The Statue of Liberty


The Statue of Liberty is one of America's most beloved symbols. Rising over 300 feet above New York Harbor, "Lady Liberty" has long been a symbol of freedom to immigrants looking for a better life in the United States. 

In 1865, Edouard Rene de Laboulaye, the president of the Anti-Slavery Society of France, proposed that a monument representing liberty be created for the United States to honor its victory in the American Civil War and the end of slavery. He shared his idea with the prominent sculptor F.A. Bartholdi, who supported the plan and was eager to work on it. By 1870, Bartholdi had begun work. 

In order to plan the sculpture, Bartholdi made several trips to the United States. He decided the statue should stand on Bedloe's Island in New York Harbor. In this way, immigrants entering the United States hoping for better lives would sail right past it. Bartholdi envisioned a massive copper statue. The statue would be constructed in France and shipped in pieces to the United States.  American builders would construct the platform on which the statue would rest. Bartholdi built "Lady Liberty" with numerous symbols. Her crown has seven points to represent the seven seas and continents. Her torch represents the idea that enlightenment is needed for a nation to achieve freedom. In this way, freedom can be achieved only if one knows that it exists. Her tablet represents the idea that laws are needed to protect freedom. "July 4, 1776" is engraved on the tablet's cover to honor Independence Day. Her robe represents Libertas - the Roman goddess of freedom, whom the entire statue is modeled after. The platform was built with thirteen layers of granite to symbolize the original 13 colonies of America. 

Bartholdi finished the statue in 1884. It was shipped to America and assembled in 1886. Its original name was "Liberty enlightening the world," but eventually came to be known simply as the Statue of Liberty. It was dedicated in New York’s first ticker-tape parade in 1886, by president Grover Cleveland.