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Statue of Liberty
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThe Statue of Liberty is one of the most famous statues in the world. The official name is ‘Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World’ (‘La Liberté Eclairant le Monde’ in French). This enormous statue is located on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in Manhattan, New York City and is one of the most well-known landmarks in the United States. The total height of the structure, including statue and pedestal, is 305 feet.
The statue was a gift from France to the people of the United States for the centenary of American independence. Designed by the French-Italian sculptor, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, and built with the collaboration of Gutstave Eiffel , it was inaugurated on October 28, 1886. The statue represents Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom. The robed female statue carries a torch and a tabula ansata with the date of the Declaration of Independence inscribed on it.
It is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy and, since its inauguration, has welcomed millions of immigrants to the United States.
HistoryThe Statue of Liberty really is a symbol of freedom and democracy. It was built in a time of mass immigration to the United States. Located at the entrance of New York Harbor, it has been the first sight of America for innumerable immigrants. The statue was funded by an international community and the fact that the statue itself was built in France and shipped to New York City only adds to its symbolic significance.
The statue’s origins are generally said to come from a comment made by Edouard René de Laboulaye, a French politician and law professor who, in 1965 after the end of the American Civil War, said that if a monument was to be built in the United States to celebrate its independence, then it should be a joint effort of France and America. The order for a statue was placed in the late 1860s, but construction didn’t start until the beginning of the 1870s, due to the unstable political situation in France.
It was decided to choose Libertas, the goddess of freedom in ancient Rome, as the symbolic model for the statue. A Liberty figure was already present on most American coins and also in popular art at the time. Lady Liberty would be the American version of Britannia in the United Kingdom and Marianna in France. The sculptor, Bartholdi, worked out the design and details of the statue in his studio in Paris. The skeleton that would be the interior framework of the huge statue was designed and executed by Eiffel, who would later design the Eiffel Tower. It was agreed that the French would finance the statue, while the Americans would construct the pedestal and provide the site.
The first pieces to be completed were the head and torch-bearing arm. They were finished long before the rest of the statue, to be used for publicity at international exhibitions. The arm was shown at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia and from 1876 until 1882 in Madison Square Park in Manhattan. Fundraising was difficult for the Americans and the building of the pedestal was in danger because of lack of money. It was Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World who started a campaign for donations. More than 120,000 people ended up contributing, most of them donating less than a dollar, and enough money was raised to complete the pedestal.
The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886, with a parade and a huge crowd of spectators ranging between several hundreds of thousands and a million, depending on the source. The head of the parade was President Cleveland. He was followed by bands and marchers from all around the country. That parade was the very first ticker-tape parade ever held in New York City.
The structure became a National Monument in 1924.
Visiting the Statue of LibertyLocated on Liberty Island in New York Habor, an island that in fact lies in New Jersey waters but still is New York territory, the Statue of Liberty can be reached by ferry from Lower Manhattan and Jersey City. Entrance to the Statue of Liberty National Monument is free, but all visitors have to pay for a ferry ticket as private boats aren’t allowed to dock at Liberty Island. People who want to enter the pedestal or climb the staircase to Lady Liberty’s crown must purchase an additional museum/pedestal ticket with their ferry tickets.
A free way to get close to the Statue of Liberty is the Staten Island Ferry, a commuter ferry that runs between Manhattan and Staten Island and right past the statue.
Similar LandmarksNew York City is chock-full of other major landmarks. Examples are the Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, Central Park, One World Trade Center, and the Empire State Building, among many others.
Examples of other famous statues around the world are Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, the Moai Statues on Easter Island, and the Statue of David in Florence, Italy.
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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Jan 10, 2015