Statue of Liberty
The large statue located on Liberty Island in New York Harbor is called the Statue of Liberty. France gave the Statue of Liberty to the United States as a gift, dedicated on October 28th, 1886. The Statue of Liberty is now one of the most iconic symbols of the United States of America, and the official name for it is 'Liberty Enlightening the World', but has been referred to as 'Lady Liberty' as well as the 'Mother of Exiles'.
The Statue of Liberty is modeled after Libertas, the Roman goddess who represents liberty. In one hand, she has a torch which she holds above her head and in the other a tablet with July 4th, 1776 written on it (America's birthday). A broken chain is at her feet which represents the breaking off from Britain. The statue of liberty was designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel.
Bartholdi got his inspiration to design the Statue of Liberty from a French law politician and professor Édouard René de Laboulaye. He stated that it would only be right for a monument to celebrate the independence of America to be a joint effort of bother America and France, because of the great help France gave America during the American Revolutionary War.
Because of how unstable France was after their own revolutionary war, work did not start until the early 1870s. It was proposed by Laboulaye in 1875 that the French would finance the statue while Americans would provide land and the base platform. Bartholdi would complete the head as well as the arm that would hold the torch before it was fully designed, and these were showcased worldwide. The arm would be displayed at the Centennial Exposition in 1876 Philadelphia as well as Madison Square Park in Manhattan.
Fundraising proved to be a challenge, especially for America, and work on just the pedestal was threatened due to lack of funds. Joseph Pulitzer, a publisher for the New York World, started to collect donations in order to finish the project and managed to get over 120,000 people to donate, most giving less than a dollar. This allowed the pedestal to be completed. Once the statue was finished, it was shipped overseas in crates and assembled on the finally finished pedestal.
President Glover Cleveland would host the dedication ceremony, and there was a ticker-tape parade, the first of its kind, hosted in New York. The statue was taken care of by the United States Lighthouse Board until 1901, afterwards being handed off to the Department of War. In 1933 however, it changed hands again to the National Park Service, marking the last time it would shift hands.
People can go visit the statue of liberty at any time. There is a ferry that will take you to the island, and you can climb up the stairs and stare out of the top area that has a nice viewing area of the bay. The balcony has been off limits since 1916 due to safety concerns, but as it stands it is a museum and staple to the American dream.
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