No symbol of freedom is more revered than the “Statue of Liberty.” Its a global icon and a celebrated symbol of Liberty that embodies America. The Statue of Liberty was built in 1886, during the Gilded Age when America passed through a time of unprecedented economic growth and prosperity. The idea of the statue was conceived by a French educator Laboulaye, he hoped it would represent the historic friendship between France and America, and also the glory of Union’s Victory in the Civil War. Which was in by itself a victory of emancipation, of liberty and equality for all men.
As noted in the book, even though the Statue of Liberty was a celebrated icon when it was built, it couldn’t hide the conflicting social division that manifested during the Gilded Age. There was an unequal distribution of wealth between the upper class and working class where the top 1 percent of America’s population controlled 99% of wealth. The rich capitalists would live in their fancy multi-million dollar mansions and engaged in “conspicuous consumption” while most of the urban population lived in slums and at the edge of poverty. Labor strikes and protests were common as capitalists tried to take full advantage of the lower class. This period of America created a dialogue which encompasses the crucial question of the social conditions needed for the liberty of it’s citizens and the role of government in fulfilling that condition for en masse.
How can a statue, such as the Statue of Liberty, be read as a primary document?
well, I was thinking it was more of an Image (symbol) of the times(Gilded Age) that we read about in the chapters!
I believe that the Statue of Liberty is a primary source because it is direct evidence from a time in US history.