|About the Book|
*Includes pictures*Profiles the architects who built the Memorial and the controversies surrounding it*Includes a bibliography for further reading*Includes a table of contentsPeople have always loved symbols and monuments, and monumentalMore*Includes pictures*Profiles the architects who built the Memorial and the controversies surrounding it*Includes a bibliography for further reading*Includes a table of contentsPeople have always loved symbols and monuments, and monumental architecture has always been as much symbolic as functional. The pyramids of ancient Egypt were artificial mountains expressing the link of the pharaoh to the gods, and mountains have always been associated with the divine in the human imagination. The Colossus of Rhodes, the Roman Senate House and Temple of Capitoline Jove, the Grand Teocalli and Tzompantli or skull-rack of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, the Forbidden City of Peking, the Parisian Arc de Triomphe de lEtoile and the Brandenburg Gate of Berlin, all provide or provided material focuses for national ideals, beliefs, and culture.The story of the United States of America is one of a nation founded upon the loftiest ideals of representative government, attempting to fulfill its goals while encountering competing domestic and global forces. From the beginning, Americans debated how their national government should govern, balancing powers between the federal government and the states, which led to the establishment of the first political parties. At the same time, the nation has struggled to reconcile its guarantee of universal rights and individual liberties with several stark realities, including the presence of millions of slaves at the time of the Declaration of Independence.Nobody spent more time in the thick of these debates than Thomas Jefferson, one of the most famous and revered Americans. Jefferson was instrumental in all of the aforementioned debates, authoring the Declaration of Independence, laying out the ideological groundwork of the notion of states’ rights, leading one of the first political parties, and overseeing the expansion of the United States during his presidency. But for all of his accomplishments, Jefferson’s reputation and legacy are still inextricably intertwined with the divisive issues of his own day. As the slaveholder who wrote that all men are created equal, and his relationship with one of his slaves, Sally Hemings, Jefferson’s life and career are still sometimes fiercely debated today.As a result, it’s only fitting that the Jefferson Memorial would also be majestic and controversial. A tranquilly elegant neoclassical building fronted by slender pillars and topped by a gently domed roof, the Jefferson Memorial stands among other American monuments near the shores of the Tidal Basin in Washington D.C. Housing a five-ton, nineteen foot tall statue of Thomas Jefferson, the building looks as though it could be as long-established as the White House itself, but it is actually much newer. Facing opposition on several fronts when it was first proposed, including outcries from those who objected to its neoclassical style and others who lamented the clearing of flowering cherry trees necessary to make room for the edifice, the Memorial was finished and dedicated in 1943, at the height of World War II.Among the countless number of visitors who come to the Jefferson Memorial annually, few know of the checkered and troubled process of its planning and construction. Everything from lofty scholarly debate on the symbolic meaning of its architectural style to protestors preparing to chain themselves to cherry trees to block their felling swirled around the Memorial when it was no more than a set of blueprints and the first stone had yet to be laid. Generations removed from its origins, the Jefferson Memorial is now mostly viewed not only as a fixture of the nation’s capital but a fitting tribute to the author of the Declaration of Independence.The Jefferson Memorial: The History of Washington D.C.