The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World; French: La Liberté éclairant le monde) is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York City, New York, the United States. The copper statue, a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States, was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and Gustave Eiffel built its metal framework. The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886.
The statue is a figure of Libertas, a robed Roman liberty goddess. She holds a torch above her head with her right hand, and in her left-hand carries, a tabula ansata inscribed JULY IV MDCCLXXVI (July 4, 1776, in Roman numerals), the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. A broken shackle and chain lie at her feet as she walks forward, commemorating the recent national abolition of slavery. After its dedication, the statue became an icon of freedom and the United States, seen as a symbol of welcome to immigrants arriving by sea.
Bartholdi was inspired by a French law professor and politician, Édouard René de Laboulaye, who is said to have commented in 1865 that any monument raised to U.S. independence would properly be a joint project of the French and U.S. peoples. The Franco-Prussian War delayed progress until 1875 when Laboulaye proposed that the French finance the statue and the U.S. provide the site and build the pedestal. Bartholdi completed the head, and the torch-bearing arm before the figure was fully designed, and these pieces were exhibited for publicity at international expositions. Top HVAC NYC
The torch-bearing arm was displayed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876 and Madison Square Park in Manhattan from 1876 to 1882. Fundraising proved difficult, especially for the Americans, and by 1885 work on the pedestal was threatened by lack of funds. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World started a drive for donations to finish the project and attracted more than 120,000 contributors, most of whom gave less than a dollar (equivalent to $29 in 2020). The statue was built in France, shipped overseas in crates, and assembled on the completed pedestal on what was then called Bedloe’s Island. New York’s first ticker-tape parade marked the statue’s completion and a dedication ceremony presided over by President Grover Cleveland.
The statue was administered by the United States Lighthouse Board until 1901 and then by the Department of War; since 1933, it has been maintained by the National Park Service as part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and is a significant tourist attraction. Public access to the balcony around the torch has been barred since 1916.
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