The Washington Memorial and its Reconstruction Essay

The Washington Memorial and its Reconstruction Essay

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The Washington Monument was built between 1848 and 1884 as a tribute to George
Washington's military leadership from 1775-1783 during the American Revolution. Its
construction took place in two major phases, 1848-56, and 1876-84--a lack of funds, political
turmoil, and uncertainty about the survival of the American Union caused the intermittent
hiatus. Plans for a national monument began as early as 1783 when Congress proposed that an
equestrian statue of George Washington be erected. Although the Monument was authorized by
Congress, little action was taken, even after Major Peter Charles L'Enfant selected its site in his
1791 Federal City plan. Washington's 1799 death rekindled public aspiration for an appropriate
tribute to him, and John Marshall proposed that a special sepulcher be erected for the General
within the Capitol itself. Lack of funds postponed construction, but Marshall persevered, and in
1833, he, James Madison, and others formed the Washington National Monument Society. By
1836, the society advertised for competitive architectural designs. The winning arc...

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