The United States Congress authorizes each state to place statues of two people in the Capitol. These statues form the National Statuary Hall Collection. Most statues are placed in the National Statuary Hall (former House of Representatives) with others in the Crypt, Hall of Columns and the Capital Visitors Center.
Revolutionary War soldiers and politicians figure prominently in the selections of the thirteen original colonies with half (13) of the selections. Ten of the thirteen states devote at least one statue to a Revolutionary War leader (Georgia, North and South Carolina do not) and three states devote both statues (Connecticut, New York and Maryland). In addition, two states subsequently admitted to the Union devote a statue to a Revolutionary War Leader (Tennessee and Vermont).
Key attributes of the selections include:
- Four Continental Army generals and 3 state militia officers
- Nine Members of the Continental Congress
- Four Signers of the Declaration of Independence
- Four served in the US Congress, three Governors and one President
- All are men
Interestingly, two of the leaders are thought by historians today to be traitors to the USA.
- Ethan Allen – Allen is best known for capturing the British Fort Ticonderoga in 1775. However, in the later stages of the war, Allen opened negotiations with the British to return Vermont to the British Empire in exchange for recognition of the Vermonter land claims. For a more complete description of Allen’s traitorous activities and motivations, see https://allthingsliberty.com/2013/11/ethan-allen-patriot-land-promoter-turncoat/
- Richard Stockton – A New Jersey political leader, Stockton signed the Declaration of Independence. However, the British in their 1777 invasion of New Jersey, captured Stockton. In exchange for his freedom, Stockton signed an oath to remain neutral and not further participate in the Revolution. For a more complete description of Stockton’s actions, see https://allthingsliberty.com/2016/07/was-richard-stockton-a-hero/
While there are many Confederate soldiers and politicians in the statuary collection, it is ironic that two of the fifteen Revolutionary era leaders participated in traitorous activities.
The following table provides information on the Revolutionary War Leaders with statues in the US Capitol.
|Leader||Military Service||Continental Congress||Declaration of Independence||US Congress||State|
|Jonathan Trumbull||CT Governor||CT|
|John Stark||Bgr. Gen.||NH|
|George Clinton||Militia Gen.||Yes||Governor||NY|
|John Muhlenberg||Bgr. Gen.||Yes||PA|
|Nathanael Greene||Maj. Gen.||RI|
|John Serier||Lt. Col. Militia||Yes, Governor||TN|
|Ethan Allen||Militia General||VT|
The US Capitol Visitors Center publishes a report on the Statuary Collection that provides overview information on the two statues selected by each state. It that can be accessed on-line at: https://www.visitthecapitol.gov/sites/default/files/documents/content/brochure/2759/guide-state-statuesen.pdf