Two Epoch-Making Virginians and the Capital
Two Virginians were responsible for the classical architectural theme of the capital city, a republican trend continued by the mostly-Southern presidents who followed them. I early 1861, a sectional president from Illinois was inaugurated in an un-republican manner with troops in the streets and snipers dotting the rooftops of those classical buildings.
Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"
Two Epoch-Making Virginians and the Capital:
“Just as the offerings of European literature had contributed to shaping the mood of the Upper South, so also did the predominant romantic trend in architecture play a role. The romantically inspired Greek revival [style] achieved popularity throughout all America during the first half of the nineteenth century; but in Maryland and Virginia it evoked a particularly early enthusiasm.
A number of reasons accounted for this early vogue. Among them was the location of the city of Washington on the Maryland-Virginia border and the erection of the new Federal buildings there along the lines anticipating the classical revival. Two Virginians, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, directed the planning of the capital city. The parts they played and the resulting influence upon the Upper South have been indicated by Talbot Hamlin:
“The contribution to American architecture made by Thomas Jefferson, seconded by George Washington, in the plans for the new Federal capital, was epoch-making. L’Enfant, undoubtedly a protégé’ of the first President…, in the plan of Washington had created a magnificent formal framework for classical buildings. But in all probability the new Federal structures which were eventually built would have been much less purely classic if Jefferson had not been so constantly interested and eager in giving advice, counsel and inspiration.
To the problem of Washington architecture he brought all the knowledge he had gained through nearly twenty years of experimentation in his own house, Monticello, and all the inspiration of his years of residence in France, his admiration for the brilliance of French planning, and his almost worshipful veneration of the one important Roman ruin he had seen. But it was not only for his influence in the Federal capital that Jefferson was important. In domestic architecture as well, his influence produced a type of large mansion in Maryland and Virginia that undoubtedly made simpler the transition to the late Greek Revival.”
[Jefferson maintained a close association] with…[architect Benjamin H.] Latrobe, who brought so many of the ideas of English romantic architecture across the seas to his adopted land. The appointment of Latrobe as architect of the Capitol building in 1803 marked the triumph of the Greek Revival ideal.
The men chiefly responsible for the planning of the new national capitol, and for the designing of the buildings which would determine the trend of future construction, were, on the one hand, products of early French and English romantic thought and, on the other hand, were Virginians susceptible to many ideas characteristic of that thought.  George Washington, the contemporary symbol of Cincinnatus, found classic ideals congenial. Thomas Jefferson, conditioned by [Italian architect] Palladio, was a ready sponsor for them. From the new capital city, the vogue for the Greek revival spread over the Upper South.”
(Romanticism in the Old South , Rollin G. Osterweis, LSU Press, 1949, pp. 107-108)