The Lincoln Memorial, in Washington, DC, is a United States Presidential memorial built to honor 16th President Abraham Lincoln. The architect was Henry Bacon, the sculptor was Daniel Chester French, and the painter of the interior murals was Jules Guerin. The building is in the form of a Greek Doric temple and contains a large seated sculpture of Abraham Lincoln and inscriptions of two well-known speeches by Lincoln. The memorial has been the site of many famous speeches, including Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered on August 28, 1963, during the rally at the end of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was the sixteenth President of the United States, serving from March 4, 1861 until his assassination. As an outspoken opponent of the expansion of slavery in the United States, Lincoln won the Republican Party nomination in 1860 and was elected president later that year. During his term, he helped preserve the United States by leading the defeat of the secessionist Confederate States of America in the American Civil War. He introduced measures that resulted in the abolition of slavery, issuing his Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and promoting the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1865. Lincoln closely supervised the victorious war effort, especially the selection of top generals, including Ulysses S. Grant.
Lincoln is seated in an architectural throne chair with fasces posts, which in turn is placed on a 10-foot marble pedestal. His coat is unbuttoned; his hands are at rest on the arms of the chair; his facial expression seems to be one of vibrant contemplation. The memorial is surrounded by a colonnade of 38 fluted Doric columns. The top frieze contains the names of the forty-eight states which existed at the time of the dedication. The thirty-six states listed above the colonnade are those which existed at the time of Lincoln’s death. A series of Classical details, including swags, wreaths, and eagles, embellish the attic level of the building. The interior is divided into three sections by 50-foot high Ionic columns, the center section containing the statue by French. The chambers on each side contain murals. On the left wall Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is inscribed, and on the right his Second Inaugural Address appears.
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