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What Liberty, What Statue?

July 2024
1min read

We are getting close to the Statue of Liberty’s one hundredth anniversary, and I read your piece on the Statue of Liberty back in June/July 1984, so when I ran across these comments of Mark Twain’s about the building of the statue, I thought you and your readers might like to see them.

As published in the St. Louis Post Dispatch for December 14, 1883, Twain, obviously in response to some fundraising appeal, wrote an article entitled “Why a Statue of Liberty When We Have Adam?” which said in part:

“What has liberty done for us? Nothing in particular that I know of. What have we done for her? Everything. We’ve given her a home, and a good home, too. And if she knows anything, she knows it’s the first time she ever struck that novelty. She knows that when we took her in she had been a mere tramp for 6,000 years, Biblical measure. Yes, and we not only ended her troubles and made things soft for her permanently, but we made her respectable—and that she hadn’t ever been before. And now, after we’ve poured out these Atlantics of benefits upon this aged outcast, lo! and behold you, we are asked to come forward and set up a monument to her! Go to. Let her set up a monument to us if she wants to do the clean thing.…”

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