Located in Scott Circle, the Daniel Webster Memorial honors the multi-faceted legacy of the famous statesman. A practicing lawyer, orator, senator and congressman of New Hampshire, Webster’s memorial is one of a few in DC that honors a statesman. Donated by Stilson Hutchins, the founder of the Washington Post, the bronze statue rests on a granite pedestal designed in a Neoclassical style by Italian sculptor Gaetano Trentanove.
Dedicated in 1900 for Webster’s 118th birthday, the memorial’s pedestal features some key moments in his career, but does not capture all of the important events Webster took part in in his life. Born in New Hampshire, Webster became one of the nation’s leading lawyers, taking part in three foundational U.S. Supreme Court cases while in practice. In both McCulloch v. Maryland and Gibbons v. Ogden, Webster successfully argued the cases that established federal and state governments’ powers. In Dartmouth v. Woodward, Webster’s win created precedent for contract clauses applying to both public and private institutions. In addition to his legal career, Webster’s oratory skills added to his fame; the Hayne-Webster Debates of 1830 and his speech at the Bunker Hill Monument attest to his skills in the reliefs featured on the pedestal of the memorial.
The memorial stands as a tribute to Webster’s legacy and impact on the early history of the United States, as well as the artistic style of a Neoclassical sculpture completed during this time. While it does not speak to every accomplishment of Webster’s, it does call attention to his influence, as well as the broader importance of this time period.
DC Inventory: February 22, 2007
National Register: October 12, 2007