By Chelsea Meloccaro UTSA and Mathilde Fleury Angers
DID YOU KNOW…?
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