Carving began on Mount Rushmore National Memorial in 1927 and was finished in 1941. Initially, the sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, selected George Washington and Abraham Lincoln as subjects for the carving. Thomas Jefferson was quickly added to the project followed by Theodore Roosevelt. Borglum created Mount Rushmore not only as a monument to the four men depicted, but also to the American ideals the four men represent.
Borglum chose these specific presidents because they commemorate the founding, growth, preservation and development of the United States. They symbolize the principles of liberty and freedom on which this nation was founded.
George Washington signifies the struggle for independence and the birth of the Republic; Thomas Jefferson represents the territorial expansion of the country; Abraham Lincoln stand for the permanent union of the States and equality for all citizens and Theodore Roosevelt exemplifies the 20th century role of the United States in world affairs and the industrial growth of the nation.