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Building AmericaThe Life of Benjamin Henry Latrobe$
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Jean H. Baker

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190696450

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190696450.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Building America

Jean H. Baker

Oxford University Press

This introduction presents Benjamin Latrobe as a rebel who left the Moravian Church and remade himself as an architect and engineer in the United States. It emphasizes his rapid ascension as an architect and engineer in the new republic as well as his very American penchant for speculation. The themes in this short introduction are his constant moving, his chronic debt, and his commitment to buildings that expressed American exceptionalism and connected the United States to the admired republics of ancient Greece and Rome. The introduction also previews the themes of the book: his life spent in motion, his chronic debilitating headaches along with his optimism and resilience, and his family as a sanctuary. It establishes the six cities he lived in as important background for his struggles and discusses the monumental National Endowment for the Humanities project that published his letters and drawings.

Keywords:   Benjamin Henry Latrobe, emigration, journeys in the United States, challenges, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

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