Who are the faces on Mount Rushmore?

Mount Rushmore is a monumental sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills region of South Dakota. This renowned landmark features the faces of four U.S. Presidents, each chosen to represent significant events and developments in the history of the United States.

These Presidents are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Here’s an exploration of each of these figures and the reasons they were selected to be immortalized on this grand monument.

1. George Washington (1732-1799)

  • Term of Presidency: 1789-1797
  • Reason for Inclusion: George Washington is often considered the “Father of His Country” for his crucial role in founding the United States. He served as the first President of the United States and set many precedents for the national government and the presidency in particular, including the tradition of a peaceful transfer of power. Washington’s leadership during the American Revolutionary War was pivotal in achieving independence from Great Britain, and his vision helped lay the foundational principles of the new nation.

Image: George Washington

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2. Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

  • Term of Presidency: 1801-1809
  • Reason for Inclusion: Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, is celebrated for his primary authorship of the Declaration of Independence, a document that expressed the ideals of liberty and equality. His presidency is noted for the Louisiana Purchase, a massive territorial acquisition that doubled the size of the United States. Jefferson’s vision of a country expanding westward and his advocacy for democracy and enlightenment values solidified his place on Mount Rushmore.

Image: Thomas Jefferson

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3. Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)

  • Term of Presidency: 1901-1909
  • Reason for Inclusion: Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President, is remembered for his energetic personality, his range of interests, and his vast achievements including the Panama Canal and his role in negotiating the end of the Russo-Japanese War, which won him the Nobel Peace Prize. Roosevelt was a driving force for the Progressive movement, which sought to make the government more responsive to the people’s needs. His policies promoted conservation and emphasized the importance of a strong national identity, making him a figure of national revitalization.

Image: Theodore Roosevelt

4. Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

  • Term of Presidency: 1861-1865
  • Reason for Inclusion: Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President, led the nation through its most severe crisis: the Civil War. His leadership preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the economy. Lincoln’s profound speeches, including the Gettysburg Address, and his dedication to principles of nationalism and equal rights, established him as a symbol of liberty, equality, and unity.

Image: Abraham Lincoln

The Creation of Mount Rushmore

The concept of Mount Rushmore was originally conceived by historian Doane Robinson, who wanted to create a monument to promote tourism in South Dakota.

Sculptor Gutzon Borglum was commissioned to design the sculpture, and he chose the four presidents because he felt that each represented the most important events in the history of the United States.

Carving began in 1927 and was completed in 1941, without the intended grandeur Borglum had envisioned due to insufficient funding and the onset of World War II.

Mount Rushmore’s faces—George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln—were selected to express foundational moments in United States history, reflecting themes of birth, expansion, conservation, and preservation of the nation.

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Cultural and Historical Significance

Mount Rushmore has become a symbol of America, representing a historical narrative that highlights the birth, growth, development, and preservation of the country.

However, it is also a subject of controversy, particularly concerning the land it occupies. The Black Hills are sacred to the Lakota Sioux, and the land was taken from them in violation of the Treaty of Fort Laramie after gold was discovered. This aspect of the monument’s history is a significant point of contention and reflects broader debates about America’s past and the recognition of Native American rights.

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FAQs

These FAQs provide a good starting point for anyone looking to learn more about Mount Rushmore, its history, cultural significance, and visitor information.

Why were these four presidents chosen for Mount Rushmore?

These presidents were selected by the sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, to represent significant periods in American history: George Washington represents the founding of the United States, Thomas Jefferson the expansion, Theodore Roosevelt the development, and Abraham Lincoln the preservation of the nation.

Who created Mount Rushmore and how long did it take?

The sculpture was created by Gutzon Borglum and later by his son Lincoln Borglum, after Gutzon’s death. The project started in 1927 and was completed in 1941, taking about 14 years.

Is Mount Rushmore finished?

The original design by Gutzon Borglum was more extensive, including the presidents from head to waist, but it was never completed due to insufficient funding and Borglum’s death. The project was declared complete in its current form in 1941.

How big are the faces on Mount Rushmore?

Each president’s face on Mount Rushmore is about 60 feet (18 meters) tall.

What controversies are associated with Mount Rushmore?

Mount Rushmore is controversial, particularly among Native American groups. The Black Hills, where the monument is carved, are sacred to the Lakota Sioux, and the land was taken by the U.S. government in violation of the Treaty of Fort Laramie. This has led to ongoing disputes and calls for the return of the land.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is open year-round, though it may close during severe weather. Visitors can view the monument, learn about its history at the visitor center, walk the Presidential Trail for closer views, and attend evening lighting ceremonies during the summer months.

Does it cost anything to see Mount Rushmore?

There is no entrance fee for Mount Rushmore itself, but there is a fee for parking at the memorial.

What facilities are available at Mount Rushmore?

Facilities include a visitor center, a museum, the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center, a gift shop, and dining options. There are also educational programs about the monument’s history and significance.

What other attractions are nearby?

Nearby attractions include the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, the Black Hills National Forest, and the historic town of Deadwood.

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FACT CHECK: At worldhistoryedu.com, we strive for utmost accuracy and objectivity. But if you come across something that doesn’t look right, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

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