Since 1906, presidents have used the Antiquities Act to expand national parks and historic sites in order to maintain American nationalism and establish landmarks that epitomize American beauty, culture, and history.
President Obama has done the same as presidents before him, using this act to introduce three new national monuments: Chicago’s Pullman Town, Honouliuli National Monument, and the Browns Canyon National Monument.
The Pullman National Monument is in Illinois and was America’s first planned industrial town. Situated in present-day Chicago, the Pullman district is home to factories and buildings from the Pullman Palace Car Company. Dating back to 1867, the Pullman Company manufactured railway cars when America first began expanding its borders further west and when steel companies were gaining momentum and popularity.
Working in such an industry were white Americans and immigrants who found homes in Midwestern cities such as Milwaukee and Chicago. Whites were responsible for the making of the cars while African Americans who made up the Great Migration found jobs working on the cars during service. The African Americans who worked for the Pullman Company helped advance civil rights in the nineteenth century and fought, as did many workers, for fair wages, working conditions, and working hours.
During the depression in the 1890’s, the Pullman Company helped spark America’s first industry-wide strike which eventually was one of the foundations for the creation of Labor Day. Throughout its history, the Pullman district of Chicago has kept its rich history in its streets and has rightfully deserved a national monument as Pullman town epitomizes American success and toil during the nineteenth century.
Hawaii’s Honouliuli National Monument is one that represents America’s darker history, as it operated as an internment camp in 1943. It was the largest and longest-running internment camp in Hawaii which held thousands of Japanese-Americans, European-Americans, and citizens of Hawaii during this time of war.
Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii said that Honouliuli will “memorialize the strength and bravery of the many people it held who faced discrimination” and will remind people history’s mistakes cannot be repeated. Finding its doors close to Pearl Harbor, Honouliuli will be operated by the National Park Service, a federal agency backed by former President Wilson in 1916.
The last of the new national park inductees is found in Colorado. Located in the upper Arkansas River Valley, Browns Canyon is 21,000 acres and will protect the diverse wildlife and flora that inhabit the mountains, canyons, and cliffs of this breathtaking site.
Managed by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management and the Department of Agriculture’s National Forest Service, the site will promote outdoor activity as it stands as one of the most sought after parks in the nation.
The new national monuments will properly memorialize and protect the history and nature of America that have contributed in teaching about America’s success in the nineteenth century and remembering prisoners of war all the while saving endangered species in the canyons and mountains of the Midwest. Other national parks/monuments that have been established under the Antiquities Act include the Grand Canyon and the Statue of Liberty.