Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mount Rushmore

I could see Washington and Jefferson on Mount Rushmore from my window. I'd guess they're maybe half a mile away. And they're lit up for the first part of the night. Impressive. (Although the general area is really touristy. I visited Rushmore as a child as well - I remember it being really touristy back then as well.)

I've been "discussion leader" for a conference on executive power and the Constitution for a small group of high-school teachers from Kentucky. We're at a lodge just outside of Keystone.

It was a good group of teachers, and good material.

At the beginning of the last session I asked them each, if they got to choose, which presidents would they place on Mt. Rushmore today?

About a half would keep it the way it is (which is a disappointment - Teddy simply does not belong on Mt. Rushmore). Most of the rest would replace Teddy with FDR. One would have replaced Thomas Jefferson with James Madison.

Interestingly, more teachers would have dropped Thomas Jefferson from Rushmore than would have dropped Teddy Roosevelt. I don't think that anyone dropping either Washington or Lincoln from Rushmore. A couple of folks would have placed Andrew Jackson among the four.

But one teacher did suggest the list I'd put on Mt. Rushmore if I got to choose who would go up there today: Washington, Lincoln, FDR, and Reagan. The closest call on my list is FDR. He should never have run for a fourth term (given how incredibly ill he was at the time), and many of the early New Deal policies were terrible. (E.g., establishing price floors for foodstuffs while people were starving.) Nonetheless, his presidency did represent a sea change in the nation, both on account of the New Deal, but more so because of WWII.

2 Comments:

Blogger Wayne said...

I just figured that Teddy got the nod for his role in establishing many of our national parks.

October 25, 2010 5:16 PM  
Blogger Wayne said...

Jim,

Unrelated, what would you suggest I give someone to read regarding constitutional interpretation? I'm not looking for something too deep, but I have a friend who sort of uses the phrase "original intent" like a slogan and I don't think he's really ever considered the issue too carefully.

It wouldn't hurt me to read up on this as well.

October 25, 2010 5:21 PM  

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