From East to West, which presidents are carved into Mount Rushmore?

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By Kristy Tolley

The Iconic Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore is a monumental sculpture located in the Black Hills region of South Dakota, in the United States. It was carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore by sculptor Gutzon Borglum and his team of workers between 1927 and 1941. The sculpture depicts the faces of four of America’s most iconic presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

George Washington: The Father of the Nation

George Washington was the first president of the United States and is widely regarded as the country’s founding father. He led the Continental Army to victory against the British during the American Revolutionary War and later served as the nation’s first president from 1789 to 1797. Washington is depicted on Mount Rushmore as a symbol of the nation’s independence and its commitment to democracy.

Thomas Jefferson: The Founding Father

Thomas Jefferson was one of the primary authors of the Declaration of Independence and played a significant role in shaping the early years of the United States. He served as the country’s third president from 1801 to 1809 and is remembered for his advocacy of individual liberty and religious freedom. On Mount Rushmore, Jefferson is shown as a champion of American democracy and a defender of human rights.

Theodore Roosevelt: The Naturalist President

Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th president of the United States and is known for his conservation efforts and advocacy for the environment. He played a key role in the creation of national parks and forests and was a vocal advocate for wildlife conservation. Roosevelt is depicted on Mount Rushmore as a symbol of America’s natural beauty and its commitment to environmental protection.

Abraham Lincoln: The Great Emancipator

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States and is remembered as the Great Emancipator for his role in ending slavery in America. He led the country through the Civil War and is widely regarded as one of the greatest presidents in American history. On Mount Rushmore, Lincoln is shown as a symbol of the country’s perseverance and its commitment to equality and justice for all.

The Selection Process of the Mount Rushmore Presidents

The selection process for the presidents depicted on Mount Rushmore was a complicated one. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum was originally commissioned to create a sculpture of the Lakota leader Red Cloud, but ultimately decided to depict four American presidents instead. The final selection of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln was based on their contributions to American history and their enduring legacies as leaders of the country.

The Eastern Origins of the Mount Rushmore Presidents

All of the presidents depicted on Mount Rushmore were born on the eastern side of the United States. Washington was born in Virginia, Jefferson in Virginia as well, Roosevelt in New York, and Lincoln in Kentucky. This reflects the eastern origins of the country’s early leaders and their influence on American history and culture.

The Western Influence on Mount Rushmore Presidents

Despite their eastern origins, the presidents depicted on Mount Rushmore were all closely associated with the American West. Washington led troops in the French and Indian War in the Ohio River Valley, Jefferson played a key role in the Louisiana Purchase, Roosevelt was known for his love of the western wilderness, and Lincoln signed the Homestead Act, which encouraged western settlement.

Controversies Surrounding Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore has been the subject of controversy in recent years due to its location on land considered sacred by the Lakota Sioux. Many Native American activists argue that the monument should be removed or altered to reflect a more accurate and inclusive history of the United States.

The Impact of Mount Rushmore on American Culture

Mount Rushmore has become a symbol of American patriotism and national identity. It is a popular tourist destination, drawing millions of visitors each year. The monument has also been featured in movies, television shows, and other cultural works, cementing its place in American popular culture.

Conclusion: The Enduring Legacy of Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore remains one of the most iconic symbols of American history and culture. Its depiction of four of America’s most revered presidents reflects the country’s ongoing commitment to democracy, freedom, and equality. While its controversies remind us that the story of America is complex and multifaceted, Mount Rushmore remains a powerful symbol of the country’s enduring legacy.

References and Further Readings

  • National Park Service. (n.d.). Mount Rushmore National Memorial. https://www.nps.gov/moru/index.htm
  • Smithsonian Magazine. (2016). “The True Story of Mount Rushmore.” https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/true-story-mount-rushmore-180960760/
  • The New Yorker. (2020). “Mount Rushmore and the Decline of American Democracy.”
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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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