The Lincoln Memorial is festooned with the symbol of fasces—a bunch of rods bound together with a strap. Fasces is also the root word of fascism. In light of Lincoln’s tenure and what has followed, the symbolism is appropriate. From Thomas DiLorenzo at lewrockwell.com:
The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. turned 100 on May 30, so I thought I’d add my two cents to all the tributes being paid to “America’s most beloved monument,” as one conservative publication described it. If you’d like to know what you’re teaching your children and grandchildren to worship and revere when you take them to visit the Lincoln Memorial, I suggest reading a U.S. National Park Service (NPS) publication by one Nathan King entitled “Secret Symbol of the Lincoln Memorial.” This is the U.S. government’s explanation of the meaning of the Lincoln Memorial.
The “true meaning” of the Lincoln Memorial according to the National Park Service that administers it is represented by a “ubiquitous symbol” that is all over the monument, inside and out. That symbol is the fasces, a bundle of rods bound together by a leather thong. This is said to represent “the higher meaning of the memorial and the man.”
The fasces was originally used in the Roman Empire as “a symbol of power and authority,” says the NPS publication. It “represented that a man held imperium, or executive authority.” Exercising that “authority” a “leader could expect his orders to be obeyed, could dole out punishment [to those who disobeyed him], and could even execute those who disobeyed.” That man, in the American tradition, would be Abraham Lincoln in particular, and all of his successors in general. It means that Jefferson’s declaration in the Declaration of Independence that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed is null and void. From Lincoln on forward, government in America derives its “just powers” from itself. Its “powers” are whatever it says they are. The word “fascism” of course has its roots in the word “fasces.”