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Winter at the National Capital—A Night Session.


Winter at the National CapitAl—A Night Session.
by William H. Redding
Harper's Weekly
Wood engraving, hand-colored, 1885-03-07
Image with text measurement
      Height: 20.5 inches  (52.07 cm)
      Width:  13.5 inches  (34.29 cm)
Cat. no. 38.00023.002

The late 1880s and 1890s are considered watershed years in the history of the Senate and the nation. Old systems and philosophies were being supplanted by a new America–predominantly urban and industrial–energized to take a leading role on the world stage. As the Civil War became a distant memory, a new generation looked to the future with enthusiasm, optimism, and increasing national harmony. This engraving was published in March 1885, four days after Grover Cleveland was sworn in as president–the first Democrat to lead the nation in a quarter century. The next 15 years were marked by major legislation and reform, including efforts to improve the conditions of Native Americans, regulate interstate commerce, and resolve the tariff issues that had plagued the country for decades. The idyllic scene depicted in this print reflects the peaceful optimism felt throughout the nation. Washington, D.C., is blanketed in snow and the Capitol is ablaze as Congress works late into the night attending to the country’s needs.