HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Almighty God, from this pulpit of stone The American People render thanksgiving and praise for the new era of civilization brought forth upon this continent. Centuries of tyrannical oppression sent to these shores, God-fearing men to seek in freedom the guidance of the Benevolent Hand in the progress toward wisdom, goodness toward men, and piety toward God.
|Consequntly, on July 4, 1776, our forefathers promulgated a principle never before successfully asserted, that life, liberty, equality, and pursuit of happiness were the birthrights of all mankind. In this declaration of independence, formulated by Jefferson, beat a heart for all humanity. It declared this country free from British rule and announced the inalienable sovereighnty of the people. Freedom's soldiers victoriously consecrated this land with their life's blood to be free forevermore.
Then, 1787, for the first time a government was formed that derived its just powers from the consent of the governed. General Washington and representatives from the thirteen states formed this sacred constitution, which embodies our faith in God and in mankind by giving equal participation in government to all citizens, distributing the powers of governing threefold, secureing freedom of speech and of the press, establishing the right to worship the infinite according to conscience, and assuring this nation's general walfare against an embattled world this chart of national guidance has for 145 years weathered the ravages of time. Its supreme trial came under pressure of civil war, 1801-65. The deadly doctrines of secession and slavery were then purged away in blood. The seal of the Union's finality, set by President Lincoln, was accomplished like all our triumphs of law and humanity, through the wisdom and the power of an honest, Christian heart.
Farsighted American statesmanship acquired by treaties, vast wilderness territories where progressive, adventurous americans spread civilization and christianity.
|The picturesque Florida peninsula was ceded as payment of the Spanish obligations due to Americans.
|Texas, having patterned American democracy during the ten years of freedom from Mexican rule, accepted the invitation to join the sisterhood of states.
|The Oregon country was peacefully apportioned by the 49th parallel as the compromised international boundary of the two english-speaking nations.
|California and territory likewise rich in natural recources was acquired as the consequence of an inevitable conflict with Mexico. In spirit of mutual concession, the United States granted additional indemnities for the adjustment of the international boudary, extending from the Rio Grande to the Gulf of California.
|Texas willingly ceded the disputed Rio Grande region, thus ending the dramatic acquisition of the West.
|Alaska was purchased from Russia.
The Panama Canal Zone was purchased as authorized by President Theodore Roosevelt, whereupon our people built a navigable highway to conveniently enable the world's poeple to share the fruits of the earth and of human industry.
Now these areas are welded into a nation possessing unity, liberty, power, integrity and faith in God with responsible development of character and the steady performance of humanitarian duty.
Holding no fear of the economic and political, chaotic clouds hovering over the earth, the consecrated Americans dedicate this nation before God, to exalt righteousness and to maintain mankind's constituted liberties so long as the earth shall endure.
William Andrew Burkett, author
This 560 word "History of the United States of America," 1776-1904, was chosen in 1955 by a nationwide competition conducted by the Mount Rushmore National Memorial Inscription Commitee, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States, chaiman. Members were United States Senators Key Pittman, Hiram W. Johnson, William E. Borah, Charles L. McNary, Bronson Cutting, Peter Norbeck, William J. Bulow, Morris Sheppard and Tom Connally; and citizens Fred W. Sargent, J. S. Cillinan, J. A. C. Chandler, Robert O. Sproul, Gutzon Borglum, Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Mrs. Mary Cary Rumsey, Mrs. Isabella Greenway, member of congress.
This plaque presented by the National Historical Foundation, July 4, 1971.
For more on the story of the plaque's author, follow this link: https://www.southdakotamagazine.com/william-burkett
I am pleased to see yet another notation of this monument here: