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The Story Behind the Statue of Liberty

A Trump immigration official suggested that Lady Liberty didn't want tired, poor, huddled masses — just working class Europeans. This history of America's most iconic statue proves otherwise. 🗽

Meet Lady Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is a 151-foot figure of the Roman goddess Libertas. It sits atop Liberty Island in New York Harbor. French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi wanted to create a monument to celebrate the bond between the United States and France. Funding issues delayed the project and led construction to last from the early 1870s through 1884. She was disassembled and shipped to the U.S. in pieces, before being unveiled and dedicated in New York on October 28, 1886.

Constructed of copper, the statue’s current color is green — a reaction of oxidation to the copper that actually protects the statue from further deterioration. At the base of the statue is the poem “The New Colossus” by American poet Emma Lazarus, which served to welcome new immigrants to America. She was the first thing seen in America by many of the 12 million immigrants entering the U.S. through nearby Ellis Island. It also revives an aspect of the statue’s long-forgotten history: Lady Liberty was originally designed to celebrate the end of slavery, not the arrival of immigrants.

Ellis Island, the inspection station through which millions of immigrants passed, didn’t open until six years after the statue was unveiled in 1886. The plaque with the famous Emma Lazarus poem — “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” — wasn’t added until 1903. In 2019, a Trump administration official suggested that the poem only refers to European immigrants who could provide for themselves, in response to a potential policy change limiting legal immigration in America. Lazarus’s biographer said the poet wanted to encourage Americans to embrace the poor and destitute of all places.

Brut.

08/18/2019 6:01 PMupdated: 08/19/2019 1:07 PM
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132 comments

  • Ruth C.
    11/28/2019 04:22

    We are a country or we are not ,

  • Alexis T.
    11/27/2019 07:18

    Osama Bin Laden was welcomed into the U.S.A. and educated in the U.S.A. wasn't he Oprah? How about the guys that were welcomed and trained to smash into the towers in NYC on 9/11? Where was their gratitude? Were they in search of the "American Dream"? How about the confused guy at the end of this clip who declares that we take everyone from everywhere period no matter what. He's one of those that are trying to change the common sense rules of immigration into the U.S.A.. Not President Trump. Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States of America is here to stop those, both foreign and domestic, from their desires to DEMOLISH the "American Dream" and those that support his presidency are multiplying every single day!

  • Pepita R.
    11/26/2019 10:50

    So beautiful story. Only one man wants to change the meaning of the poem at her feet. Open arms for everybody, not for a few . . .

  • Shea N.
    11/26/2019 02:52

    Beautiful America! But being a "Trump Basher" is so not cool.

  • Sonya S.
    11/26/2019 02:44

    Wonderful gift & beautiful art!

  • Ronald Z.
    11/25/2019 13:30

    What do thi n What do you think about thre mayor

  • Zach D.
    11/24/2019 17:31

    Commie Propoganda

  • Erik C.
    11/24/2019 16:26

    The real reason the French gave this to us is that they had no use for a statue that only had one arm raised.

  • Ken H.
    11/24/2019 16:06

    💲UPPORT JOE BIDEN

  • Neal D.
    11/24/2019 15:40

    “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.----But make each new immigrant sign a pledge to never take a dime of welfare and to not be able to vote until in America for 50-years.

  • Diana F.
    11/22/2019 17:10

    People keep referring to the poem, don't get me wrong, it's beautiful. But you do not make government policy based on a poem. I'm all for immigration, but please be able to contribute to society, instead of take from it.

  • Janice P.
    11/22/2019 14:48

    Those that came then came the legal way . They came looking for a better life ,they didn't come to change America to their beliefs , they accepted our laws ,our language ,& our beliefs .They didn't come to mooch off of the system & to rob, rape & murder .

  • Richard H.
    11/18/2019 06:44

    Do you want to allow every criminal (terrorist, murderer, rapist, drug dealer...) into America that wants to enter? Every prospective immigrant needs to be screened.

  • Shirley G.
    11/17/2019 03:32

    if ophra wants all the illigal in the united state then let them live on her property and she can support them all

  • Terri C.
    11/17/2019 00:43

    How many people will you house Oprah? Your house will hold alot and you have a big yard

  • Chris G.
    11/16/2019 02:55

    Did she forget we also have laws? Hmmm

  • Dayan T.
    11/16/2019 00:31

    Back in days people they were seeking for their dreams in America. But nowadays they are coming to take that dreams from American people and destroyed the United states constitution. Shame on you Brut. Trump is protecting American from evil democrats. Trump 2020🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

  • Gerald S.
    11/15/2019 10:58

    OK liberals let’s try this for the thousandth time : Legal immigration = good Illegal immigration = bad There is a huge difference, please try to differentiate between the 2.

  • Anthony S.
    11/15/2019 01:43

    I thought the statue was supposed to be under water by now. According to Al Gore the inventor of the internet.

  • Alan M.
    11/13/2019 12:23

    they came to dissimate the native americans