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The Statue of Liberty

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5/29/2015 2:15:37 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
The Statue of Liberty was, everybody knows, a gift from the people of France. A lot of people don't know, though, that fundraising the project was difficult.

On the American side, the frenchman Frederic Bartholdi who had organized and helped design the statue (other folks were involved, too, including Gustave Eiffel, Mr. Eiffel tower himself) had asked the US government to pay for a pedestal for the finished statue to go on. The government was...less than enthused about the idea. TImes were tight, and there was some concern about the US having to pay for the pedestal for what was a "gift". The New York Times said: "no true patriot can countenance any such expenditures for bronze females in the present state of our finances."

So Joseph Pulitzer (Yup, Pulitzer) started the drive for donations in the New York World, and wound up getting 120,000-ish people to donate mostly <$1 apiece, enough to fund the pedestal along with some other fundraising efforts (including getting a poet to write a poem for it...Emma Lazarus wrote 'The New Colossus', which has the famous "Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free". Pulitzer printed the names of all the folks who donated, and a lot of stories, like that one dollar was from a group of kids and it was the money they'd saved to go to the Circus.

Basically, what I'm getting at is that Pulitzer pioneered crowdfunding. The New York World functioned like Kickstarter does today. Except the donations actually got the pedestal built...parum pum pssh. .
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