History & Culture

White marble building with reflection in the reflecting pool lined with green trees

Carol Highsmith photo

The Memorial
Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865, just as the Civil War was ending. By March of 1867, Congress incorporated the Lincoln Monument Association to build a memorial to the slain 16th president. Learn about the main features of the Lincoln Memorial, including the statue of Lincoln, murals, and inscriptions. Discover how and why it was constructed, the landscape and views that surround it, and the monumental efforts taken over the years to preserve and maintain this iconic site.
black and white portrait of lincoln from waist up; seated
Library of Congress Photo.

The Man
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States and titan of our national heritage, grew up as a poor boy on the frontier. Reading books by candlelight, after long hours at school or on the farm, proved invaluable to young Lincoln. He later served as a store clerk, a river trader, and a "rail-splitter" used to hard physical labor. A plain speaker for plain folks, Lincoln blended his love of the written word with a strong work ethic and pursued a legal career, then a political one from the Illinois state legislature to the U.S. Congress. Here was a man who aspired to lead a nation.

unfinished statue of lincoln with ropes behind and workers surrounding
The unfinished statue.

National Archives and Records Administration

Memorial Builders
Learn about the Memorial Builders - the unique collection of planners, sculptors, artists, financiers, politicians and park officials that came together to build the Lincoln Memorial.


Last updated: August 30, 2022

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