Posts Tagged ‘Statue of Liberty’

By Chelsea Meloccaro UTSA and Mathilde Fleury Angers


The Statue of Liberty is a representation of the American Declaration of Independence during the American Revolution. In 1865, The Statue was proposed by Frenchman Edouard de Laboulaye a French jurist, poet and anti-slavery activist. He wanted The Statue to symbolize the friendship between France and America when they became allies during the war. It was meant to be a gift from France to commemorate the centennial of the American Declaration of Independence.

Ten years later, in 1875, the sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, designed The Statue meant to be finished in a year. The Statue was a joint effort between America and France. However, only her right hand was finished by 1876 and was displayed at the American centennial exhibition. Due to the lack of funds between both France and the United States, led to a standstill in the construction. The Americans were to build the pedestal and the French were responsible for The Statue and its assembly in the United States.

The French people donated $250,000 to contribute to the construction of the monument. In 1885, Joseph Pulitzer urged the Americans’ to donate money towards the pedestal. Americans raised over $102,000 in donations of less than $1. Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (the designer of the Eiffel Tower) designed the structure in a combination of iron as a secondary skeleton and the outer layer copper. Giving The Statue the ability to move during high winds and storms. The original color of The Statue was copper but oxidized over time and turned green. When The Statue was completed in France in July 1884, it was disassembled, reduced to 350 individual pieces, and shipped to the New York Harbor on June 17. The disassembled statue was placed in storage until the pedestal was completed a year later.

In August 1885, the 87ft granite pedestal was built on a former military base, Fort Wood on Bedloe’s Island. The Pedestal was designed by Richard M. Hunt and built by General Charles P. Stone. When completed, the final cost was $270,000 and the money mostly came from public donations. In 1903, the famous poem “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus was engraved on the pedestal. The poem is celebrating the spirit of republicanism and freedom. The Statue was reassembled in 4 months, on April 1886, and was finally inaugurated on Ellis Island, on October 28 of 1886 by the President Grover Cleveland. Its original name was “The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World.”  In 1924, when The Statue became a national monument, the name changed to become The Statue of Liberty. In 1956 Ellis Island was also renamed Liberty Island.

The Statue is 305 feet tall from the ground to the torch, it is the tallest statue in the United States. Lady Liberty symbolizes the friendship between America and France, but is also a symbol of freedom and hope for those entering into the country. In 1892, when Ellis Island opened as a federal immigration station, 14 million immigrants passed through the station welcomed by The Statue of Liberty. The Statue became a landmark for immigrants and a symbol of new beginnings and hope.

Today The Statue is still a symbol of freedom, and has become a true icon. 4 million visitors per year come to visit Lady Liberty. In 1984, UNESCO named Liberty Island a world heritage site. The Statue is also part of popular culture because it appears in many movies, video games, books, etc. The original statue, a smaller version, is in Paris in the Pont de Grenelle. Today we can find many other versions of The Statue not only in America and France, but all over the world. The reputation of The Statue of Liberty has made it the icon it is today. It’s one of the most famous monument in the world and for this we can say that, it’s not only a national icon but an international one as well.

The New Colossus By Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame.

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”


Unknown. Fact Monster. “The Statue of Liberty.” Last Modified October, 2015.

–.The Statue of Liberty- Ellis Island. “Statue Biography.” Accessed April 21, 2016. http://www.libertyellisfoundation.org/statue-of-liberty-history

–. The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island. “Statue History.” Accessed April 21, 2016. http://www.libertyellisfoundation.org/statue-history

Wikimedia Commons. “Statue of Liberty, NY. JPG.” Accessed April 28, 2016

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By Orane Réveiller, Thibault Thierry and Pierre Viau from the University of Angers (France)

Freedom. A very important and powerful word. A strong idea that everyone has in mind! An idea that Edouard de Laboulaye wanted to represent when he first had the idea of the Statue of Liberty in 1865. Indeed, this French politician opposed to slavery supported Lincoln’s ideas but also wanted to convince France not to be too repressive and therefore, the idea of a monument dedicated to Freedom was born.
Gustave Eiffel took the place of Auguste Bartholdi, who was supposed to create this masterpiece at first. And so, from 1880 to July 1884, the statue was assembled in Paris. On June, 17th 1885, the statue arrived disassembled in New York and was finally reassembled on its pedestal on Bedloes Island (aka Liberty Island nowadays) on October, 28th 1886. The event was covered by Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World and by The New York Times as well.

This monument has inspired many creations; for example, on the pedestal, one can read a sonnet (The New Colossus) Emma Lazarus wrote about the statue of liberty. Her sonnet depicts the Statue as a symbol of immigration and opportunity. But those two ideas are not the only one the statue of liberty depicts. This is also a symbol for a democratic government, a symbol of independence (July 4th 1776 is written on the tablet), a symbol for the abolition of slavery (broken chains are at its feet) and finally an opening to the world. An opening to the world because the statue faces Europe with which USA shares a common past but also because of its location: Liberty Island is close to Ellis Island, a place where every immigrant has to go through before entering the US.

But not only does Lady Liberty symbolizes freedom and the American Dream, she also represents New York around the world. Miniature Statues of Liberty and crowns are probably the most common gifts bought in the Big Apple. She is so wildly famous that she has appeared in countless movies, from Alfred Hitchcock’s to Michael Bay’s, but also in some video games. She is on the front line of any catastrophes or invasion threatening the East Coast and she most of the time never gets out without a scratch. Not to mention of course all the times she has been parodied in commercials or caricatured.

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By Alexia Gonzales and Camille Grandguillotte, University of Angers

The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of the United States. But if one is asked why the
Statue is an American icon, the answer can be hard to find instantly. In France, most
people see the Statue of Liberty as an emblematic representation of the US and of
New York; but what do they really know about it? That it was built by Gustave Eiffel?
That it was a present from France to the US?


The Statue of Liberty was indeed a Franco-American project, but it is more than just
that. The iconicity of the Statue of Liberty resides in its first symbolism: the welcoming
of immigrants to the US, to a land of hope and freedom. Nowadays, this symbolism is
a little lost because immigrants don’t necessarily arrive to the New York harbor, but
one of the first “roles” of the Statue was that of a reassuring “Mother of Exiles”: “A
mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles […] Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to
breathe free.”

Many years after the Statue’s construction in 1886, the United States have changed
dramatically: it is no longer a country needing immigrants to survive. With each
immigration act and with the way the country treats its minorities, it feels like the US
have forgotten their roots. No need to know history to say that the country was built
from the ground by immigration, especially since the first “American” settlers were
themselves immigrants.

The US has always been a destination of choice for immigrants, a way of achieving
their “American dream” and the Statue of Liberty embodied everything they needed:
hope and freedom. Is it still true nowadays?

Seeing the numerous cartoons on the blog, we were made to ask ourselves if this
symbolic emblem still had the same resonance it once had. However, the answer is
not quite so simple. Though to us, the Statue seems to have become reduced to
these two main aspects: business and politics. There is no need to deny the Statue’s
marketing power and its touristic attraction. Moreover, we can see that the Statue is a
recurring symbol used to denounce the actions of the government, especially
concerning immigration, but also the lack of individual liberty or the consumerism
society, as we can see through all the different articles posted on this blog.

Can the Statue of Liberty still be a symbol of hope and freedom, as it was at the
beginning, when it is repeatedly used to denounce the elements previously cited ?
We’d like to think so. Although the image of the Statue of Liberty has changed a lot,
often linked to negative aspects of the American society or government, it remains a
symbol of the American dream, and an American Icon.

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In his book, The Hamburger, Josh Ozersky writes, “America is the great icon making nation because it requires (emphasis added) icons more than any other nation. Created whole cloth, peopled by immigrants from China and Peru, and with lithe more than a federal bureaucracy, a half-formed and contested ideology, and a common language to unite them, Americans turned to iconography again and again: first George Washington, and then the Founding Fathers, and then, consecutively, the Flag, the White House, Abe Lincoln in his hat, Robert E. Lee in his uniform, Uncle Same, the Statue of Liberty, the planting of the flag at Iwo Jima . . . the list goes on and on. And to that can be added the exemplars of the American virtue, those Great Men those lives embedded the American Way — cultural heroes like Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Charles Lindberg, and the rest. It is no accident that popular iconography, in the form of advertising, came into is modern form here. In a country as big and vague as America, recognized symbolized were, and are, at a premium.”

What do you think? Does this make sense to you?

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A recent blog titled “Liberty’s 21st Century Representation of America” written by Dallas Stevens looks at how the views have changed on the famous American icon, the Statue of Liberty, through the use of an image. Although the image is simplistic, Steven is able to analyse each item to show what it represents and its significance in relation to a contemporary society.

The concept of the blog is interesting and manages to keep the reader engaged due to the fluent and well-structured writing style. It is formal and simplistic, yet the use of rhetorical questions in the opening paragraph allows the reader to contemplate the blogs discussion and carry on reading to diminish their curiosity of what Stevens has to say.

As the piece is mostly formed from opinions, there is a chance to form a debate in order to see what other people of different ages, genders and culture think about these views towards America and what it represents. However, to improve the blog it would have been interesting to see a developed argument by highlighting not only the negative representations of the items, but positive ones too. For example, the quote “obsession with technology”[1] could alternatively be portrayed as a symbol of unification between people in different parts of the world rather than a loss of human contact. By giving varied interpretations it shows the reader that the writer has originality and has engaged with the symbolic image.

[1] Stevens, Dallas, “Liberty’s 21st Century Representation of America”, February 3rd 2015 < https://americaniconstemeple.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/libertys-21st-century-representation-of-america/> (Para. 2 of 3) [accessed February, 2015]

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Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 10.22.39 AMThis image was created during the recent government shutdown. It is a simple cartoon that speaks volumes about the government’s protection of our freedom as Americans. The government shutdown forced the Statue of Liberty and other national monuments and landmarks to close their doors to tourists, though their significance remained. The picture shows a person feeling sorry for the Statue of Liberty for having to keep carrying the torch amid the shutdown. The picture exemplifies the government’s hypocrisy, specifically the GOP who is responsible for the shutdown. The GOP is constantly pontificating about American liberty, freedom and justice when describing their talking points, yet they broke those same core principles by shutting the government down for not getting their way, putting the country at considerable risk. The torch symbolizes liberty and enlightenment and is supposed to guide the way for those looking toward these freedoms. But the government was definitely not guiding the way when it shut down and stopped working. The GOP clearly demonstrated to the country that, to them, their pride and desires are more important than the American people.

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There’s a controversial “Separation Wall” in the West Bank that is covered in graffiti and this image can be found in Bethlehem. It is a picture of the Statue of Liberty weeping over Palestine. She’s holding a personification of Palestine – the Handala, or a Palestinian refuge. The US has been one of the leading nations since WWII to call for a cease-fire in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, however, our efforts have yielded little success. The US always points to its large financial assistance to Israel as concrete proof of our involvement. Therefore, the US is helping to kill Palestinians by funding the effort. This, however, is an image of compassion towards the Palestinians.  The Statue of Liberty is holding a dead refugee and weeping over his loss. What if the world saw us this way – weeping over the loss rather than paying for the war and the destruction. The image is ironic. The greatest symbol of freedom crying over the lives that that the great country it represents help take. During the mass immigration to the US in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Statue of Liberty was a symbol of freedom and a new life for refugees. Bernard Dard talks about the effect seeing the statue would have had on immigrants pulling into the New York harbor. “For these refugees, who had lost or abandoned all that they once had had…arrival in America seems to have been transfixed by Liberty’s nurturing and protective visage-the very picture of strength, determination, and serenity (Dard 75). To Palestinians, this image suggests that what was once a symbol of hope for refugees is now just a symbol of a country funding a long and bloody war. Its a call for the US to reconsider its role when it is in direct contract to what we claim to represent.

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