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.


08/18/2019 6:01 PMupdated: 08/19/2019 1:07 PM
  • 49.6k
  • 133


  • Valantine M.
    08/18/2019 18:04

    تمثال الحرية لم يعد يمثل الحرية في أمريكا

  • Abraham Y.
    08/18/2019 18:11

    American ideal of freedom for everybody was misused by Mueller. Trump is not going to lose the election when Americans know the truth. It's Steele's fake dossier that paralyzed US administration for more than two years. Mueller wasted two years and millions of taxpayers dollars because of the fake dossier. The former MI6 agent credited with launching Russiagate concocted dangerous lies and myths that made a mockery of the US justice system and misled the American people, former Donald Trump campaign adviser Carter Page has told RT. Page, a primary suspect in the now-debunked theory that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with the Kremlin, said that former MI6 agent Christoper Steele had “pumped myths into the criminal justice system,” sparking a two-year investigation based on falsehoods. “[The Steele dossier] was just a complete myth. Complete lies that were misleading the American public,” Page told Afshin Rattansi on RT’s Going Underground. Steele’s infamous dossier, containing salacious and unsubstantiated allegations against US President Trump and his associates, was used by the FBI to obtain a warrant to spy on Page. He was accused of meeting with “senior Russians,” which, Page says, he had “never met in my entire life.” This guy, Mr. Steele, was profiting on misinformation,” Page said, pointing out that not only was the former spy passing on the claims to the US and the UK governments, but also to the media. Page said that he was “cautiously optimistic” that relations between the US, UK and Russia would improve once the full truth is revealed about the misinformation that prompted Robert Mueller’s probe.

  • Sharon A.
    08/18/2019 20:53

    That was just pure B.S.! When people came to Ellis Island not all were really welcomed, especially if they were disabled in any way, despite being fully functional. My Grandmother had no vision in one eye and was nearly rejected for this. People had their names changed - forced changes. It was not a welcoming place as the US mythology wants us to believe. "Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free. . ." Yeah - and ONLY if they fit what those in charge at the time believed was "good enough". Stop feeding us this propogandist BS

  • John D.
    08/18/2019 21:29

    This is hour fee dumb in a

  • John D.
    08/18/2019 21:30

    In America wish we all love it so thank God for it people she stands on her own

  • Peter A.
    08/18/2019 23:14

    American immigration policy should set by a poet 125 years ago.

  • Maxine W.
    08/19/2019 00:35

    Immigration has been a topic of discussion for many many years so stop blaming Trump for at least trying to enforce the laws that were already in place.

  • Maheshbhai J.
    08/19/2019 05:09


  • Kyra M.
    08/19/2019 06:21

    I think you were one who mentioned something about this? And if so, then I think this explains what that post was referring too lol

  • LaVonne B.
    08/19/2019 09:54

    Now people can buy their way into America. It doesn’t matter if it’s dirty or laundered money bringing in rich crooks. If someone can marry an American they can get citizenship. I doubt we’ll get the best.

  • Davld B.
    08/19/2019 12:56

    She just doesn't want to add to the welfare roles

  • Nicole L.
    08/19/2019 13:14

    The first statue was black

  • Brut
    08/19/2019 14:33

    John Oliver: comedian, TV host, and immigrant. The "Last Week Tonight" star spoke with Brut about his work with the International Refugee Assistance Project — and what America gets wrong about immigration.

  • Anthony E.
    08/19/2019 16:19

    Hey idiots ... um every president for the last 50 years has said it come but come legally! You are some thick headed dumbasses

  • Johnathan C.
    08/19/2019 19:57

    fake news on this white people are racist BS!!! The Democrat party has become a terrorist organization.

  • Ukuta M.
    08/19/2019 22:06

    Early laws said you had to work and provide for yourself. It also said if you were a burden you would be sent back to wherever you came from. Stop this nonsense

  • Jose A.
    08/19/2019 22:23

    Has anybody ask the American Natives how they feel about it all the white people coming to THERE LAND ?

  • Curtis B.
    08/19/2019 23:01

    Freedom for citizen

  • Maria A.
    08/20/2019 00:13

    On 4th july people wake up all set to celebrate United State "independence day" . However , we all know that the Independence that this nation declared was rooted in genocide , land theft and only meant freedom for some . Why is it that so many people cannot recognize how recently their own ancestors and ethnicity would have been a problem for them . Are you one of them ? Is so , I hope this hits close to home . White immigrants weren't always considered white and acceptable , Greeks , Italian , Poles and other Europeans had to overcome prejudice over many many decades . Used & Betrayed - 100 years of U.S. Troops as Lab Rats]]

  • Herbert H.
    08/20/2019 01:49

    The first illegal immigrants ...LOST ,COLD ,HUNGRY ,SICK cast away and unwanted by their own were welcomed and cared for BY NATIVE ABORIGINAL PEOPLE OF THIS LAND OF THE ONCE CLEAN LAND OF THE TRULY FREE and then were lied to and ENDURE GENOCIDE TO THIS DAY for their homeland