Mount Rushmore Symbolism

As we celebrate Independence Day, I was  thinking about the Midwest attraction that best symbolizes America. Mount Rushmore represents four presidents who were instrumental in our nation’s development, preservation, growth, and development.

What does Mount Rushmore Symbolize?

The heads of four United States presidents carved into the side of a mountain always fascinated me. However, I never thought about why the four particular presidents were chosen. The likenesses are those of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt. I understood Washington and Lincoln. But Jefferson and Roosevelt? I had no idea. Here’s what I found out when I visited Mount Rushmore.


George Washington represents the development of the United States. A leader in the American Revolutionary war to win independence from Great Britain and the first U.S. President, Washington is known as the “father of our country.”


Abraham Lincoln represents the preservation of the United States. Lincoln, 16th president, held a strong conviction against slavery and preserved the union in our country’s most troubling time.


Thomas Jefferson represents the growth of the United States. He was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence and 3rd president. Jefferson purchased the Louisiana Territory from France, doubling the size of the United States.


Theodore Roosevelt represents the development of the United States.  He led the United States through early 20th century growth. The 26th president was instrumental in the Panama Canal construction. The canal linked the east and west.

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Fun Mount Rushmore fact: Mount Rushmore was never finished. The president likenesses were supposed to be sculpted from the waist up. However, due to lack of funding, work stopped after the heads were completed.

Mount Rushmore - Independence Day
56 flags make up the Avenue of Flags, the walkway leading up to the Mount Rushmore observation area. The flags represent each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, commonwealths and territories.

If you visit Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore is located in Keystone, South Dakota, about a half hour southwest of Rapid City. Check the website for directions, operating hours and other details.


Rapid City has many accommodation options. You can find accommodations and check rates here.


Disclosure: This article contains an affiliate link. If you book a room through the “check rates here” link above, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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