Constantino Brumidi's "The Apotheosis of George Washington" The old General and first President sits in majesty, flanked on the right by the Goddess of Liberty and on his left by a winged figure of Fame sounding a trumpet and holding a palm frond aloft in a symbol of victory. Thirteen female figures stand in a semi- circle around Washington, representing the thirteen original states. On the outer ring of the canopy, six allegorical groupings surround him, representing classical images of agriculture, arts and sciences, commerce, war, mechanics, and marine.
George Washington (Lansdowne portrait) by Gilbert Stuart, oil on canvas, 1796
George Washington by Charles Wilson Peale, mezzotint, 1780
“The American character did not spring full-blown from the Mayflower," but "it came out of the forests and gained new strength each time it touched a frontier." Frederick Jackson Turner, 1893
Lack of Fatalism Louisa May Alcott volunteered as a nurse in a Civil War hospital, where she contracted typhoid fever and was crippled for life from the mercury used to treat her. Nonetheless, she kept writing to support her family and pay off her father's debts. Her most beloved book, Little Women, emerged from this difficult period.
Energetic Approach to Problem Solving Benjamin Franklin was inspired by a firewood shortage in Philadelphia to invent a more efficient source of heat: the Franklin stove. His clever marketing campaign for the invention displays another American characteristic: boundless self-confidence.
Faith in Economic Growth Andrew Carnegie made a fortune in various industries before devoting himself full time to steel, seeing its limitless potential. It was then that he said, "Put all your eggs in one basket and then watch that basket!"
Dedication to Education When Horace Mann was named secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education in 1837, he encountered a school system in decay. By the time he left the job 12 years later, he had laid the foundation for universal compulsory schooling that would be a model for all other states.
Devotion to Religious Liberty The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which Thomas Jefferson drafted in 1786, was one of his proudest accomplishments, which he classed even above his two terms as president of the United States. The statute was the foundation for the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Belief in Equality When Abigail Adams asked her husband, John Adams, to "remember the ladies" as he worked to establish the new American nation, she was speaking partly in jest. But her feminist heirs were serious. In the 20th century Betty Friedan sought to give women real equality and real democratic access, rather than the outward legal shell of these rights.