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The New Colossus Summary & Analysis
by Emma Lazarus

"The New Colossus" is an Italian sonnet written by the Jewish American poet Emma Lazarus. Lazarus was a passionate immigration activist, becoming particularly involved in the plight of Russian Jewish refugees. She wrote the poem in 1883 to help raise funds for the construction of the Statue of Liberty's pedestal, but the poem was not actually mounted on the pedestal until 1903. The poem compares the Statue of Liberty to the ancient Greek Colossus of Rhodes, presenting this "new colossus" as a patroness of immigrants rather than a symbol of military might. The statue's role and the poem's hopeful, unironic tone offer an idealistic vision of America's role on the world stage as a welcomer and protector of immigrants .

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