UPDATE 2014: They did switch out Borlaug for Harlan and hopefully I’ll get a chance to do a further post about that soon. So far no further attempts to dethrone Samuel Kirkwood which I’m truly glad about.
By an act of Congress in 1864, each state is allowed two statues of “notable citizens” to be displayed in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall. Each state is allowed two and only two statues. If they choose, states may switch who they honor, but in doing so they have to remove a previous honoree. Iowa has started the process to do so, replacing James Harlan with Norman Borlaug.
While I feel Norman Borlaug is certainly worthy of the honor (see my post on him below) I think it’s unfortunate to rip it away from the current honorees.
I’m especially disturbed with their repeated dismissal of Samuel Kirkwood and James Harlan as mere “19th-century politicians.” Samuel Kirkwood was Iowa’s Civil War governor. He kept the state going during one of the most difficult times in the state’s history. “During the Civil War the governor was credited with recruiting…
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