Why Is Teddy Roosevelt on Mt. Rushmore?

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As stated by the National Park Service, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt was chosen as one of four American Presidents enshrined on Mount Rushmore because he “provided leadership when America experienced rapid economic growth as it entered the 20th Century.” Roosevelt helped build the Panama Canal, launched the Great White fleet on a world tour of naval power and stood up for the rights of working class individuals.

Mount Rushmore is located in South Dakota and is named after New York lawyer Charles E. Rushmore. Gutzon Borglum sculpted four presidents into the southeastern face of the mountain over a period of 14 years between October 1927 to October 1941. Likenesses of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt were carved into rock.

Roosevelt’s face was the last to be completed and was dedicated in July 1939. The 26th president of the United States rose to the office at the age of 42, the youngest chief executive in history, after the assassination of William McKinley in 1901. Roosevelt owned a ranch in South Dakota and helped establish a national park system of public lands.

Mount Rushmore hosts more than 2 million visitors annually. Despite dangerous working conditions due to dynamite blasting, not even one of the 400 workers lost his life on the project. Each head is 60 feet tall. Roosevelt’s unique stone face depicts his wire-rimmed glasses and mustache.