Tag Archives: civics education

The Pillars of Democracy


The Lincoln Memorial along the shores of the Potomac River was designed by architect Henry Bacon as a likeness to the Parthenon, the ancient Greek temple. The Parthenon had 25 beautiful columns forming its rectangular sides. Some of them are still standing today above Athens as a monument to the enduring legacy of what became the cradle of democracy. The Parthenon was constantly being restored after centuries of storms, wars, and revolutions.

The Lincoln Memorial, a contemporary replica of the Greek temple, has 36 columns, the number of states in the Union Lincoln preserved. They symbolize the pillars of our democratic Republic, the enduring civic and governmental institutions that have girded our system of governance. Those 36 pillars literally hold up the Lincoln Memorial just as those institutions figuratively support our system of governance.

The Lincoln is more than its legacy. The Memorial should be a constant reminder that our democratic Republic has faced serious and corrosive challenges before and the nation has counted on those institutions to preserve the very structure of the Union. Continue reading