The Statue of Liberty, a gift to America from the French in the late 1800’s, almost didn’t make it across the ocean due to The American Committee’s inability to raise enough money to finance the site and the pedestal on which the statue would sit. Thankfully, Joseph Pulitzer and his newspaper, “The World,” turned to an early form of crowdfunding by involving the American people in his campaign to complete the monumental project.
The cost to build the pedestal and put The Statue of Liberty in place cost over $300,000. In 1884, when the Statue was supposed to arrive, The American Committee had only generated $150,000 toward the project, and they had to stop construction on the pedestal.
The American Committee was unsure as to how to proceed with finishing the pedestal so the Statue could be shipped from France and put in place. However, Joseph Pulitzer, realizing how important this project was, appealed to the emotional aspect of the project by turning to the American people for help.
His six month crowdfunding campaign, unparalleled since, generated an awe-inspiring $100,000 in five short months through micro donations. The most incredible aspect of his campaign is that the over 120,000 donations were in most cases less than a dollar.
Since Mr. Pulitzer targeted all Americans in this unprecedented effort, it helped him increase awareness across America that the Statue of Liberty was designed for all Americans, not just citizens of New York City.
The Statue of Liberty was dedicated to America on October 28, 1886 with the first ticker-tape parade and ceremony over which President Grover Cleveland presided.
A product of successful crowdfunding, American pride, teamwork between America and France, and the ingenious creativity of one individual, Joseph Pulitzer, who set to not just ensure the Statue of Liberty was completed, built through the American pride it so richly deserved.