Dr. William Thornton, an amateur architect, won the 1792 competition for design of the Capitol of the United States. His design was a Palladian-inspired scheme with a central shallow-domed rotunda flanked by the Senate wing to the north and the House wing to the south. George Washington laid the cornerstone in 1793, but construction proceeded slowly under a series of architects.
James Hoban, architect of the White House, oversaw completion of the Senate wing in 1800. Benjamin Latrobe, major architect of the period, took over in 1803. By 1811, Latrobe had renovated the Senate wing and completed the House wing. The Capitol was burned by British troops in 1814. Latrobe began its reconstruction and redesign the following year.
Charles Bulfinch of Boston succeeded Latrobe in 1818 and completed the building to Latrobe's master plan in 1830. By 1850 it was necessary to enlarge the building. Thomas U. Walter was commissioned to design and build the present capitol. The large, new dome was topped with Thomas Crawford's colossal statue, Armed Freedom, which was completed in 1863.