Before doing this post, I’d heard of Norman Rockwell, but never knew who or what he did. I thought he was an actor – not a painter. Looking at the picture, my first impressions are: no diversity; the man appears to be standing behind a barrier (near his waist); lack of shirt and tie versus the other men. I have a feeling the lack of diversity is going to be a common response, so I’ll go with the attire. I think this is an effort to acknowledge equality amongst classes. One might presume that the man standing is working class, but the men in front of him are more upper class. He is holding the attention of the men in the picture, showing the power of freedom of speech and how he is holding court for the men. I only say court because that is my guess of where he is, or some sort of town council. The man certainly does not fit in fit everybody else in the painting, but nonetheless is being given the right to speak in front of a community of people. The barrier in front of the man, to me, is still a sign that democracy is progress. People are still being held back, and if a white man is still behind a barrier, what about minorities?
I must say that when looked at in the set of 4 (thanks Emily), the painting has a greater impact. It takes a real look into American Ideals and founding liberties.