Discuss the historical implications of the following quote: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The lines are written by the American poetess, Emma Lazarus.  The poem which features the line is entitled "The New Colossus."  This poem became inscribed onto the Statue of Liberty and immediately associated the structure with the welcoming of immigrants to America from the 19th Century and beyond.  The poem became etched on the bronze pedestal on the base of the Statue.  Lazarus wrote the lines, not really ascribing much in way of profound significance to them.  Yet, the powerful component of the words was the idea that the "New Colossus" was something meant to define the new world and those who sought sanctuary in it.  The idea of being able to envision a new world for those who sought a change became one of the most intense elements of Lazarus, herself.  She was aware of the challenges that Jewish people living in the pogroms experienced.  As being a champion for their own predicament, Lazarus' poem acquires even more significance and meaning in regards to those who came to America in search of something better than what was.


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