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SEEN ON TV: THE STORY OF THE STATUE OF LIBERTY

Did you know that the man thanks to whom it was finally possible to put Frederic Bartholdi´s Statue of Liberty on her today´s spot on Liberty Island (former Bedloe´s Island) in New York wasn´t even invited to its unveiling ceremony?

Joseph Pulitzer who ran the “New York World” (an avant-garde of the so called “yellow journalism”) organised a clever campaign that greatly helped collect the financial means necessary to build the pedestal for the statue (the statue itself was a gift from the people of France to the people of the great, democratic America). Although the statue was ready and already shipped over from France, the Americans were still discussing who should pay how much for the symbol of their freedom.

Pulitzer promised to published the name of every person participating in the campaign, no matter how small the donation. As a result, over 120,000 people sent in their money, most of them less than one dollar each. Their involvement was the people´s answer to the American millionaires embarrassing reluctance to open their purse strings. Among the donors were simple working men and women, many poor farmers, black citizens and Americans of all cultures and religions present at the time in the country

However, during the dedication ceremony for the Statue of Liberty and during the symbolic unveiling of this wonder of Art and Engineering the list of invited guests was very homogeneous: only white Anglo-Saxon men. No women, no black people, no Jews.

Pulitzer being a Jew and not even born in America was not good enough to join the party.

“The arm and torch of the Statue of Liberty in Madison Square Park, New York. These portions of the Statue were exhibited to raise funds for the completion of the statue and its pedestal. The arm and torch remained in the park from 1876 until 1882. “Members of the public could pay fifty cents to climb to the balcony of the torch.”

“The arm and torch of the Statue of Liberty in Madison Square Park, New York. These portions of the Statue were exhibited to raise funds for the completion of the statue and its pedestal. The arm and torch remained in the park from 1876 until 1882.
“Members of the public could pay fifty cents to climb to the balcony of the torch.” (image through Please Touch Museum and retronaut.com)

Last night ARTE, an excellent Franco-German TV channel, presented a dramatised documentary about the amazing story of the Statue of Liberty and its maker, Bartholdi. Available through this link in German (or through ARTE´s French page in French) only.

5 comments on “SEEN ON TV: THE STORY OF THE STATUE OF LIBERTY

  1. berlioz1935
    February 16, 2014

    Excellent story, it reminds us that the ordinary people have a better understanding of liberty. The rich people recognised that the statue could give the people ideas only. But for the dedication ceremony the establishment was there. Bastards !

  2. auntyuta
    February 17, 2014

    This is a great story and I am going to reblog it!

  3. The Emu
    February 19, 2014

    Excellent look into the history of the torch.
    Shame that being a statue of liberty
    the liberty was not good enough for blacks and jews.
    Emu

    • notmsparker
      February 19, 2014

      Liberty is not evenly distributed. And, clearly, never was.

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