Federal Hall – The Birthplace of American Democracy
SCT is working with the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy (Harbor Conservancy) on the multi-million dollar restoration of Federal Hall, one of New York’s – and the United States’ – most iconic national memorials.
Federal Hall stands on the site on Wall Street on which it can truly be said that American history was made and American democracy forged. It was here in 1789 that the first Federal Congress of the United States convened in the nation’s first capitol and George Washington was inaugurated as its first President.
It was here too that that first Congress established the American system of government and conceived the Bill of Rights which has promoted and protected the liberties of American citizens for over 200 years – and, of course, includes the First Amendment which guarantees the right to free expression.
The original building was demolished in 1812 and the one which stands there now was conceived in the mid-nineteenth century as an architectural embodiment of the democratic ideal, drawing inspiration not only from the American past but also from the Parthenon of ancient Athens and the Pantheon of republican Rome.
The building has had many uses over the years but for decades its front steps have served as America’s soapbox. From the bond and political rallies of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s to the Occupy Movement of the new millennium, Federal Hall is where Americans come for debate, dissent and dialogue.
Building on the Legacy
Now the Harbor Conservancy in partnership with the National Park Service has launched an ambitious plan for the regeneration of Federal Hall which aims not only to restore the fabric of the historic building but also to showcase, celebrate and build upon its incomparable heritage.
At the heart … read more »