The famous Statue of Liberty is one of the most recognizable monuments in the world. It is considered America’s national treasure, owing to its imposing, yet welcoming and comforting sight. The Statue was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1984.
The Statue of Liberty stands at the entrance of the New York Harbor, as a symbol and celebration of the nation’s cherished values of freedom and liberty. Every year, millions of tourists visit to get a glimpse of this awe-inspiring, iconic structure.
The Statue of Liberty was formally known as ‘Liberty Enlightening the World.’ The inception of its idea took place in 1865, when French poet and jurist, Édouard René Lefèbvre de Laboulaye, proposed the idea of presenting this gift to the people of the United States of America as a symbol of the friendship shared between France and America.
Laboulaye was an ardent supporter of America and was deeply moved by the abolition of slavery in the nation in the same year. He also wanted to commemorate the centennial milestone anniversary of the Declaration of Independence achieved by America with this statue, reflective of the nation’s ideals of liberty and freedom.
Architecture and Construction
When this idea was conceptualized, renowned sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi was present as well. He was in agreement with Laboulaye’s proclamation and came up with the idea of this structure that was destined to become one of the most popular figures in the world.
The Statue of Liberty stands tall at 305 feet including its pedestal. The statue is of a woman holding a torch measuring 29 feet in her right hand, raised to a great length towards the sky. In her left hand is a tablet that displays the eminent date of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.
The architecture was not accidental as every part of the statue represented an ideology important to America. The crown on the figure’s head denoted light with rays extending out to the rest of the world. This was representative of the idea that this monumental decision would be a significant step in aspiring and imparting liberty to the rest of the world. The tablet paid ode to the Declaration of Independence with broken chains and shackles at the statue’s foot.
It is believed that Bartholdi modeled the woman’s face after his own mother, employing the use of large copper sheets to form the statue’s skin. The skeleton of the statue was created by Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, designer of the world-renowned Eiffel Tower. The skeleton was crafted using iron pylon and steel, allowing the copper to move independently. This was necessary, given the strong winds that the statue would have to endure in its choice of location. While most of the work was completed in France, funds were raised in the United States to include the pedestal for the statue.
The Statue of Liberty neared completion in 1885 in France. From there, it was disassembled and shipped to America in 200 crates. It took 4 months to reassemble the figure and mount it on the pedestal. The Statue of Liberty was officially unveiled on October 28, 1886, by President Grover Cleveland in the presence of thousands of onlookers.
To this day, the Statue of Liberty stands as a source of pride for Americans rooting for liberty and independence, welcoming the entry of immigrants into the country.
Author: Amita Vadlamudi