Presidents’ Day is celebrated annually on the third Monday in February, the birth month of Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12) and George Washington (Feb. 22) This year, Presidents’ Day will be celebrated on February 17.
Mt. Rushmore contains the faces of four American presidents and is often referred to as the “Symbol of American Democracy.” The project, overseen by sculptor Gutson Borglum and carried out by more than 400 workers, began in October 1927 and was completed in 1941. Dynamite was used to remove 800 million pounds of granite from the mountain, much of it still laying at the base of the mountain. Each President’s head is as tall as a six story building.
Why These Four Presidents?
George Washington, considered the father of the United States of America, led the colonists in the American Revolutionary War to win independence from Great Britain and laid the foundation of American democracy the country’s first president. Because of his importance, Washington is the most prominent figure on Mt. Rushmore.
Thomas Jefferson was the author of the Declaration of Independence. As the nation’s third president, he also purchased the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803 which doubled the size of the country, adding all or part of fifteen present-day states.
Theodore Roosevelt was the country’s 26th president and provided leadership when America experienced rapid economic growth as it entered the 20th Century. He was instrumental in negotiating the construction of the Panama Canal and was known as the “trust buster” for his work to end large corporate monopolies and ensure the rights of the common working person.
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, held the nation together during its greatest trial, the Civil War. Lincoln believed his most sacred duty was the preservation of the Union. It was also his firm conviction that slavery be abolished.
Originally conceived to serve as a tourist attraction, there was much debate about whose images should be appear on Mt. Rushmore, prior to its construction. Even after Borglum decided he would sculpt the four aforementioned presidents on the mountain, speculation about including a fifth president existed, which leads to The Progress Review poll question:
Poll results will be published in the Feb. 12, 2014 edition of The Progress Review.