The Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial is a national monument in the United States of America built to honor the Late Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the country (Lincoln Memorial National Memorial Washington). The building is located in the western end of the National Mall in Washington D.C., and its design is a product of Henry Bacon who borrowed it from the Ancient Greek temples. According to the Lincoln Memorial National Memorial Washington, the reason behind the commemoration of Lincoln is his belief in dignity, freedom, and love for the Union as well as the efforts to quell the secession of the southern states during the Civil War era. After the assassination of  Lincoln in 1865, many Americans called for a national commemoration (Lego Group 4), and this project came at the cost of $ 2,957,000 despite strong criticism (Lego Group 9). This research seeks to examine the monument with a focus on its history, exterior and interior design, and the people behind the construction.

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History of the Monument

There were numerous attempts to honor Lincoln, but the official efforts began in 1867 when the Congress composed the Lincoln Monument Association (Lincoln Memorial National Memorial Washington). However, the initial work began in 1911 after the formation of the Lincoln Memorial Commission and the selection of the site and design of the construction. According to the Lincoln Memorial National Memorial Washington, the actual construction began in 1914 and ended in 1922 when William Howard Taft, the president of the commission, handed over the complete project to the then U.S. President Warren G. in the presence of Lincoln's only surviving son Robert Todd. Since then, the park hosts millions of people on various occasions such as school and family trips, the commemoration of Lincoln as well as advocacy initiatives. In 1939, Marian, a Black American musician, performed her songs to a vast audience after the authorities had barred her from singing in the Constitutional Hall due to her race (Lincoln Memorial National Memorial Washington). In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr. addressed 200,000 people during his advocacy for racial equality (Lincoln Memorial National Memorial Washington). Since then, the place hosts 6 million visitors yearly, and it remains open 24 hours a day except on Christmas. The site, thus, is an area of significance in the United States.

The Structure of the Building

The Exterior

The monument is a large building whose design fascinates people. It occupies an area of 27,336 square feet (Lego Group 9). It has a height of 100 feet, a length of 190 feet, and a width of 119 feet (Lincoln Memorial National Memorial Washington), with the construction materials being lime stones, granite, and marble. There are 98 stairs, built of marble and granite, leading towards the entrance and taking the visitors to the statue of Lincoln inside the house. Thirty-six columns surround the structure, signifying the thirty-six states that formed the Union during the Civil War era. The beams also divide the structure into three chambers (Lincoln Memorial National Memorial Washington). The above facts depict the monument as a complex structure.

The Interior

 According to Lincoln Memorial National Memorial Washington, the south and the north chambers have curved writing of Lincoln’s second inauguration speech and his Gettysburg address. There are also two large wall drawings made on the canvas above these inscriptions. The murals depict Lincoln's principles of liberty, freedom, justice, unity, charity, fraternity, and the law. In between the two chambers, lies the grand central hall that houses the Lincoln sculpture, measuring 19 feet in height and 19 feet in width. It portrays Lincoln in a seated position with disturbed thoughts, what is marked by one relaxed hand and the other one clenched. The statute weighs 175 metric tons (Lincoln Memorial). The interior, therefore, makes the Lincoln Memorial a spectacular place.

The Personalities behind the Construction

Many people participated in the building of the monument in one way or another, but the most notable figures are the three men who respectively created the design, the carving as well as the painting. These people, therefore, acted as the representatives of the other workers in the construction.

Henry Bacon (1866-1924)

Henry was an architect who resided in New York City but had explored Europe and liked Greek architecture. He borrowed the Lincoln Memorial design from the Athenian Temple, the  Parthenon (Lego Group 6). He sought the building materials from many states to signify the unification of a country  torn by the Civil War. Among the states from which he drew the materials are Massachusetts, Colorado, Tennessee, Alabama, and Indiana. The work earned him a gold medal from the American Institute of Architecture (Lego Group 6). His work, therefore, won the admiration of many people.

Daniel Chester French (1850-1931)

According to Lego Group (Pg. 6), Daniel was a famous American sculptor, and the Lincoln statue is the most brilliant work he did. He carved the 19 feet-tall piece on 28 distinct blocks of white marble procured from Georgia, and the work took him four years (Lego Group 6), what proves his hard work and makes him a hero.

Jules Guerin (1866-1946)

Guerin was born in Missouri and studied art in Europe as well as Chicago. Bacon contracted him to execute the decoration works in the monument. He thus decorated the interior of the building with two drawings on two pieces of canvas, each measuring 60 feet by 12 feet and signifying unity and emancipation (Lego Group 7). His murals have impressed many people and made him a celebrity.


Conclusively, the Lincoln Memorial, erected in Washington D.C.  is a national monument in commemoration of Abraham Lincoln. The construction of the structure took place from 1914 to 1922 and was performed by Henry Bacon, the architect, Daniel Chester, the sculptor, and Jules Guerin, the painter. Since then it has been a famous site of liberty and equality where a Black-American singer performed after being barred from singing in the Constitutional Hall due to her race and Dr. Luther King Jnr. addressed 200,000 people in a struggle for racial equality. The structure occupies 27,336 square feet and has 36 beams to symbolize the 36 states that formed the Union. In the interior, it has three chambers, with the central one bearing the sculpture of Lincoln and the other two containing his written speeches. Presently, the site receives 6 million people every year. In sum, the Lincoln Monument is a place everyone is eager to visit attracted by its rich history and beauty.

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