By Levi Clancy for לוי on
The National Archives building was designed by John Russell Pope (1874 - 1937) as a temple to history, with architecture to reflect the tremendous gravity of the collections.
The 70-foot tall domed rotunda and 40-foot tall bronze doors impart awe and majesty. Pope also designed the Jefferson Memorial. The misleadingly named Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom does include founding documents, though they obviously did not confer freedom on many people.
In some areas of the fledgling United States, some people remained enslaved -- a much more dramatic condition than the taxes which made the so-called Patriots revolt. The rotunda's curved walls are covered with canvas, painted by artist Barry Faulkner in 1935-36. There are impressive displays with originals of:
|Declaration of Independence||1776||Announced the separation of the 13 colonies from Great Britain and the establishment of the United States of America. The Declaration articulates principles of liberty, equality and the right to self-determination. The Declaration is encased in a sealed case filled with the inert gas argon, at carefully controlled humidity.|
|United States Constitution||1787||Considered one of the most influential legal documents of all time, it has served as the model for over a hundred countries.|
|Bill of Rights||1789||The First Congress of the United States proposed 12 constitutional amendments to spell out the rights of citizens (non-slaves). Ten of these were ratified and are collectively known as the Bill of Rights.|