Is the Statue of Liberty Actually a Man?!

Is the Statue of Liberty Actually a Man?!

Is Lady Liberty actually a man?

The iconic statue, which has been standing in New York Harbor as a symbol of freedom and opportunity since 1886, may actually be modeled after a male, a new Discovery Family program, "Secrets of America’s Favorite Places," suggests.

According to the controversial theory, French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi used his brother as a template for the face of the Statue of Liberty, rather than his mother, as is commonly believed.

On "Fox and Friends Weekend," historian and professor Edward Berenson disagreed with the theory.

Berenson said that the statue is based on neither Bartholdi's brother nor his mother, but a Roman goddess of liberty.

"That was explicit," Berenson said, referencing an extensive collection of Bartholdi's letters that are kept at the New York Public LIbrary. "He was influenced by all these other goddesses of liberty that came out during the French Revolution. To me, there's no way the Statue of Liberty is male."

Berenson added that Bartholdi took the statue very seriously and loved the United States, making it highly unlikely that he would treat it as a "tongue-in-cheek gift."

 

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‘Secrets of America’s Favorite Places’ Review: The Statue of Liberty’s Little-Known History

‘Secrets of America’s Favorite Places’ Review: The Statue of Liberty’s Little-Known History

That the Statue of Liberty was not originally intended as a beacon of welcome is just one of the revelations—or myths rejected—in the opening episode of the unfortunately named “Secrets of America’s Favorite Places,” a title that suggests this eight-part series is standard, sensationalist TV fare with little claim to seriousness. Its tone is, admittedly, not that of the sober documentarian. There’s no missing the slight undertone of whoopee that accompanies its revelations—but no missing, either, in the first episode, the solid stock of facts little known today about Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi’s statue, whose torch he never imagined as having anything to do with immigrants. It took on that role only later, abetted by poet Emma Lazarus’s sonnet written to raise funds for the statue’s pedestal. Titled “The New Colossus,” it contained the soon to be immortal lines forever after associated with the statue: “Give me your tired, your poor / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.…”

Fundraising is one of the richer veins of history scrutinized here in detail, not least the role of Joseph Pulitzer, who appealed to readers of his newspaper, the New York World, to express their support for the statue, their idealism as Americans, by contributing to the fund for the pedestal and by writing letters, some of which he printed in the paper. The result was a flow of small donations amounting to a hefty sum and a large increase in circulation.

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Discovery Family Channel Orders New Series 'Secrets of America's Favorite Places' (Exclusive)

Discovery Family Channel Orders New Series 'Secrets of America's Favorite Places' (Exclusive)

The series will reveal little-known stories about iconic U.S. landmarks.

Discovery Family Channel is revealing the little-known stories about iconic U.S. landmarks in a new series titled Secrets of America's Favorite Places.

The network has ordered eight episodes of the project, which is set to debut Sunday, July 3, at 6 p.m. ET/PT, kicking off the day before the Fourth of July with a Statue of Liberty-themed installment.

Subsequent episodes will revolve around Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood Boulevard, New York's Central Park and Grand Central Terminal, the Lincoln Memorial and Mount Rushmore.

The series will feature interviews and commentary from historians, U.S. National Park Service members, conspiracy theorists, artists and pop culture experts. Encores will at 11 p.m. Tuesdays.

Secrets of America's Favorite Places is produced by Indigo Films for Discovery Family Channel. For Indigo Films, David M. Frank is the executive producer and Paul Sauer is the series producer.

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