Statue of Liberty History

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4.8
(1990)

On Liberty Island, Lady Liberty aptly represents American ideals of freedom, hope, and democracy.

But do you know it is a gift from France to celebrate America’s independence?

From its beginning as a mere proposal to its current status as a world heritage site, it represents the ever-evolving pursuit of the American dream.

This article will explore its history, from its beginnings to its symbolism and legacy.

Statue of Liberty Origin

Statue of Liberty Origin
Image: Fortune.com

French historian Édouard de Laboulaye conceived the idea of gifting a monument from the French people to the United States in 1865.

This gift was intended to celebrate the upcoming centennial of American independence in 1876.

However, the original design was the brainchild of French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi.

He took inspiration from the Roman goddess Liberta to design a strong female figure holding a torch, showing the light of liberty.

Collaboration

Frederic Bartholdi joined forces with esteemed American architect Richard Morris Hunt to ensure the stability of the monument.

Richard designed Lady Liberty’s iconic pedestal, incorporating elements of Fort Wood.

Crowdfunding

Significant financial contributions were required to construct such a colossal monument.

Public contributions, fundraising events, and even lotteries were conducted in France to aid in the statue’s construction.

On the American side, newspapers, state-run agencies, and even individuals donate to fund the construction of the Statue of Liberty.

When was the Statue of Liberty Built?

Auguste Bartholdi supervised the construction of the statue in France.

He used the repousse technique, where long copper sheets are hammered into shape over an iron framework.

Skilled artisans meticulously crafted each section under his supervision, from flowing robes to the crown.

Journey across the Atlantic

After the statue was completed, it was meticulously assembled into 350 pieces to facilitate transportation.

Each part was carefully crafted and labeled before being separated for the voyage.

A French ship transported all the parts to Bedloe Island in 1885.

The long arm holding the torch had to be shipped separately due to its size.

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Rebirth of Lady Liberty

The reassembly of the statue began on Bedloe Island under the supervision of Richard Hunt.

Multiple cranes, scaffolding, and skilled workers contributed to putting it back together in perfect alignment.

After years of planning and construction, it was finally unveiled on October 28, 1886.

What does the Statue of Liberty represent?

The Statue of Liberty’s design elements symbolize the two nation’s friendship, enlightenment, and the guiding light of liberty.

The broken shackles represent the abolition of oppression and slavery, and the seven points on her crown represent the seven continents.

The date of American independence is sculpted on the book she holds in her left hand, a constant reminder of America’s fight for freedom.

Her right hand, which holds the torch, represents America’s role in the world as a refuge for those who are tired and yearning to be free.

Lazarus’s poem on the statue’s pedestal further emphasizes its role, linking the American tradition to those who seek a better life

The Statue of Liberty’s message transcends national borders and inspires everyone toward a better future.

Its Legacy

The Lady Liberty has deeply impacted American culture and found her way in various art forms.

From postcard stamps to souvenir keyrings, you can find her everywhere.

Countless films, books, and songs have also cemented her legacy in the global consciousness.

Painters have tried to capture it in their imagination, poets have penned verses around it, and sculptures have created miniature replicas, solidifying her position in the cultural landscape.

Impact on the Modern World

It is an inspiration for all the battles for human rights, democracy, and liberty.

Its presence reminds us that the fight for liberty is a journey without a final destination.

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