The George Mason Memorial , built on the National Mall in 2002, captures the accomplishments of George Mason, a Founding Father, author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, and he refused to sign the U.S. Constitution. Identifying Mason's history and exploring the motivations and struggles of the creation of the memorial opens a conversation for public opinion regarding the memorial's physical manifestation. The height of the Jefferson Memorial, the height of the George Washington obelisk, and the beauty of the Lincoln Memorial is seen as a testament of their god-like status in American history. So, where does this leave Mason’s memorial? Is he a lowly and personable figure like the rest of us, or a figure intentionally left out of the spotlight? This project attempts to answer this question by connecting theories of memorialization and primary documents from the Gunston Hall library, Mason's home. The theories include Seth C. Bruggeman's construction of nationalism and individual interest, David Gobel and Dave Rossell's theory of a rich past and a reflective present, and Nathan Glazer and Cynthia R. Field's organic demonstration and manufactured aesthetic. The three theories, the published newspaper and journal articles of the memorial's opening date, and the reports and personal notes taken by First Regent of Gunston Hall, and Senator Charles Robb are connected in their attempt to find an answer. The narrow focus of the project is used to understand how American's utilize public space and select historical figures to memorialize.
First Advisor Department
American Culture Studies
Second Advisor Department
Fager, Kasandra, "History, Nationalism, and Public Opinion: The Memorialization of George Mason" (2021). Honors Projects. 673.