Massachusetts State House

Boston
MA

Portrait by Artist to Come

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Built in 1798, on a cow pasture once owned by John Hancock, this state seat of government replaced the Old State House. It is a magnificent Federalist structure, designed by Charles Bullfinch, with a distinctive golden dome, which was originally wood, then copper — provided by Paul Revere. It was covered with 23 karat gold leaf for the first time in 1874.

The daily business of governing Massachusetts, by the governor, senators, and representatives, continues at the State House today. Tours are available.

Part of the Freedom Trail™.

Associated People

At the end of March [1783] Franklin applied to [French Foreign Secretary] Vergennes for permission to publish a complete translation of the United States constitutions in French, the only language in which they could be widely read. He was eager to correct Europe’s misapprehensions about the new nation; he knew as well that he was offering up an advertisement for American trade and immigration.... Copies went out over the summer to the entire diplomatic corps and, in extravagantly bound editions, to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. The most influential of Franklin’s European publications the constitutions were universally well received.

Stacy Schiff
A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America (2005)