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N. C. Wyeth’s romanticized cover illustration for James Fenimore Cooper’s novel The Last of the Mohicans did much to create an enduring image of the American Indian as a “noble savage.” Though his depiction of Uncas as a formidable warrior—complete with bare chest, animal skin skirt, and bow and arrow—departed from the author’s character description, it remained true to the country’s fascination with its Native American heritage.

Norman Rockwell put the essential human freedoms at the core of democracy into portraits. His “Freedom of Speech” helped spur the nation to action. More than one million people saw Rockwell’s works during a nationwide tour, which helped to sell more than $133 million in World War II war bonds.

Picturing America has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Because democracy demands wisdom.
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