts; the largest rare book collection in North America, including the rough draft of the Declaration of Independence; over 1 million US government publications; 1 million issues of world newspapers spanning the past three centuries; 33,000 bound newspaper volumes; 500,000 microfilm reels; over 6,000 comic book titles; films; 5.3 million maps; 6 million works of sheet music; 3 million sound recordings; more than 14.7 million prints and photographic images including fine and popular art pieces and architectural drawings. Of special interest are a Gutenberg Bible printed in the 1450's and two copies of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in his own handwriting.

The Library developed a system of book classification called Library of Congress Classification (LCC), which is used by most US research and university libraries.

The Library serves as a legal repository for copyright protection and copyright registration, and as the base for the United States Copyright Office. The mission of the Copyright Office is to promote creativity by administering and sustaining an effective national copyright system.

The Library also administers the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, an audio book and braille library program provided to more than 766,000 Americans. [10, p. 57].

The library is open to the general public for academic research and tourists. Only those who are issued a Reader Identification Card may enter the reading rooms and access the collection. The Reader Identification Card is available in the Madison building to persons who are at least 16 years of age upon presentation of a government issued picture identification (e.g. driver's license, state ID card or passport). However, only members of Congress, Supreme Court Justices, their staff, Library of Congress staff and certain other government officials may actually remove items from the library buildings. Members of the general public with Reader Identification Cards must use items from the library collection inside the reading rooms only; they are not allowed to remove library items from the reading rooms or the library buildings.

The history of the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress was established on April 24, 1800, when President John Adams signed an Act of Congress providing for the transfer of the seat of government from Philadelphia to the new capital city of Washington.

Established with $5,000 appropriated by the legislation, the original library was housed in the new Capitol until August 1814, when invading British troops set fire to the Capitol Building, burning and pillaging the contents of the small library.

Within a month, former President Jefferson offered his personal library as a replacement. Jefferson had spent 50 years accumulating a wide variety of books, including ones in foreign languages and volumes of philosophy, science, literature, architecture and other topics not normally viewed as part of a legislative library, such as cookbooks, writing that, "I do not know that it contains any branch of science which Congress would wish to exclude from their collection; there is, in fact, no subject to which a Member of Congress may not have occasion to refer." In January 1815, Congress accepted Jefferson's offer, appropriating $23,950 to purchase his 6,487 books.

On December 24, 1851 the largest fire in the Library's history destroyed 35,000 books, about two-thirds of the Library's 55,000 book collection, including two-thirds of Jefferson's original transfer. Congress in 1852 quickly appropriated $168,700 to replace the lost books, but not for the acquisition of new materials.

In 1886, after many proposals and much controversy, Congress authorized construction of a new Library building in the style of the Italian Renaissance in accordance with a design prepared by Washington architects John L. Smithmeyer and Paul J. Pelz.

When the Library of Congress building opened its doors to the public on November 1, 1897, it was hailed as a glorious national monument and "the largest, the costliest, and the safest" library building in the world.

In the mid-1990s, under Billington's leadership, the Library of Congress began to pursue the development of what it called a "National Digital Library," part of an overall strategic direction that has been somewhat controversial within the library profession.[9] In late November 2005, the Library announced intentions to launch the World Digital Library, digitally preserving books and other objects from all world cultures. [10, p. 62].

2.5 The United States Capitol

The United States Capitol is the meeting place of the United States Congress, the legislature of the federal government of the United States. The United States Capitol is among the most symbolically important and architecturally impressive buildings in the nation. It has housed the meeting chambers of the House of Representatives and the Senate for two centuries. The Capitol, which was started in 1793, has been through many construction phases. It stands today as a monument to the American people and their government. Officially, both the east and west sides of the Capitol are referred to as fronts. Historically, however, only the east front of the building was intended for the arrival of visitors and dignitaries. Like the federal buildings for the executive and judicial branches, it is built in the distinctive neoclassical style and has a white exterior.

The Capitol building is marked by its central dome above a rotunda and two wings, one for each chamber of Congress: the north wing is the Senate chamber and the south wing is the House of Representatives chamber. Above these chambers are galleries where visitors can watch the Senate and House of Representatives. The statue on top of the dome is the Statue of Freedom.

The neo-classical building's size is impressive: it is 229m long and 107m wide. The dome including the 5m tall statue reaches a height 57m. The building contains some 540 rooms spread out over five floors. Some of the most notable of these rooms are the rotunda, a large domed room in the center of the capitol and the National Statuary Hall, where statues of prominent citizens are displayed.

Underground tunnels and a private subway connect the main Capitol building with each of the Congressional office buildings in the surrounding complex. All rooms in the Capitol are designated as either S (for Senate) or H (for House), depending on whether they are north (Senate) or south (House) of the Rotunda. Additionally, all addresses in Washington, D.C. are designated NE, NW, SE, or SW, in relation to the Rotunda. Since the Capitol Rotunda is not located in the center of the District - it is slightly farther east and south - the four D.C. quadrants are not the same shape and size. [5, p. 13].

Up to four U.S. flags can be seen flying over the Capitol. Two flagpoles are located at the base of the dome on the East and West sides. These flagpoles have flown the flag day and night since World War I. The other two flagpoles are above the North (Senate) and South (House of Representatives) wings of the building, and fly only when the chamber below is in session. Under the Rotunda there is an area known as the Crypt. It was designed to look down on the final resting place of George Washington in the tomb below. However, under the stipulations of his last will, Washington was buried at Mount Vernon, and as such the area remains open to visitors. The Crypt now houses exhibits on the history of the Capitol.

Eleven presidents have lain in state in the Rotunda for public viewing, most recently Gerald Ford. The tomb meant for Washington stored the catafalque which is used to support coffins lying in state or honor in the Capitol. The catafalque is now on display in the Capitol Visitors Center for the general public to see when not in use. The Hall of Columns is located on the House side of the Capitol, home to twenty-eight fluted columns and statues from the National Statuary Hall Collection. In the basement of the Capitol building in a utility room are two marble bathtubs, which are all that remain of the once elaborate Senate baths. These baths were a spa-like facility designed for members of Congress and their guests before many buildings in the city had modern plumbing. The facilities included several bathtubs, a barbershop, and a massage parlor. The underground, three-level, 54,000 m2 United States Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) opened on December 2, 2008. The CVC is meant to bring all visitors in through one handicap accessible security checkpoint, yards away from the Capitol itself, increasing security and offering visitors educational exhibits, a food court, and restrooms. The estimated final cost of constructing the CVC was $621 million. The project had long been in the planning stages, but the 1998 killings of two Capitol Police officers provided the impetus to start work. The construction began in the spring of 2001. [15, p.24].

The history of the United States Capitol

Construction of the Capitol started in 1793, two years after an area ceded by Maryland was selected as the District of Columbia, site of the new capital. The original design was created by Dr. William Thornton, a Scottish physician. His design called for a domed building flanked by a southern and northern wing. The construction of the sandstone building was supervised by James Hoban, the architect of the White House. Construction progressed slowly and in 1800 Congress met in the new - unfinished - Capitol for the first time. Until then they had met in eight different cities, the last one being Philadelphia. In 1814, when construction was still going on, the Capitol was set on fire by British troops. A rainstorm prevented the complete destruction of the building and construction resumed the next year. The building was finally completed in 1826 by Charles Bulfinch, a Boston architect known for his design of the Massachusetts State House. The addition of new states soon made the Capitol too small for the increasing number of senators and representatives. In 1851 the Capitol was extended after a design by the Philadelphia architect Thomas U. Walter. He added new wings and used marble instead of the already deteriorating sandstone for the extensions. The existing dome had become too small in comparison to the wings and in 1856 the dome was removed. A new, large cast-iron dome was constructed. In 1863 the bronze 'statue of freedom' was installed on top of the majestic dome.

The next major expansion of the building was the east front extension constructed between 1958 and 1962 under the supervision of architect J. George Stewart. During the second half of the 20th century several renovation projects were undertaken, the last one was completed in 1993. [7, p. 70].


From the beginning of the twentieth century the USA became the world's leading country. Thousands of tourists visit Washington every day. People from all parts of the US come to see their capital, and also people all over the world. Washington greets tourists every year at such places of interest as the United States Capitol, the Supreme Court Building, the White House, the Library of Congress and others. The pink and white blossoms of the Japanese cherry near the Washington Monument create a magnificent delicate picture, and you are to visit Washington just to see it, and then all beauties of other cities will seem to you gloomy.

Observing the topic of the paper “Washington D.C. The capital of the U.S.A.” we've achieved our aim - observed characteristic features of Washington D.C., its history and places of interest.

And as a result of the work it's necessary to emphasize the following conclusions:

1. Most of Washington's government buildings are great tourist attractions;

2. The United States Capitol is the place where the members of Congress meet to discuss and vote on proposed legislation;

3. In the Supreme Court Building, the nine justices decide on the constitutionality of laws, government practices, and decisions of lower courts;

4. The White House has served as the home and the office of every United States president except George Washington;

5. The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, the national library of the United States of America, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States.

6. The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense. It is the world's largest office building by floor area, with about 600,000 m2, of which 340,000 m2 are used as offices.

Of course this large space of the land with long and also complicated historical way of life has much more peculiarities which help Washington D.C attract the attention of the foreigners.


1. Bordewich, Fergus M. Washington: the making of the American capital. - New York: HarperCollins, 2008. - 76-80 pp..

2. Christopher Tomlins. The United States Supreme Court: The Pursuit of Justice (1st ed.). - Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2005.

3. Crew, Harvey W.; William Bensing, John Wooldridge. Centennial History of the City of Washington, DC. - Dayton, Ohio: United Brethren Publishing House, 1892. - 124 p.

4. Frank Freidel, William Pencak. The White House. The first two hundred years. - Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1994.

5. Frary, Ihna Thayer. They built the Capitol. - Washington: Ayer Publishing, 1969.

6. Garett Wendell. Our Changing White House. - Washington: Northeastern University Press, 1995

7. Hazelton, George Cochrane. The National Capitol. - New York: J.F.Taylor&Co., 1907.

8. James Carroll. House of war: the Pentagon and the disastrous rise of American power. - Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2006. - 4 p.

9. Jim Owens. Replacing the stone and rebuilding the Pentagon. - Washington: Mining Engineering, 2005. - 21 p.

10. Samuel Collins. Library of Walls: The Library of Congress and the Contradictions of Information Society. - Washington: Information Agency, 2009.

11. Steve Vogel. New Pentagon is a Paragon. - Washington: Washington Post, 2011. - 1 p.

12. Steve Vogel. The pentagon: a History, 2003.

13. The World Book Encyclopedia (v. 21), 1994 - 53-63 pp.

14. Waldo Lee. A sketch of the Natural History of the District Of Columbia. - Washington: H.L.&J.B.McQueen, 1918. - 7 p.

15. William Allen. History of the United States Capitol - A Chronicle of Design, Construction, and Politics. - Washington: Government Printing Office, 2001.

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