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Faces of Mt. Rushmore, Essay Example

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Essay

Located in South Dakota, in the Black Hills is the famous sculpture carved, Mount Rushmore that depicts the famous faces of Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln. Created over 60 years ago, by over 400 workers, and a period of 15 years carved the four famous presidents.  Mount Rushmore has without a doubt served as an iconic symbol or shrine of democracy, and a monument to four men who helped to revolutionize and shaped United States. Each president played a significant part in shaping the democracy, and memorializes the birth, progression, and preservation of the United States.  However, in the present time, the nations has provided formative and innovative figures that have helped to continue to move the United States forward to is liberal thought that has provided equality for individuals.  This essays provides suggestions for four new faces to be carved into Mount Rushmore, and why these individuals would make suitable additions for future generations.

First thought of in 1923 by, South Dakota historian, Doane Robinson, he had the ideal of wanting to attract more tourists to South Dakota. The ideal was for the Black Hills to be used as a platform display of United States western heroes like, Buffalo Bill Cody, Lewis and Clark, and Red Cloud, a Sioux Indian Chief as a potential subject. However, when Robinson met up with American sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, he suggested the presidents because they would attract more national interests. Originally just Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, he later added Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson for, “recognition of their contributions to the birth of democracy and the growth of the United States.” (History, n.d)  Robinson received much support. With the help of President Coolidge, John Boland, Senator Peter Norbeck, and Congressman William Williamson, he was able to get the laws passed so that work could begin in then known, Harney National Forest Preserve, (Black Hills National Forest).  (Kelly, 2014)  The Congressmen lobbied for support, and they agreed to provide over $250,000 in funding for the project, as part of the National Park Service. The first head to be carved was George Washington, next Thomas Jefferson which took two years, and then Presidents Roosevelt and Lincoln were eventually added. In total, it cost almost one million to build and 14 years to complete Mount Rushmore. (Kelly, 2014) The carving of the heads were done with pneumatic hammers and dynamite to blast through the rock quickly. Traditional tools such as chisels and grills, and the removal over 400,000 tons of rock. Even with the long work and dangerous conditions no lives were lost in the completion of the project. After the completion of the progress, the memorial site was dedicated and listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The site attracts over three million tourists annually and appeared throughout popular works of fiction and media.

The popularity and the symbolic nature of monument depicting some of the most innovative leaders has led many to picture new faces carved into Mount Rushmore. Each president was chosen for different reasons that represent the first 150 years of the nation’s defining history, were Washington defines the struggle for independence,  Jefferson shows democracy, Roosevelt is important for his role in world affairs, and Lincoln for his progression towards peace and equality in all states. One of the first names to be included, include Franklin Roosevelt. Roosevelt served the longest term as president, and although he was stricken with polio and wheelchair bound, he was able to preside over one of the greatest depressions in the United States history. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “brought hope as he promised prompt, vigorous action, and asserted in his Inaugural Address, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” (White House, 2014) He helped guide America through the Great Depression and restore faith back into Americans.

Stricken with polio at the age of 39, he fought to overcome his struggles to regain the use of legs. This is where he found the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, now known as March of Dimes, and the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation for treatment of polio patients.  In 1932, he was elected president and served four terms. When the Great Depression hit there were over 13 million people  unemployed, banks and major financial institutions were close, people were forced out of their homes, and left to live in shanty towns. Within the first 100 days, he was able to enact several programs that helped to bring business and agriculture recovery. More importantly he created programs that provided relief to the unemployed, farmers, home owners, and reform.  He established the Tennessee Valley Authority, Social Security, levied heavy taxes against the rich, and provided new controls over public utilities and banks. The New Deal programs created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) through the Glass-Steagall Act, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. (White House, 2014) Roosevelt created the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that was made to regulate Wall Street, and find recovery in the Great Depression. He had his hand in repealing Prohibition, which the Cullen-Harrison Acct was made into the 21stAmendment. Reelected in his second term, he helped to create constitutional change, in which the federal government was able to regulate the economy, and created the Good Neighbor Policy, changing the Monroe Doctrine. When the Japanese attacked in World War II, he redirected funding and resources to deploy troops, and introduced, payroll, withholding taxes, and federal income taxes to fund the war. His position in foreign relations to restore international peace was his seen throughout his term as he wanted to end European colonialism. Roosevelt passed the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that created minimum wage, and declared war after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and he gave his famous “Infamy Speech” and formed the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  In his last election, he would campaign strongly for United Nations in order to ensure America’s participation in the international community.  He led the country in the defeat of Nazi Germany, and close to defeating Japan when he died. The reason why President Franklin Roosevelt should be one of the first faces added to Mount Rushmore was due to his rapid expansion in the government programs that are still in existent, he helped to redefine the roles of the federal government, and was an advocate for social programs that have helped in present generations. More importantly he position the United States as one of the superpowers in the world stage for his military strategy, and financing of World War II. While he already has two memorials in Washington, D.C dedicated to him, he should be immortalized on Mount Rushmore for future generations.

The next face that should be added to Mount Rushmore includes a non-president, Mohandas Gandhi. Mohandas Gandhi was a revolutionary figured that inspired great leaders including Martin Luther King Jr and others. Although he was not an American, he along with the Presidents were essentially cut from the same cloth. Gandhi helped to liberate an entire nation from colonial and racial oppression, and advocated for truth and nonviolence. Gandhi was a dominate figure in Indian politics, and transformed the Indian National Congress. (BBC, 2013) His use of non-violence and peaceful cooperation gained an enormous following that helped to boycott British institutions and Goods. He sought to improve the relationships between Hindus and Muslims and demonstrated civil disobedience to the British, which led thousands in the “March to the Sea.” (BBC, 2013) Due to Gandhi’s influence in inspiring the rest of the country, Britain was forced to grant India their independence.  Subsequently, Gandhi is referred to as the Father of the Nation in India, are tactics, beliefs, and influence positioned as a moniker for peace and nonviolence spread internationally. He believed in the emancipation of women, opposed child marriage, the oppression of widows, and compassion for all life forms.  His legacy has remained all over the world, with his teachings and influenced felt by President Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and several other notable figures.  Gandhi is a revolutionary figured throughout history, which should be immortalized next to figures that invoked the same feelings of liberalism, movements for freedom, and a fight for independence.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most famous civil rights activists in United States history. During his lifetime, he was awarded over 50 honorary degrees from universities around the world, and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. (BBC, 2013)His leadership helped to give African Americans equal rights, and more importantly became an advocate for minorities, and humanity.  As a pastor in Alabama he joined with the NAACP in leading one of the first nonviolent demonstrations in the bus boycott, and other demonstrations that attracted notable national attention in the media. More critically media documented the violent brutal response to his nonviolent civil disobedience movements.  The March on Washington is one of his greatest attributes in which delivered the famous, “I Have A Dream” speech, where he established his position as one of the greatest orators in American history. His position was so influential he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his contributions to combating racial inequality with nonviolence, and helped to influence the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (BBC, 2013) He mobilized marches from Selma to Montgomery, and Chicago. Not only did he work for the equal civil rights of African Americans, but other minorities as well. He encompasses the issues of poverty, and other pertinent issues. His teachings, speeches, and influence in motivating movements and marches helped gain national attention on the rights of African Americans to vote, labor rights, desegregation, and basic civil rights.  After his assassination, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which prohibited discrimination in housing based on race, national origin, and creed, in a tribute to his campaign against residential discrimination. (BBC, 2013) Dr. Martin Luther King has built an everlasting legacy in which he has become an international icon, and an icon on American progressivism. Established in 1986, and through a proclamation by President George Bush Sr. in 1992, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a national holiday. During lifetime and after his death he has received several awards and recognition for his work for all of humanity in the advancements of social justice. His importance is still felt today, as he was considered the second most widely admired people of the 20th century. (Gallop, 2000) He won Time’s Person of the Year in 1963, and 37 years later voted sixth, as the Person of the Century by Time as well. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr is admired all over the world, and it would only serve him right if his likeness was added to the faces on Mount Rushmore.

The last face, which was particularly hard to choose from since there are so many notable figures is different from politics, is Albert Einstein. While he was not active in legislating change in the world of politics, Einstein is a notable figure and considered Time’s Person of the Century. (Harpaz, 1999)  Einstein was an extremely intelligent men that unlock the enigma of the universe, and challenge people’s perception of the unknown. He was a theoretical physicist the developed on of the two pillars of modern physics with his general theory of relativity. Alongside many other prominent individuals, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect, crucial in establishing quantum theory. (BBC, 2013) He developed the famous equation “E=mc2” that excited the science world. His worked was seen a significant and trailblazing in understanding how things worked in the universe. He was influential in the development of the Atom bomb, and the Manhattan Project, that alerted the United States about potential powerful bombs that Germany had.  He joined in correspondence with other notable figures that argued for race equality including being a member of the NAACP, which he helped in campaigning for the civil rights of African Americans while at Princeton. He was offered the presidency of Israel but declined. Throughout his lifetime, he published several works and books in regards to the Brownian motion, Bose-Einstein statistics, and others which help paved the way for the radical rethinking of space, time, and matter. He has become an influential figure in numerous subjects including music, film, novels, and other outlets. He was one of the greatest minds in not only American history, but world history. His works in physics helped to trail blaze new critical thinking, and his works helped to end the war in Japan during World War II. He is deserving to be a part of other critical thinkers, and trailblazers of the United States.

Mount Rushmore will continue to be a tourist attraction, which encompasses the birth of progressive nation that continues to change. While at the time, the artist was working with the figures that had made a considerable impact. It is now the chance to provide a new perspective, and new faces. There are several notable figures throughout history that are deserving of recognition beyond their place in history. Franklin D. Roosevelt was considered one of the greatest presidents in the 20th century, and for good reason as his legislation helped to pass several laws for social change. More importantly he guided America through war and depression. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is an icon of social change and justice for humanity, it goes without saying how great his impact is still having. Albert Einstein while different than the rest, has provided considerable attributes to the progression of American thought, and expanding our thinking of the universe. Mohandas Gandhi is a moniker of peace and resistance and will continue to have a legacy that where people can solve problems through peace.

References

“Albert Einstein”. BBC. (2013). http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/einstein_albert.shtml

“Franklin D. Roosevelt. “White House. (2014). http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/franklindroosevelt

Gallup, George; Gallup, Jr., Alec. “The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1999.” Rowman & Littlefield. p. 249. (2000).

Harpaz, Beth J. “Time Names Einstein as Person of the Century”. Highbeam Research. (1999). http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-24394267.html

Kelly, Marin. “Facts about Mount Rushmore. About. (2014). http://americanhistory.about.com/od/monuments/a/mount-rushmore.htm

“Martin Luther King Jr”. BBC. (2013). http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/people/martin_luther_king.shtml

“Mohandas Gandhi.” BBC.  (2013). http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/gandhi_mohandas.shtml

“Mount Rushmore.” History. (n.d). http://www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/mount-rushmore

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