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Free History For Your Report
THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL
The Lincoln Memorial, located in Washington, D.C. as part of the National Mall, is a memorial designed to pay tribute to the life and accomplishments of Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln served as the 16th President of The United States of America, and was responsible for uniting America during a very difficult time. America was still a very young nation in President Abraham’s day, and the people that helped to form the country were pulling away from each other, with both sides having their own opinions of how the country should be run. President Lincoln was charged with the large task of uniting the two sides, restoring unity to The United States.
When President Lincoln was campaigning for office, many local government officials in the southern states were pro-slavery. President Lincoln made it clear that he was for the abolishment of slavery, and wanted to set all Americans free, regardless of race, income, or social class. Many of the southern states were pro slavery because they owned large plantations, and would grow wealthy selling their crops while the slaves did all of the real work. They were concerned that this lifestyle would end with the election of Lincoln, and had announced that they would leave the Union (The United States) if he was put into office. Fortunately, Abraham Lincoln was elected to the Presidency.
Shortly after his election, many southern states, beginning with South Carolina in December of 1860, left the Union. These southern states formed a united Confederacy, and were in direct conflict to the pro-abolishment agenda of President Lincoln and the rest of the states, known as the Union. Now the Confederacy and the Union were engaged in Civil War, beginning when the first shots in anger were fired at South Carolina’s Fort Sumter. The Civil War lasted nearly three years, and President Lincoln was in charge of bringing the country through this terrible time of hatred and bloodshed. In 1863, wishing to end the killing that he hated so much, President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation ordered the freeing of every slave in the Confederate States. To conclude this war and bring the
country together, he visited the battlefield of Gettysburg and gave the famous Gettysburg Address. This speech is now the reason that the historic Pennsylvania battlefield became a military cemetery.
To honor this time of conflict, and eventual, unity, two Congressmen who were personal friends of Lincoln helped to pass a bill (signed by President Taft) to create the Lincoln Memorial. This not only honored the man, but also paid tribute to the life of the first assassinated U.S. President. The Lincoln Memorial was dedicated on May 30, 1922, at a cost of more than $3 million, and eight years of construction. The design of the memorial is reminiscent of the ancient Greek temples, and there are thirty-six Greek-style columns, representing the number of states at the time of Lincoln’s death, and each at a height of forty-four feet. The centerpiece of the memorial temple is, of course, a 19-foot statue of a noble President Lincoln seated in a chair. This statue was carved out of solid white Georgia marble, with the sculpting itself taking more than four years to complete. The giant statue faces a reflecting pool in the center of the National Mall. The other two side panels have Lincoln’s speeches inscribed on the walls – The Gettysburg Address and Lincoln’s second inaugural speech.
Since its public opening, The Lincoln Memorial’s steps and reflecting pool have become a famous place for generations of Americans to speak out about social injustices and dividing issues. One of the most famous of these speeches occurred in 1963, when Martin Luther King issued his “I Have A Dream” speech from the Memorial steps. Today The Lincoln Memorial is cared for by The National Park Service, and is one of several free memorials and monuments that can be visited in Washington, D.C.