Layered Gratitude: A Look at Preserved National Pride at the Heart of The Capital

 

Prezi

Lafayette Square, on the surface looks to be a symbol of unadulterated patriotism, a space in which those who had helped craft today’s United States of America were honored in the heart of its own capital. While this square does still stand as a place of honor, through this essay, I will argue that the symmetric and systematic placement of the monuments within the square’s reach contribute to a much more complex commonplace, using lines of placement within the space to contain elements of international influence and allow national presence to govern the area. Lafayette Square, located adjacent to the White House was named for General Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, a French revolutionary who significantly aided in the American Revolution (Biography of the Marquis De Lafayette). Since the unofficial creation of the square, the space has been used as a soldier encampment, graveyard and slave market among other things (Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C.).

Not until its official construction in 1891 did the Square honor the man for which the space is named, General Lafayette (Lafayette Square, Washington, DC). Previous to this the square was home to only one statue. Located at the center of the square, a statue was erected in 1853, depicted President Andrew Jackson riding atop a rearing horse (Lafayette Square, Washington, DC). The physical monuments of this site prove to create hard lines and borders. Through the placement and memoriam of these statues, a layered effect is created in the space, contributing to the containment of foreign influence in the area.

At the heart of these multilayered organism is Andrew Jackson. The statue created in honor of The United States seventh president shows Jackson riding atop a rearing horse, as reported by the US General Service Administration (Lafayette Square, Washington, DC). The GSA also reports that this very statue was the first in the nation to be cast in bronze, a trend that would soon be followed by many sculptors (Lafayette Square, Washington, DC). The placement of this statue at the heart of the square is bold enough to leave many wondering why the Square was not named for the man whose image the statue was created in. A few feet beyond the statue and the pristine grass that surrounds it, is a fence meant to keep the statue and its surroundings untouched by the squares visitors. This fence differentiates this monument from the others in the square, marking it as the only one in which guests can not interact with.  This emphasis does not go unnoticed on the larger scale of the square. The placement of Andrew Jackson’s memorial as well as the architecture surrounding it creates an untouchable American figure at the heart of Lafayette Square, establishing the purely American core of the area.

Beyond the nationalistic core of the square is an open space filled with manicured grass, fountains and benches, creating the ideal space for anything from a tour group to a protest. This meat of the Square is forever changing, based on the areas clientele at any given moment. Beyond this, the perimeter of Lafayette Square holds tribute to four individuals:  Major General Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette,  Major Général Comte Jean de Rochambeau, Brigadier General Thaddeus Kosciuszko, and Major General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben (Lafayette Square, Washington, DC). These monuments cover each of the four corners of the square, creating an international perimeter. The relative location of these four statues to the central statue of Andrew Jackson creates the first glimpse of the layered structure of the area. The foreign influence for which the park is named, lays only on the perimeter of the square, while Andrew Jackson’s presence holds most of the inner square. The differing levels of influence present in both of these layers allows for the containment of each to their specified area of the square. Moreover, these statutes, unlike that of President Andrew Jackson have no surrounding barriers separating them from the public’s reach. This further signifies the shift in ranking for layer to layer of the square.

Solidifying the layered rhetoric of the square lays in what is located just beyond the foreign perimeter of the area. Beyond the square, only a short distance away, are two extremely american locations, serving to enclose and contain the layer of foreign influence that is the perimeter of Lafayette Square. Just outside of this perimeter sites St. John’s Episcopal Church, also knows as “The Church of the president’s” (Welcome to St. John’s Church). The church gets its street name from the fact that every president, starting with President James Madison, has attended a service at this very church (Welcome to St. John’s Church). The traditional decor as well as its rich nationalistic history solidifies this location as one of great national influence. This influence, paired with its proximity to the perimeter of Lafayette Square helps to further contain the thin layer of international culture present in the area. Another nearby barrier for this international influence is a somewhat less prestigious location. Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab restaurant sits right outside of Lafayette Square. The upscale, two-story restaurant is known for its American cuisine and rated 4.6 stars on yelp.com (History of Joe’s). The rhetoric of this space in relation to Lafayette square is that of final American dominance over the area. The addition of yet another respected, well revered American staple in such close proximity to the already contained foreign influence in the area solidifies the third layer of the space as nationalistic.

While it was no secret when beginning my research on Lafayette Square that the space would be on of national pride and focus, what did surprise me was the space’s acknowledgement of foreign influence and simultaneous containment of this influence to a thin perimeter. While analyzing the rhetor of the square and learning more about the space’s history and the American government, I can not help but feel that this containment is not coincidental. It seems only logical to me that from a nationalistic point of view, the honoring of foreign dignitaries in the heart of our nation’s capital and an area of such American pride, would be contained to small, less significant areas.

Works Cites:

“Biography of the Marquis De Lafayette.” Ushistory.org, Independence Hall Association,

 

www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/served/lafayette.html. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.

 

“Joe’S.net.” Joe’S.net, joes.net/dc/. Accessed 2 May 2017.

 

“Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 2 May 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lafayette_Square,_Washington,_D.C. Accessed 2 May 2017.
“WELCOME TO SAINT JOHN’S CHURCH.” St Johns Church, stjohns-dc.org/welcome-to-saint-johns-church/history/. Accessed 30 Apr. 2017.

Annotated Bibliographies 9 & 10

#9

“WELCOME TO SAINT JOHN’S CHURCH.” St Johns Church, stjohns-dc.org/welcome-to-saint-johns-church/history/. Accessed 30 Apr. 2017.

This first article is written in regards to the history of St. John’s Church, a Christian church located in Washington D.C. Furthermore, it notes specific facts about St. John’s beginnings, including its origins, built by Benjamin Henry Latrobe on September 14, 1815. Interestingly, St. John’s Church is known as “the Church of the Presidents” for every President, beginning with James Madison, has attended a service at St. John’s, and is therefore registered as a National Historic Landmark. Moreover, St. John’s Church has taken part in global efforts, such as the founding of an orphanage in 1868 to aiding Christian worshipers in various parts of the world, including South Africa and Jerusalem. The final portion of this article touches upon some important, physical aspects of the Church itself. Such features include the bell in St. John’s steeple, which was engineered by Paul Revere’s son in 1822, and the 25 historic, stained glass windows. These windows were crafted in France and commissioned by the Church in 1883 and depict the Gospel of St. John, the individual the Church was named after. The final feature this article addresses is the Parish House, a building next to the church which serves as a National Historic Landmark in itself. The Parish House was occupied by Lord Ashburton in 1842, this is the same individual who negotiated U.S. Canadian borders, and therefore the Parish House is known as Ashburton House as well.

This article is especially significant to my paper due to the location of St. John’s Church. St. John’s Church is located on the outer perimeter of Lafayette Square, an area of Washington D.C. that lies North of the White House. This will allow for the investigation of whether or not religious connections are present in politics, and if they are, how. Furthermore, the close proximity of the White House to St. John’s Church will allow me to address the presidential theme of the church. Finally, due to the international influence present within  the church, I will be able to explore the Greek and American influence on the church’s location in general.

 

#10

“Hotel Overview.” Hay Adams, www.hayadams.com/washington-dc-hotels. Accessed 30 Apr. 2017.

This article provides an overview on the Hay-Adams Hotel, a boutique hotel located in Downtown Washington D.C. This hotel is located adjacent to Lafayette Square, allowing for exceptional views of both St. John’s Church and the White House. Furthermore, the Hay-Adams Hotel’s prized location allows visitors to access many of Washington D.C.’s monuments via a short walk. This article also briefly addresses the history of the Hay-Adams Hotel, detailing the motive for construction of its 145 guest rooms and 21 suites in the 1920’s. Moreover, the design plans employed allows for a private atmosphere, where guests can receive outstanding service while experiencing an intimate space. Finally, the photo gallery displays images of the eloquently, lavish hotel. The gallery includes images of the ornate outer entrance, the interior lobby, aspects of the large suites, and the high level of service provided in various locations throughout the Hay-Adams Hotel.

This article pertaining to the Hay-Adams Hotel will be significant for the writing of my paper due to the fact that the hotel is located extremely close to Lafayette Square. This poses a very interesting juxtaposition, for the Hay-Adams Hotel is often regarded as a high-class traveler destination, and the portion of Lafayette Square the hotel is closest to is often regarded as more middle class. Furthermore, Lafayette Square is often portrayed as rather international due to the crowds the many National Historic Landmarks it encompasses attracts. On the other hand, the Hay-Adams Hotel assumes somewhat of a nationalistic identity. Therefore, I am interested in addressing the tensions between class distinctions associated with both Lafayette Square and the Hay-Adams Hotel.  

Digital Archives Exterior & Political #5

St. John’s Episcopal Church, located just outside of the perimeter of Lafayette Square. The church is Greek revival Episcopal Church, originally built in 1816 and has been visited by every president to reside in the White House since its construction. The location of the church, directly outside the square and in a straight line with the White House contributes to the layered aspect of the Squares rhetoric. The church adds a final layer to the location, fusing the greek roots of the church with the presence of American power seen through every President’s visit. This fusion of international and national power and influence is seen in its finale at the edge of the Square within the church.

Digital Archives Exterior & Political #4

The statue of General Thaddeus Kosciuszko, situated at one of the four corners of Lafayette Square, was a Polish general, credited with aiding the American Revolution in numerous ways, specifically in the battle of Saratoga, New York. The general stands as one of the four international figures in the Square, paying tribute to the immense help of international aid in the American Revolutionary War. This statue helps solidify the perimeter of the park’s fine, yet strong, line of international appreciation.

Digital Archives Exterior & Political #3

The Hay-Adams Hotel, located down the street from Lafayette Square, is a five star hotel that emphasized its “discreet, intimate” nature as well as its “excellent services”. This upscale location is popularly used by those visiting the capital on business and is also a popular wedding destination. The regal, upscale location is starkly contrasted with the less than upscale past of its surrounding area, drawing its reputation from the political pieces of its surroundings rather than that actual past of Lafayette Square.

Digital Archives Exterior & Political #2

Major General Comte Jean de Rochambeau, an aid in the American Revolutionary War, contributed to the making of The United States of America much like the other three men with statues in their name outside of Lafayette Square. While the information regarding Major Général Comte Jean de Rochambeau is not entirely different from that of the other foreign dignitaries in the square, the placement of the statue as well as the history and reasoning for its placement is certainly relevant to the layered structure of the Square.

 

Digital Archives Exterior & Political #1

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab restaurant sits right outside of Lafayette Square. The upscale, two-story restaurant is known for its American cuisine and rated 4.6 stars on yelp.com. The rhetoric of this space in relation to Lafayette square is relevant in two areas. First, the upscale nature of the restaurant attracts a certain clientele. This clientele drastically differs from either the homeless population that hovers around Lafayette park as well as the drug dealers that used to plague the area. The restaurant also contributes to the layered theme of the Square in that it lays just outside of the international perimeter of the park, yet offers the best of American cuisine.

Annotated Bibliography 7 & 8

Crothers, Lane. “American Culture, American Influence.” TheEuropean, The European, 19 Sept. 2011, www.theeuropean-magazine.com/lane-crothers–2/6201-american-culture-american-influence. Accessed 20 Apr. 2017

In the article “The Hegemony of Pop” written by Lane Crothers, Crothers details the ways in which the American influence over global popular culture is not only strong, but will likely outlast the power of our military and politics. Lane goes on to explain how American cultural influence has been the leading global influencer for decades. He then goes on to analyze the fluctuation of the american economic system in relation to the cultural influence of the United States. Brothers comes to the conclusion that though America is not the only economic powerhouse in the world, our cultural influence will likely remain supreme even if other countries surpass us economically.

I will likely use Crothers’ analysis of American international influence on a smaller level, relating it to the layered domestic→ international→ domestic layout of Lafayette Square. I intend to use the article as as supplement to my other research. This document is less factual and more open-ended, which will be useful in my project as far as varied sources go.

 

Ron. “US Slave.” Lafayette Park Slave Market, 1 Jan. 1970, usslave.blogspot.com/2011/08/lafayette-park-slave-market.html. Accessed 24 Apr. 2017.

 

Blog post, “Lafayette Park Slave Market” written by author that goes by the user name Ron, illustrates the park/Square’s horrific past as a hotspot of the slave trade. Ron mentions the use of certain areas of the park as grave sites for the slaves, these same sites that stare at the White House today. The blog post includes a photograph of the view of the White House from the area used centuries ago as a grave for numerous slaves. This photograph chosen by Ron is incredibly impactful and important to his message. By including not only words to describe the proximity of slavery to our nation’s core, but photographic evidence as well, Ron sheds real light on the horrendous events of our nation’s past. Ron does this while unveiling even more so the government’s perpetration of these acts both physically and lawfully.

I will be able to use this blog post by Ron to illustrate the type of American history and values that are inadvertently preserved in the Square in the attempts to limit the influence of foreign influence. I plan on illustrating the dark side of the history that is represented through the monuments of the square, and how this dark history is so well preserved due to the fact that it physically stands at the core and peripheral of the park. With the slave graves located in the outskirts of the park and Andrew Jackson on horseback located directly in the center, this article will help me prove yet another layered dimension in the park.

 

Annotated Bibliography 5 & 6

This article posted to the Washington Post in January of 1990, follows the national broadcast in which President George W. bush held up a bag of crack cocaine in the oval Office. The president did this in a bid to reach the public and explain the epidemic that was crack cocaine in Washington DC. The sample of the drug  was purchased by undercover officers just across the street from the White House in Lafayette Park. The article, “Subject of Lafayette Square Crack sale Guilty in Other Cases” written by Tracy Thompson made headlines due to its connection to the president of the United States. The article details the legal proceedings of the drug dealer who sold crack to the undercover officer. The article’s main points of interest are the fact that the dealer in question sold drugs that would appear on a presidential broadcast, as well as the fact that the perpetrator was only 19 at the time. The author also focuses on the familias impact of the dealer, Keith Jackson’s, dealing.

Tracy Thompson focuses less on the legal proceedings of the case and more on the impact of both the accused, as well as the unique circumstances of the accused. The use of the authors emphasis on his age and the fact that Jackson was still a senior in high school while contributing the a lethal drug epidemic is incredible important. In my writing, I can use this in order to dissect the systematic drug cycle in American, specifically in a large city like Washington DC only a few decades ago.

 

Thompson, Tracy. “SUBJECT OF LAFAYETTE SQUARE CRACK SALE GUILTY IN OTHER

CASES.” The Washington Post, 1990, pp. 1–1.

 

The article posted to the GW Hatchet, written by Meredith Roatan caled, Thousands Storm Lafayette Square to Oppose Immigration Order, explains the events of January, 2017 in Lafayette Square. Roatan reports that nearly 2,000 passionate protesters stormed the square in response to President Donald Trump’s impending immigration law, which would disallow for the citizens of several, primarily Muslim countries, from entering the United States legally. Roatan reports that many of the protesters who rallied at Lafayette Square came to the sport from all over the country. The significance of the area in relation to the White House and central mode of power, drew the crowd together in this area. Roatan goes on explain in more detail the international effects of the President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban

Roatan’s article regarding this singular protest in Lafayette Square gives me an idea of the democratic scene in the square on a larger level. This information will be useful to me while writing my essay as I will be able to relate the larger scene/rhetoric of the square with a singular, specific event. The international tone to the protest is also helpful to me, as I am heavily focusing on the well contained international rhetoric in the area. The fact that American’s have protested for the right of both American’s as well as citizens of other countries in the square adds to my paradoxical claim that the square is a layered, domestic and international scene.

 

Newsroom Blog By Meredith Roaten Jan 29, 2017 7:27 PM, Meredith Roaten, et al. “Thousands

Storm Lafayette Square to Oppose Immigration Order.” The GW Hatchet, Hatchet

Publications, 29 Jan. 2017. Accessed 10 Apr. 2017.

 

Annotated Bibliography Sources 3 & 4

 

The source, Why ‘Lafayette’? Exists as an explanation for the naming of a town in Oregon, called Lafayette, on the town’s official website. While the majority of this site revolves around the happenings and citizens of the town Lafayette, Oregon, the page of the sight that I found useful was the page detailing the reasons for the town’s name, and the importance of Lafayette as a historical figure. The page remembers Lafayette as a “Celebrity” of the 1800’s, having played a large part in the revolutionary war in America as well as several revolutions in France. The source notes his elevated status in the decades after the Revolutionary War time and time again, also listing various other landmarks, towns and cities across the country that share the same name as their little town, in honor of the soldier and revolutionary.

This larger body of work that this piece is attached to serves to differentiate this source from other sources I have collected thus far. The fact that this page belongs to a bigger body of work that is not dedicated to the man lafayette himself provides more external information regarding lafayette’s life to be incorporated into the piece. This covert difference will most likely be helpful in providing my essay and the readers of my work with a more well rounded image of who the lafayette was and what he did in his life. This source also informed me of other sights and landmarks that were named after the Frenchman. While I am not writing about or analyzing these other sites, understanding why they were named for him and their possible relevance to his life or achievements will be helpful in my writing.

 

“Why ‘Lafayette’?” New Lafayette.org, 13 Aug. 2010,

www.newlafayette.org/lafayette-history/why-lafayette/. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.

 

This source, found on usbiography.org, serves not only as a factual biography of Lafayette’s life, including his birthday, parents, the year he began his revolutionary career, but also delves into his personal life, and childhood. The piece especially notes the way in which Lafayette became exposed to the revolutionary happenings in the colonies of what would later be The United States of America. The piece takes a less factual approach on this, stating, “Lafayette’s real introduction to America came at a dinner on August 8, 1775, when the young Marquis came into contact with the Duke of Gloucester who spoke with sympathy of the struggle going on in the colonies. With thoughts of the “romantic” American cause” (The Marquis de Lafayette). Along with painting a more colorful picture of lafayette’s life than most other sources, this source also explains the accomplishments of Lafayette before and after his work on the Revolutionary War, as a French Revolutionary.

This source provides for me much of what I was lacking when it comes to the credibility of Lafayette and his resume before his time fighting for American freedom. By using information gathered from this source, I will be able to relay Lafayette’s political and revolutionary resume before he came to America to the reader. This source will also be useful as it focuses less on lafayette’s biography in regards to the American Revolutionary War, and takes a look at the Frenchman from birth until death in full.

 

“Biography of the Marquis De Lafayette.” Ushistory.org, Independence Hall Association,

www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/served/lafayette.html. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.