Italian Heroes In New York: What Purpose Did Statues Serve?

Dec 18, 2022 502

BY: Jaap Harskamp

Nationalism of the nineteenth century represents very different values to those of our era. With the present rise of frenzied flag-waving and militant xenophobia, it is hard to understand the cult status achieved by foreign revolutionary figures such as Lafayette, who was honored as the “French Hero of the American Revolution.”

In 1878 a bust of Giuseppe Mazzini was unveiled in New York City‘s Central Park. A decade later, on the sixth anniversary of his death, Giuseppe Garibaldi was memorialized with a bronze statue in Washington Square Park. Why were these relatively unknown Italian insurgents given such a prestigious presence in New York?

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