The American Statehouse: Interpreting Democracy's Temples
The American Statehouse examines the interplay of architecture and politics in all fifty state capitols. Using both careful analysis and photographs of exteriors and interiors, Goodsell demonstrates how the architectural elements embody political values and ideas; influence how politicians, lobbyists, and the news media behave; and both awe and unite the citizenry. He concludes that a statehouse's design is an intentional expression of how to practice politics democratically.
The American state capitol is a "statehouse" in that it was historically conceived as the center and home of all of state government. As a building type, it emerged in the early nineteenth century and flowered in the early twentieth. One of the very few purely American architectural forms, the statehouse not only encloses but also symbolizes American democracy at the state level.
That all three branches of government, not to mention the state bureaucracy initially, were housed under one roof meant that the doctrine of the separation of powers had to be "worked out" in close quarters, often in revealing ways. What also evolved in the statehouse was a distinct style of politics that mixed colorful leadership, varied partisanship, bicameral opposition, deliberative debate, insider lobbying, uninhibited reporting, bureaucratic growth, and populist activism. All of these elements both affected and were acted upon by the built form—the statehouse—of state government.
At the nexus of architectural studies and political science, this book is about the interaction of architecture and politics in America's state capitols. Goodsell offers what he calls a social interpretation of architecture. Toward this end, he utilizes three conceptual frameworks: one devoted to seeking political values or ideas embedded within the buildings, a second concerned with the effects of the buildings on contemporary political behavior, and a third seeking to appraise larger impressions the buildings make on society. Goodsell concludes that the statehouse enshrines both majestic state authority on the one hand and liberal representative government on the other. The American statehouse, then, is not just a temple but a temple of democracy.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
An Object of Social Interpretation
38 other sections not shown
American Renaissance American statehouse architect architectural Arkansas behavioral bench building type building's built Capi capital Capitol brochure Capitol Building Cass Gilbert century City colonial Colorado Connecticut construction corridors courtroom created decorated Delaware desks display dome executive facade Figure Georgia governor governor's office grounds Hampshire Historical Idaho Illinois Indiana interior Iowa Iowa State Capitol Jefferson Kentucky Legislative Building legislative chambers legislature lens lobbyists located Maryland Massachusetts ment Michigan Minnesota State Capitol Mississippi Missouri Montana mural Nebraska Nebraska State Capitol Nevada North Oklahoma Old Capitol Old State House Oregon Pennsylvania Pennsylvania State Capitol physical political portico Press reception room Rhode Island rostrum rotunda seating second floor Senate SOCIAL MEANINGS South Carolina South Dakota spatial structure supreme court symbolic temple front Texas tion ture United States Capitol Utah Vermont Virginia State Capitol Washington West Virginia William wings Wisconsin Wisconsin State Capitol Wyoming York