Source: AP Images = http://www.libertystatepark.com/emma.htm
When I first think about immigration, my mind immediately strays to Ellis Island and the State of Liberty. I was intrigued to find out that engraved on a plaque inside the pedestal on which the Statue of Liberty stands is a poem written by Emma Lazarus, an American poet. The poem, “The New Colossus”, was written in 1883. In 1903, it was engraved on the plaque. What makes this poem so important is that it depicts the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of hope for those who had become hopeless. When the immigrants arrive to Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty is the first thing that they see. She invites them in (thus why her back is turned to America), welcoming those who are “tired”, “poor”, “homeless”, etc. to become hopeful once more. The engraving of this poem on the Statue of Liberty is indicative of how the public felt about immigration. The public was open to accepting new immigrants and open to providing them with the possibility of a better life. Engraving such a poem into the pedestal on which the Statue of Liberty stands suggests that this mode of thinking is inscribed into the minds of the people. As Americans, we must be accepting of others because we are the land of the free. We must make sure that others are able to share this freedom. “The New Colossus” suggests that, even in the early 1900s, American citizens were open to this idea.