Lying in State of Congressman Elijah E. Cummings

The public is invited to pay their respects to Representative Elijah E. Cummings Thursday, October 24 from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m. Please enter through the Capitol Visitor Center.

On Thursday, October 24, the Capitol Visitor Center will be closed for normal operations, and all Capitol tours are cancelled.

On Wednesday, October 23, the second floor of the Capitol will be closed to the public. The Capitol Visitor Center will offer modified tours of the Capitol.

If you have a tour reservation and would like to reschedule, please click here or contact the Visitor Services Office at (202)226-8000.

On Friday, October 25, the Capitol Visitor Center will reopen for normal operations and Capitol tours at 8:30 a.m.

Instruments of Change

Decorative
Open through April 2013

In Congress, ideas and issues from across the nation are discussed, debated, and acted upon. Petitions, investigations, and Acts of Congress are all instruments of change that can affect the lives of citizens and the direction of the nation.

For more than two hundred years, the Capitol has been the place where representatives of the American people have debated how best to achieve the nation’s ideals. This exhibit displays some of our most important documents, drawn primarily from the collections of the Library of Congress and the National Archives, to illustrate the role of Congress in defining and helping to realize national goals and aspirations.

Unknown Object

The aspirations of unity, freedom, common defense, general welfare, knowledge, and exploration all derive from the Constitution. The Preamble declares that the highest goals of the government are “to form a more perfect Union,” and to provide for “common defense,” “general Welfare,” and the “Blessings of Liberty.” Article I gives Congress the power to promote “Science and useful Arts,” which has resulted in congressional support of knowledge and exploration. The meaning of liberty is further defined in the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, which guarantee specific freedoms.