Statue of Liberty

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 Harbor in New York City, in 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 its metal framework was built by Gustave Eiffel. The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886.

Since the early 20th century, Statue of Liberty has been at the heart of many political discussions. Its architecture and location in New York Harbor were controversial topics when it was proposed by French diplomat Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, who initially envisioned the statue holding an anchor in its right hand. Construction began in 1875, six years before Eiffel’s death. The project was financed by donations from U.S., French and German sources. The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886 by U.S. President Grover Cleveland.

The statue was a gift to the United States from the people of France, to symbolize Franco-American friendship. Bartholdi’s design presented a “terracotta Colossus of Rhodes” with one arm posited as holding a torch, with the other arm stretched out to the Bill of Rights. According to the architectural critic Paul Schulze-Naumburg, Bartholdi’s vision was for his statue to represent “Peace and Freedom”. The silver pedestal was supposedly designed by Gustave Eiffel during construction, but it is now believed that Eiffel had less than nothing to do with its design. Bartholdi had seen the 1832 sculpture of “The Colossus of Rhodes” on his 1857 visit to the Paris Salon; its image was burned into his memory.

Statue of Liberty (1906)
The Statue of Liberty (French: La Liberté éclairant le monde; official name: The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World; sometimes nicknamed “Lady Liberty”) is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York City, in 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 its metal framework erected by Gustave Eiffel. The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886.

Policeman with walking stick looking at Statue of Liberty (1907)
The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York City. The copper statue, designed by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886, commemorates the centennial of the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence and is a greeting from the French people to the American people.

In the 20th century, the statue has been a welcoming beacon to immigrants arriving from abroad. Many people, including immigrants, lounge on the statue’s base during summer months. In July 1986, French president Francois Mitterrand presented President Ronald Reagan with a gift from France, a replica of the Statue of Liberty located at Pont Neuf in Paris.

The statue is a central part of Statue of Liberty National Monument and is administered by the National Park Service.

Statue of Liberty (1908)
Constructing the Statue of Liberty cost $400,000. That amount would be worth roughly $11 million in 2015 dollars. The statue itself is made of copper sheets on a frame of steel.

The statue did not become popular with Americans until the 40th anniversary of its dedication in 1916. By that point, its political importance had grown considerably, especially among immigrants who had seen the statue while moving to the United States. The statue’s popularity inspired other symbols for American freedoms, such as the bald eagle and Old Glory.

Statue of Liberty (1914)
The Statue of Liberty is a huge neoclassical sculpture, designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, on its pedestal on Liberty Island in New York Harbor. It was dedicated on October 28, 1886. Bartholdi constructed the statue from a copper framework he designed himself with support from Gustave Eiffel. After the statue was erected on Liberty Island in 1886, Bartholdi returned to France to work for two years. After his death at age 81 in 1900, his son built a mausoleum for Bartholdi beside the statue.

In 1903, the New York City Board of Estimate, a city council that oversaw the capital budget, approved a plan to replace Bartholdi’s statue in the following century with a copy of a statue in Paris. By 1906, public pressure had grown so intense that New York City Mayor Charles Widener announced that either the city would donate funds for a new statue or assume responsibility for taking down Bartholdi’s copper statue. New York Mayor George B. McClellan Jr., who had considerable political power over the board of estimate, was keen to remove the statue and suggested funding its replacement. Among those opposed was Thomas Edison, who argued against replacing it on grounds of cost alone.

The issue was raised by the Metropolis Club, a New York City civic group of influential men such as J. P. Morgan and Senator Nelson W. Aldrich; Aldrich arranged for the city to donate $1 million towards a new statue and prevent its removal from the island. This meant that after years of political wrangling, on October 28, 1914, the statue on Liberty Island was replaced with a duplicate on Paris’s Île de la Cité.

Statue of Liberty (1950s)
In 1950, French president Vincent Auriol offered to sell the Statue of Liberty to the United States for $160 million. In April 1950, President Harry S Truman settled on a price of $105 million ($ today). The money was paid to the French government on June 15, 1956, and the statue was dedicated on October 28 of that year.

Statue of Liberty (1980s)
In a speech at New York’s Battery Park after his 1981 inauguration, President Ronald Reagan made a pledge that the Statue would be restored: “I have been asked if we plan to restore the statue. The answer is yes.” After many years of neglect and exposure to harsh weather, the Statue needed extensive work. A combination of federal budget cuts and private donations supported restoration efforts. In 1984, as part of those efforts, President Reagan unveiled a plaque in honor of those who worked to preserve it.

Statue of Liberty (2008)
The Statue of Liberty was closed for restoration in March 2013. The statue was closed to visitors for less than two weeks while engineers inspected its structural integrity. The statue reopened on July 4, 2013 after the repairs were deemed successful.

Statue of Liberty (2011)
In August 2012, Army National Guardsman Isaac Sederbaum, who was deployed to Afghanistan that month, climbed the Statue of Liberty’s arm and attached a small American flag to one of the statue’s torch-bearing hands. During his climb up to the Statue of Liberty he was injured in combat with an IED explosion. The New York City Rescue workers had to cut off his climbing gear and lift him to safety. At least ten other people were hurt in the explosion including two members of the Military Police. Capt. Matthew Wright was among those who helped rescue Sederbaum. He said the statue had become a symbol of war for soldiers, especially after the death of soldier Humayun Khan in Iraq in 2004. He told Reuters, “I have lots of friends who are deployed right now […] They all send me pictures back. It’s more than just a monument to America’s history, it’s a symbol for our current veterans.”

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