Unfortunately, the left has fallen prey to the belief that many Americans hold, which is that Lady Liberty has something to do with immigration; that is just not at all the case. The Statue of Liberty represents Libertas, Roman goddess of Liberty.  The words on it were to commemorate July 4th, 1776.

The famous poem that does refer to immigration was a part of a poem called The New Colossus, and it included the lines, “Give me your tired, give me your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” The poem was not part of the creation of the Statue of Liberty and was not delivered with the Statue of Liberty. It was written by Emma Lazarus as a part of a contest to help raise money for the statue’s pedestal.  A bronze tablet bearing the Emma Lazarus poem was only put inside the pedestal in 1903.


There ya go!

THE NEW YORK TIMES REPORTED ON THE HISTORY OF THE STATUE…A left-leaning twist mixed with facts…

When the Goddess of Liberty was given to the United States, its donor’s agenda was to burnish France’s republican roots after the oppressive reign of Napoleon III and to celebrate the two nations’ commitment to the principles of liberty.

The only immigrants mentioned at the dedication in 1886 were the “illustrious descendants of the French nobility” who fought on behalf of the United States against Britain during the American Revolution.



But it was the words of a fourth-generation American whose father was a wealthy sugar refiner and whose great-great-uncle welcomed George Washington to Newport, R.I., that almost single-handedly transformed the monumental statue in New York Harbor into the “Mother of Exiles” that would symbolically beckon generations of immigrants.

Emma Lazarus’s poem only belatedly became synonymous with the Statute of Liberty, whose 125th birthday as a gift from France will be celebrated on Friday by the National Park Service.

Lazarus’s “New Colossus,” with its memorable appeal to “give me your tired, your poor,” was commissioned for a fund-raising campaign by artists and writers to pay for the statue’s pedestal.

But while the poem was critically acclaimed — the poet James Russell Lowell wrote that he liked it “much better than I like the Statue itself” because it “gives its subject a raison d’être which it wanted before quite as much as it wants a pedestal” — it was not even mentioned at the dedication ceremony.

Finally in 1903, after relentless lobbying by a friend of Lazarus who was descended from Alexander Hamilton, himself an immigrant, it was “affixed to the pedestal as an ex post facto inscription,” the art historian Marvin Trachtenberg wrote.

“Gradually, thereafter, the awareness spread not only of the significance of the lines of the poem but also of the significance of the aspect of national tradition it expressed,” another historian, Oscar Handlin, wrote. “Liberty was not simply the bond between ancient allies; nor was it only the symbol of liberal ideas of justice and freedom; it was also the motive force that had peopled the wilderness and made the country that emerged what it was.”

Barry Moreno, a historian of the statue for the National Park Service, recalled that it “was never built for immigrants.”

“It was,” he recalled, “built to pay tribute to the United States of America, the Declaration of Independence, American democracy, and democracy throughout the world. It honored the end of slavery, honored the end of all sorts of tyranny and also friendship between France and America.”


Only later, he added, “letters were written home, word of mouth, taught people that you would see this wonderful goddess in New York Harbor when you arrived in America to welcome you.”

“And she became really famous among immigrants,” he recalled. “And it was really immigrants that lifted her up to a sort of a glory that was probably before America really fully embraced her.”

Lazarus, who popularized that “wonderful goddess,” accepted the commission only begrudgingly — few poets relish the idea of writing on demand. But she was stirred by a wave of pogroms against Jews in Russia and by her regular visits to poor immigrants housed in temporary shelters on Wards Island. She would make “The New Colossus” the first entry in a compendium of poems she anthologized shortly before her death from Hodgkin’s disease at 38 in 1887.

The poem went unmentioned in her obituary in The New York Times, but it appeared in a brief article in 1903 when the plaque was dedicated. (An exhibition on Lazarus, the “Poet of Exiles,” opens Wednesday at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan.A manuscript of the poem is at the Center for Jewish History.)

“Emma Lazarus was the first American to make any sense of this statue,’’ said Esther Schor, an English professor at Princeton and author of a biography titled “Emma Lazarus.”

“Conceived by the French statesman Édouard René de Laboulaye, the statue was to propound the values of the French Revolution, in a sort of end-run around the repressive Second Empire of Napoleon III,” Professor Schor said. “But Americans were so unmoved and uninterested that it was hard to raise money simply to build a pedestal to support it.”

For Lazarus, who wrote the sonnet in 1883 having seen only the torch when it was on display for a fund-raising drive in Madison Square Park, “it was a moment of moral and spiritual recovery, after her attempts to raise money to benefit the Russian-Jewish refugees of 1881-82 had largely fallen on deaf ears,” Professor Schor said.

Instead of retreating, she broadened her appeal to all immigrants, Professor Schor said. For her “the statue was a special kind of mother — a ‘mother of exiles’ — a mother whose mission is not to reproduce herself, but rather to adopt the abandoned, the orphaned, the persecuted,” she said.

“She’s tender and accepting,” Professor Schor said, “but also fiercely protective, and her iconoclastic message smashes the icons of enlightenment and imperialism.”

The sonnet would survive periodic efforts to excise her reference to “wretched refuse” and would become enshrined in the political lexicon in the 1930s as an anthem for Americans who, with war again threatening in Europe, lobbied to reverse anti-immigration quotas that had been imposed a decade earlier.

“The irony is that the statue goes on speaking, even when the tide turns against immigration — even against immigrants themselves, as they adjust to their American lives,’’ Professor Schor said. “You can’t think of the statue without hearing the words Emma Lazarus gave her.”



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