Protest Highlights History of Washington Monument Politics
Weekend demonstration on National Mall joins rich tradition of dissent.
This is hardly the first monumental controversy the Mall has ever seen. In fact, politicians, veterans, and everyday citizens have long battled over how, why, when, and where to commemorate public figures and events, starting with George Washington—an indisputable American hero if ever there was one.
"[Monuments] are good for nothing," said one congressman on the House floor in 1800, in response to a proposed memorial tomb for the father of our country; he later labeled monuments as "pernicious acts of ostentation."
Since then, "almost every memorial built in Washington, especially on the Mall, has been the subject of some sort of protest or dissent," says Erika Doss, a professor of American studies at the University of Notre Dame and the author