President Donald Trump has created the first new national monument since he took office … but its details may ruffle a few feathers on the left.
On Friday, Trump designated Camp Nelson in Kentucky as a national monument, which grants it official protections under the Antiquities Act. It was previously a National Historic Landmark.
“Camp Nelson, in central Kentucky’s Nicholasville, was a supply depot and hospital for the Union Army during the 1860s,” noted The Hill.
Honoring an important Civil War location could certainly be seen as a risky prospect in today’s politically correct climate, but Camp Nelson is something that all freedom-loving Americans should be able to respect.
The camp “served as a major recruiting center for African-American troops, as well as a refuge for freed slaves,” continued The Hill. That fact was specifically noted by Trump in his remarks about the historic designation.
“Today, the site is one of the best-preserved landscapes and archeological sites associated with United States Colored Troops recruitment and the refugee experiences of African American slaves seeking freedom during the Civil War,” the president wrote.
“Camp Nelson reminds us of the courage and determination possessed by formerly enslaved African Americans as they fought for their freedom,” Trump continued.
The proclamation came not long after many on the left called for the Civil War to be minimized in our cultural history. Activists and protesters have recently helped pull down statues connected to the Confederate side of that bloody war, but sites dedicated to unity and peace have also been vandalized.
Trump has previously spoken out about the Teddy Roosevelt-era Antiquities Act, but in a much more negative tone.
“Past administrations have severely abused the purpose, spirit, and intent of a century-old law known as the Antiquities Act,” the president scolded in 2017 when he announced that a Utah national monument designated by Barack Obama would be cut in size.
“These abuses of the Antiquities Act give enormous power to faraway bureaucrats at the expense of the people who actually live here, work here, and make this place their home,” he said. “The results have been very sad and very predictable.”
During Roosevelt’s presidency near the turn of the century, there were only 18 national monuments throughout the United States. Over the years, presidents have added significantly more, often after being lobbied by congressional representatives who have constituents near a proposed area.
There are now over 150 such monuments, and former President Obama was especially prolific in naming them.
“The additions bring the total number of national monuments established by Obama to 26, more than any president since Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act in 1906,” explained QZ last year.
“Those 26 monuments amount to 88.3 million acres; Obama has also added 465.2 million acres to existing monuments. In total, he has designated more land, by hundreds of millions of acres, than any other president,” that outlet continued.
The new Camp Nelson monument — which refers to an area and not a physical object — is much smaller than the one Trump criticized in Utah.
Under the new designation, the National Park Service will now be responsible for preserving and administrating the camp.
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