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Immigrant Profile: Joseph Pulitzer

Background

Joseph Pulitzer was born in Mako, Hungary on the 10th of April 1847. He was born to a well-established Jewish family. He initial education was private tutors from teachers in French and German while he was quite young. Finally, when his father retired and moved to Budapest, Joseph continued his education there.

Immigration to the United States

When he was 17 years old, he attempted to join the Austrian Army. However, he was in poor health and had poor eyesight so the army rejected his enlistment. He decided that he would go to the United States to look for work.

In 1864, he arrived in Boston. He went to New York and met a recruiter from the United States Army and enlisted him in as part of the Lincoln Cavalry. He served in the Army for eight months and returned to New York briefly before moving back to Massachusetts. Because of his service, Pulitzer became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1867.

Professional Background & Achievements

After a few short years, Joseph became known as an enterprising journalist and in 1872, was given a chance to have a controlling interest in the Westliche Post. The paper was under financial difficulty and was nearly bankrupt. However, undeterred, Joseph Pulitzer became a publisher at 25 years old.

Pulitzer was a lawyer and later elected to the House of Representatives for the state of New York. He also contributed money to build the first school of Journalism, the Columbia School of Journalism which did not open until 1912, a year after he died. In his honor the university began the tradition of the Pulitzer Prize in 1917 in order to recognize artistic and journalistic achievements.

Contribution to the U.S. Economy

Pulitzer became a cornerstone of what journalism would become in the United States. His newspaper was an instrument that raised concern about corruption, fraud and illegal practices by elected officials.

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