From a hodgepodge provincial city of brick buildings into an ordered array of white classical temples, Washington, D.C., was transformed by visionary planning and Herculean implementation in response to the political and artistic movements of the early twentieth century. The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts was created by Congress in 1910 to guide this transformation and has continued to advise on the capital city's design and other national symbols for a century. The impetus for this seven-member, presidentially appointed commission on design can be traced to the Senate Park Commission of 1901, whose grand plan focused on the Mall as the symbolic core of the capital-and the nation-proposing that it be a formal, public space framed by Neoclassical architecture to express the ideals of the American democracy. This book explores the role of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts in the design and architecture of Washington, as well as the city's memorials and commemorative sites that represent the nation. It examines the social and political contexts that fostered the commission's creation and the subsequent trends that have informed its decisions. As design philosophies and styles changed over the century, the commission also shifted its emphasis-from Beaux-Arts architecture and planning principles to the modernist pragmatism of mid-century, the urban redevelopment and historicist trends of the late twentieth century, and the contemporary era characterised by issues of security, sustainability, and information technology.