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English General History Politics

The Influence of Neoclassical Architecture In the Modern World

Architectural Column Orders (Sarah Woodward, 27 October 2012)

Neoclassical architecture style has had a significant influence on the design of many government buildings in the United States. This style, which was popular in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries, is characterized by its use of classical elements and symmetry, and its emphasis on simplicity and order.

One of the most well-known examples of neoclassical architecture in the United States is the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Designed by architect William Thornton and completed in 1800, the Capitol features a large central dome and two wings, each with a portico supported by classical columns. The building’s design reflects the principles of neoclassical architecture, with its emphasis on order, balance, and symmetry.

Another prominent example of neoclassical architecture in the United States is the White House, which was designed by architect James Hoban and completed in 1800. The White House features a central portico with six Ionic columns, as well as two smaller porticos on either side with four Ionic columns each. The building’s design is a nod to the classical architecture of ancient Greece and Rome, with its emphasis on symmetry and proportion.

Neoclassical architecture also had a significant influence on the design of other government buildings in the United States, including the Supreme Court Building, the National Archives Building, and the U.S. Treasury Building, among others. These buildings feature classical elements such as columns, pediments, and domes, as well as other neoclassical features such as symmetry and balance.

Overall, neoclassical architecture has played an important role in shaping the visual identity of the United States government, reflecting the country’s early ties to the classical traditions of Europe and the desire to create a sense of order, stability, and permanence in the design of its buildings.

Capitals (Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.)

The capitals used in architecture are an important part of the design, and they vary greatly across different cultures and time periods. Here are some of the key differences between the capitals used in Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Islamic, and Persian architecture:

  1. Egyptian capitals: In ancient Egyptian architecture, the capital used on columns is typically in the shape of a lotus flower, with petals that curve outward and upward. This style is known as the “lotus capital.” There is also a style known as the “papyrus capital,” which features a bundle of papyrus reeds.
  2. Greek capitals: In Greek architecture, there are three main types of capitals: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. The Doric capital is the simplest, with a plain, round capital that sits directly on top of the column shaft. The Ionic capital features two scrolls that resemble the horns of a ram. The Corinthian capital is the most ornate, with intricately carved acanthus leaves that fan out from the column top.
  3. Persian capitals: Persian architecture is known for its intricate tilework and decorative motifs. The Persian capital is typically decorated with stylized floral patterns, sometimes incorporating calligraphy or other Islamic decorative elements.
  4. Roman capitals: Roman architecture was heavily influenced by Greek architecture, and the Roman capitals are similar to the Greek capitals. However, Roman capitals tend to be more decorative and ornate. The Composite capital is a notable Roman innovation, which combines elements of the Ionic and Corinthian capitals.
  5. Islamic capitals: In Islamic architecture, the capital used on columns is typically decorated with geometric patterns, calligraphy, or floral motifs. The muqarnas capital is a particularly distinctive Islamic style, featuring a complex, tiered design that resembles stalactites.
  6. Romanesque capitals: Romanesque architecture developed in the 11th and 12th centuries and is characterized by thick, heavy walls and rounded arches. The capitals used in Romanesque architecture are often simple in design, with geometric shapes or stylized foliage carved into the stone. They are typically squat and low-profile, with a blocky, sturdy appearance that reflects the strength and durability of the Romanesque style.
  7. Early English Gothic capitals: Early English Gothic architecture developed in the 12th and 13th centuries and is characterized by pointed arches and ribbed vaulting. The capitals used in Early English Gothic architecture are more ornate than those used in Romanesque architecture, often featuring highly detailed foliage and other naturalistic forms. They are typically taller and more slender than Romanesque capitals, with a more delicate appearance that reflects the ethereal quality of Early English Gothic architecture.

Overall, the capitals used in architecture are an important part of the design, and they vary greatly across different cultures and time periods. Each style of capital reflects the aesthetic and cultural values of the society that produced it.

Column (Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.)

The Greek classical orders of architecture are a set of design principles that were developed by ancient Greek architects and have influenced building design for centuries. These orders include the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders, each with its own unique style and meaning.

  1. Doric Order

The Doric order is the oldest of the three orders and is characterized by its simplicity and strength. The columns have no base, and the capital is plain, with a circular shape and a square abacus on top. The Doric order was used in temples and other public buildings, and it was meant to convey a sense of stability and solidity.

The Doric order is said to have originated in mainland Greece, where simplicity and rationality were highly valued. The order’s austere design reflects these values, and its use in important buildings such as the Parthenon in Athens shows the importance of strength and stability in Greek culture.

  1. Ionic Order

The Ionic order is characterized by its graceful and flowing design. The columns have a base, and the capital is decorated with volutes, which are scroll-like shapes on either side. The Ionic order was often used in buildings such as libraries and marketplaces, and it was meant to convey a sense of elegance and sophistication.

The Ionic order is said to have originated in Ionia, a region of ancient Greece, where art and beauty were highly valued. The order’s flowing design reflects these values, and its use in important buildings such as the Erechtheion in Athens shows the importance of beauty and harmony in Greek culture.

  1. Corinthian Order

The Corinthian order is the most ornate of the three orders, with a highly decorated capital featuring acanthus leaves and small scrolls. The columns have a base, and the base and capital are often highly decorated with small animal figures or other motifs. The Corinthian order was often used in the most important buildings, such as the Parthenon in Athens, and it was meant to convey a sense of luxury and opulence.

The Corinthian order is said to have originated in Corinth, a city in ancient Greece, where art, culture, and refinement were highly valued. The order’s ornate design reflects these values, and its use in important buildings shows the importance of art, culture, and refinement in Greek culture.

In conclusion, the Greek classical orders of architecture are a set of design principles that reflect the values and priorities of ancient Greek society. The Doric order reflects the importance of strength and stability, the Ionic order reflects the importance of beauty and harmony, and the Corinthian order reflects the importance of art, culture, and refinement. These orders have left a lasting legacy in the world of architecture and continue to inspire designers and artists to this day.

The Parthenon in Athens
(Steve Swayne, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The Parthenon

The Parthenon is an ancient temple located in Athens, Greece, built in the Doric order with a rectangular floor plan and columns supporting a frieze with mythological scenes. It features pediments at either end and is constructed using limestone with a marble roof. The building is renowned for its optical illusions and is considered a symbol of Greek architecture and classical beauty. Despite damage and modifications over the centuries, the Parthenon remains an enduring example of Greek classical architecture.

USCapitol – U.S. Supreme Court Building
USCapitol, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court building in Washington DC is another essential building that draws heavily on the Greek classical orders of architecture. The building features a grand staircase that is flanked by 16 Corinthian columns, which symbolize the importance of art, culture, and refinement in American society. The exterior of the building is also decorated with Ionic columns, which reflect the essence of beauty and harmony in American culture.

White House
(Zach Rudisin, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The White House

The White House is another important building in the United States that draws heavily on the Greek classical orders of architecture. The building was designed in the neoclassical style, which was popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and drew heavily on the Greek and Roman architectural styles.

The White House features a grand portico on its north facade that is supported by eight Ionic columns. The use of Ionic columns in the White House reflects the importance of beauty and harmony in American culture and is meant to convey a sense of elegance and refinement.

In addition to the Ionic columns, the White House also features other classical elements, such as a pediment on the north facade, which is decorated with a sculpture of the American eagle. The use of the pediment is a common feature in classical architecture and reflects the importance of symbolism in American culture.

U.S. Capitol Building
(Martin Falbisoner, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The US Capitol Building

The US Capitol Hill in Washington DC is one of the most important buildings in the United States government. The building was designed in the neoclassical style, which drew heavily on the Greek classical orders of architecture. The building features a central dome that is supported by 36 Doric columns, which symbolize the strength and stability of the United States government. The exterior of the building is decorated with Ionic and Corinthian columns, which reflect the importance of beauty, harmony, and refinement in American culture.

The U.S. Treasury Building

The U.S. Treasury Building in Washington, D.C. is an example of neoclassical architecture that incorporates elements of the Greek classical orders of architecture. The building’s design features a colonnade with columns modeled after the Doric order, which is characterized by its simple and sturdy design. The use of classical elements in the design of government buildings during the 19th century was meant to convey a sense of order, stability, and permanence. The U.S. Treasury Building remains an important symbol of the neoclassical architectural tradition in the United States and a testament to the enduring influence of the classical orders of architecture on modern design.

New York Stock Exchange Building
(Jean-Christophe BENOIST, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

New York Stock Exchange Building

The New York Stock Exchange building in New York City is an iconic building that reflects the importance of commerce and trade in American society. The building was designed in the neoclassical style, which draws heavily on the Greek classical orders of architecture. The building features a grand facade that is supported by six Ionic columns, which symbolize the importance of beauty and harmony in commerce and trade. The interior of the building is also decorated with Doric columns, which symbolize the strength and stability of the American economy.

Disclaimer: This article is entirely written by ChatGPT Feb 13 Version, thus might contain inaccurate information.

Further Reading

Neoclassical | Architect of the Capitol (aoc.gov)

U.S. Capitol Building | Architect of the Capitol (aoc.gov)

Supreme Court Building | Architect of the Capitol (aoc.gov)

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Categories
English History Politics

Reverend Hugh Knox, the mentor of Alexander Hamilton

A Biography of Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804)
Mentors (1768-1773)

Oddly, after his family situation had disintegrated, Alexander’s life seemed to improve immensely. His experience as bookkeeper in his mother’s store landed him a job as a clerk with the international trading firm of Nicholas Cruger, a New Yorker whose business hub was on St. Croix.

The boy’s exceptional skills and endless learning capacity soon saw him running the firm upon the owner’s absence. As a teenager, Hamilton was inspecting cargoes, advising ships’ captains, and preparing bills of lading. Under Cruger’s tutelage, Hamilton mastered the intricacies of global finance and experienced first hand how the material interests of peoples and countries interwove in the complicated fabric of international trade. The bustling port of St. Croix, which was a melting pot of residents and visitors from all over the world, early formed a picture of a global village in Hamilton’s mind. He also saw the darker side of international dealings, as the island was a center for the slave trade. Hamilton came away with a deep hatred of slavery, and he eventually co-founded an abolitionist society in New York. In the meantime, the youngster drank in everything he saw. Nothing Hamilton experienced ever went unused.

Whereas Nicholas Cruger exposed Alexander Hamilton to material realities, the Reverend Hugh Knox provided him with a strong spiritual and intellectual grounding. Knox–who took Hamilton under his wing shortly after Rachel’s death–was a Scottish Presbyterian minister at odds with the mainstream of his faith because of his firm belief in free will over the Calvinist doctrine of Predestination. For someone like Hamilton who was otherwise predestined to a life of obscurity, we can see how Knox’s philosophy would have appealed to him. The Reverend’s encouragement and influence undoubtedly led Hamilton to dream big dreams. Knox, a brilliant sermon-writer and occasional doctor, took the young orphan under his wing and tutored him in the humanities and sciences. When he was able to get away from the office, Hamilton further expanded his intellect in Knox’s library, where he read voluminously in the classics, literature, and history. Hamilton, who had early fancied himself a writer, published an occasional poem in the local paper, and impressed the residents of the island with a particularly vivid and florid account of a hurricane in 1772.

By 1773, his mentors had raised enough money to send him to America to continue his education. It was clear to all who encountered the young man that he was much too brilliant and determined to remain in what Hamilton himself termed “the grovelling condition of a clerk.” Cruger, Knox, and other wealthy islanders, sent Hamilton off in June of 1773 to New York to study medicine, most likely in the hope that he would return to the island and set up his practice there. But Alexander Hamilton was never to see the West Indies again.

Original source: Mentors (1768-1773) < A Biography of Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) < Biographies < American History From Revolution To Reconstruction and beyond (rug.nl)

Featured image: John Trumbull, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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Categories
Daily Post Politics

A CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC, NOT A DEMOCRACY

Vol. 12, No. 16 (Broadcast 556) April 18, 1966 Dallas, Texas

A democracy is a political system in which the people periodically, by majority vote at the polls, select their rulers. The rulers then have absolute power to make whatever laws they please, by majority vote among themselves. In a constitutional Republic, the people also, by majority vote at the polls, select rulers, who make laws by majority vote among themselves; but the rulers cannot make any laws they please, because the Constitution severely restricts their law-making power.

The ideal of a democracy is universal equality. The ideal of a constitutional Republic is individual liberty.

Subversion of Language

In this century, great strides have been made toward the goal of subverting our Republic and transforming it into a democracy. One tactic of the subverters is subversion of language. By calling the United States a democracy until people thoughtlessly accept and use the term, totalitarians have obscured the real meaning of our principles of government.

Note the following passages from an article written by C. L. Sulzberger and distributed by the New York Times News Service (March 3, 1966 ) :

“Not only in the United States but in other leading democracies, recent years have seen perceptible growth in executive authority . . . .

“Amaury de Riencourt, a French intellectual, contends in his book, The Coming Caesars, that ‘as society becomes more equalitarian, it tends increasingly to concentrate absolute power in the hands of one single man.’ . . .

” ‘Caesarism is not …. brutal seizure of power through revolution. It is not based on a specific doctrine or philosophy. It is essentially pragmatic and untheoretical. It is a slow, often century-old, unconscious development that ends in a voluntary surrender of a free people escaping from freedom to one autocratic master.’ “

We are “escaping from freedom to one autocratic master,” trading our liberty for the promise of equality; but the operation is not an “unconscious development.”

Note the following from Page 9 of Gunnar Myrdal’s An American Dilemma :

“In society liberty for one may mean the suppression of liberty for others … . In America . . . liberty often provided an opportunity for the stronger to rob the weaker. Against this, the equalitarianism in the [ American] Creed has been persistently revolting. The struggle is far from ended. The reason why American liberty was not more dangerous to equality [ in the early days of the nation] was, of course, the open frontier and the free land. When opportunity became bounded in the last generation, the inherent conflict between equality and liberty flared up. Equality is slowly winning “

And the following from page 13:

” [ In] America . . . . conservatism . . . has, to a great extent, been perverted into a nearly fetishistic cult of the Constitution. This is unfortunate since the 1 50-year-old Constitution is in many respects impractical and ill-suited for modern conditions and since, furthermore, the drafters of the document made it technically difficult to change even if there were no popular feeling against change.

“The worship of the Constitution also is a most flagrant violation of the American Creed . . . . Modern historical studies of how the Constitution came to be as it is reveal that the Constitutional Convention was nearly a plot against the common people.”

Gunnar Myrdal, a Swedish socialist, was hired by the Carnegie Corporation of New York in 1 937 to direct a study of the Negro in the United States. Myrdal arrived in this country in September, 1938, engaged a large staff (some of them communists and pro-communists), and began his work. He was aided by several branches of the federal government, by some state and municipal authorities, by the NAACP, by the National Urban League, by private and public research institutions, by universities, by numerous individuals considered intellectual leaders of the day. An American Dilemma resulted, completed in 1942, first copyrighted in the United States in 1944.

On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court handed down its school-segregation decision, which deliberately violated the Constitution, reversed previous Supreme Court decisions, and lit a fuse touching off explosive lawlessness which has been shattering our society ever since. The Court cited An American Dilemma as one of the “modern authorities” on which it relied, in preference to the Constitution, for justification of its decision.

An American Dilemma provided a basic rationale for the conversion of our free Republic into an equalitarian democracy. Evidence of Gunnar Myrdal’s malignant and continuing influence on American life can be found in The Negro Family: The Case For National Action, prepared and published in March, 1965, by the Office of Policy Planning and Research, United States Department of Labor. This government study repeats Myrdal’s thesis that liberty and equality are incompatible, holding that equality must be our national goal. Note these passages from Pages 2 and 3:

“Liberty and Equality are the twin ideals of American democracy. But they are not the same thing …. nor … are they always compatible ….

“By and large, liberty has been the ideal with the higher social prestige in America. It has been the middle class aspiration, par excellence. (Note the assertions of the conservative right that ours is a republic, not a democracy.) Equality, on the other hand, has en joyed tolerance more than acceptance. Yet it has roots deep in Western civilization and is at least coeval with, if not prior to, liberty in the history of Western political thought.”

The Big Lie

Note that the government book unequivocally labels America a democracy, characterizing as merely an assertion the truth that America is a Republic.

Here again, we see the influence of the Swedish socialist, Gunnar Myrdal. Myrdal contends that the American Declaration of Independence ( 1776) proclaimed the ideal of an equalitarian democracy (because it contains the phrase, “All men are created equal”). Eleven years later ( 1787 ) , the Constitutional Convention produced the Constitution which created, not a democracy founded on the ideal of equality, but a Republic founded on the ideal of liberty. This is why Myrdal says the “Constitutional Convention was nearly a plot against the common people.” But he and those who parrot his ideas are either ignorant or dishonest.

The Declaration’s phrase, all men are created equal, means that men are equal before the Creator, regardless of their inequality in human society. The Declaration says that men are endowed with unalienable rights and that the purpose of government is to secure these rights. The unalienable rights of man enumerated in the Declaration of Independence do not include equality, but they do include liberty, along with life and pursuit of happiness.

Equality of all men in the eyes of God and before the law is a condition essential to freedom; but no other kind of equality is possible. Government efforts to achieve material equality will produce crushing tyranny, but will not make people equal.

The Great Truth

The continuity of ideals from the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution is clear to serious students of American history. The fact that Madison, known as father of the Constitution, was a disciple and lifelong friend of Jefferson, author of the Declaration, should be enough to squelch the assertion that there is conflict of principles in these two documents. The Constitution was ordained in 1787 specifically to safeguard the principles of liberty proclaimed by the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

The writers of the Constitution were anxious to safeguard liberty against dictatorship (monarchy, they called it) ; but their chief anxiety was to protect the country against democracy.

Edmund Randolph, delegate to the Constitutional Convention from Virginia, said the “general object” of the Convention was to “provide a cure for the evils” which beset the country, claiming that “in tracing these evils to the origin,” every man had found them to be in the “turbulence and follies of democracy.” He urged the Convention to produce a means to “check … and to restrain, if possible, the fury of Democracy.”

Elbridge Gerry and Roger Sherman, delegates from Massachusetts and Connecticut, urged the Constitutional Convention to create a system which would eliminate “the evils we experience,” saying that those ” evils . . . flow from the excess of democracy.”

Alexander Hamilton, delegate from New York, said :

“We are now forming a republican government. Real liberty is neither found in despotism nor the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments . . . . if we incline too much to democracy, we shall soon shoot into a monarchy.”

John Adams (not a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, but one of the giants of the American revolutionary period) said:

” … democracy will envy all, contend with all, endeavor to pull down all; and when by chance it happens to get the upper hand for a short time, it will be revengeful, bloody, and cruel ….

Speaking of “pure democracies” (in which the people, by majority vote, act as their own lawmakers, instead of electing representatives to make laws) , James Madison said:

” … such democracies have ever been … incompatible with personal security or the rights of property . . . .

“A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking . . . .”

Madison did not, however, think the “scheme of representation” was enough to protect the people from tyranny. He knew, and said, that “enlightened men will not always be at the helm” of government to serve as “proper guardians of the public weal.” He knew that unlimited political power cannot safely be entrusted to the nation’s elected representatives, to use as a majority of them see fit, because, he said, a majority of a group of men is far more likely to be tyrannical than one man is.

In a democracy, if a majority should develop hatred for all blue-eyed babies and order them eliminated, the babies could be legally executed, because whatever a majority wants, at any given moment, is supreme law of the land, in a democracy.

Our Constitutional System

How can liberty be safeguarded against the mindless, soulless tyranny of majority rule, when government is founded on the principle of majority rule – when the men who govern, elected by majority vote of the people, make laws by majority vote among themselves? Jefferson answered the question succinctly:

“In questions of power . . . let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”

In short, America was founded not as a democracy but as a constitutional Republic. We pledge allegiance to the Republic for which our flag stands, not to a democracy. The Constitution requires a “republican form of government” for all states, but does not mention democracy, and neither does the Declaration of Independence or the Bill of Rights.

The Constitution is a binding contract, specifically enumerating limited powers which the federal government can legally exercise, prohibiting it from exercising any powers not granted in the contract. It denies federal officials the power to do whatever they claim to be necessary for the general welfare. Federal action not clearly authorized by the Constitution is illegal even if approved by an overwhelming majority of the people, because all the elastic powers of government are left with the states.

Ultimate power to change the organic structure of government was left with the people; but the means of making changes (amending the Constitution) were carefully prescribed to militate against hasty, unwise decisions by the people.

As Benjamin Franklin left the State House in Philadelphia on the closing day of the Constitutional Convention, a woman asked him what kind of government the Convention had given America. Franklin replied:

“A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Benjamin Franklin

Very old and very wise, Franklin saw through the mists of time to the day when Americans might trade their freedom in a constitutional Republic for the promise of government-guaranteed equality and security in a democracy – and beyond that, to the day when democracy inevitably degenerates into dictatorship, guaranteeing nothing but poverty and serfdom for the people it robs and rules.

The American constitutional system, unique in history, enabled Americans to develop a backward continent into the most magnificent nation of all time. The system was designed to prevent both tyranny by government and reckless rebellion by the people. We must restore it and keep it.

SUGGESTION: Distribute copies of this Report to students, teachers, libraries – and to anyone who calls the United States a democracy.

THE DAN SMOOT REPORT is published weekly by The Dan Smoot Report, Inc., Box 9538, Dallas, Texas 75214 (office at 6441 Gaston Ave.). Subscriptions: $18.00 for 2 years; $10.00, 1 year; $6.00, 6 months; first class, $12.50 a year; airmail, $14.50. Dan Smoot was born in Missouri, reared in Texas. With BA and MA degrees from SMU ( 1938 and 1940), he joined the Harvard faculty ( 1941) as a Teaching Fellow, doing graduate work in American civilization. From 1942 to 1951, he was an FBI agent; from 1951 to 1955, a commentator on national radio and television. In 1955, he started his present independent, free-enterprise business: publishing this REPORT and abbreviating it each week for radio and TV broadcasts available for commercial sponsorship by business firms.

Copyright by Dan Smoot, 1966. Second Class mail privilege authorized at Dallas, Texas No Reproduaioo5 Pennitted.

The Dan Smoot Report The true form of the US Government is a Republic, Not A Democracy. Not merely a symantic difference. The Founding Fathers despised democracy. They formed a Republic to guard against rule by majority. First we were told we were a democracy, then the republic was transformed into a democracy. Now we are witnessing the democracy collapse into dictatorship.

Sources:

Dan Smoot Report #556 (A Republic, Not A Democracy)

Dan Smoot Report Resource Page | federalexpression (wordpress.com)

The Dan Smoot Report, 1966: “A Constitutional Republic, Not a Democracy” – The American Minervan (theamericanminvra.com)

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