Gutzon borglum selected these four presidents because from his perspective, they represented the most important events in the history of the united states. Would another artist at that time, or perhaps a modern artist choose differently?
How Were the Presidents on Mt Rushmore Chosen?
The four presidents immortalized on Mount Rushmore—George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln—were selected for the mountain’s grandiose memorial based on their major and lasting contributions to the United States.
Mount Rushmore was the brainchild of South Dakota historian Doane Robinson, who sought to create a tourist attraction for the state. He suggested the idea of a sculpture of four presidents in 1924, but it was not until 1927 that sculptor Gutzon Borglum received approval from the state to start the project.
Borglum was looking for four presidents who had made a lasting impact on the United States. He chose Washington, America’s first president, as the ideal leader to represent the nation’s birth and growth as an independent nation. He also believed that Jefferson, the third president, was the ideal choice to represent the spirit of democracy and the Louisiana Purchase.
Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president, was chosen for the mountain due to his leadership in the development of the Panama Canal, the conservation of vast areas of public lands, and the regulation of monopolies. Finally, Lincoln was chosen to represent the preservation of the Union during the Civil War.