- This statue was a gift from France to the United States.
- Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi was created out of hammered copper.
- Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel made the steel frame.
- The Statue of Liberty was given to the US and put on a pedestal to be safe in New York Bay.
- It stood tall for many years because people came to America from Ellis Island nearby, and they were pleased when they saw it.
- The Statue of Liberty still stands today as an international symbol of freedom, democracy and one of the world’s most recognized landmarks.
During the American Civil War, a French person named Edouard de Laboulaye proposed to give an American democracy to celebrate America’s success.
A sculptor named Frederic Auguste Bartholdi wanted to make a statue for the Americans’ centennial of Independence. The French people would be responsible for making the statue, and the Americans would build its pedestal. The statue is meant to symbolize friendship between our two countries.
The statue of liberty was not built until 1875. People needed money to build it, so they didn’t start until then. The woman holds a torch in her right hand, and the Declaration of Independence is on the left side, which had an adoption date of July 4th, 1776.
To make the statue, Mr. Bartholdi used large copper sheets and a technique called repousse to make the statue’s “skin.” He also called on Monsieur Eiffel to help design the skeleton of the statue.
Along with Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, Eiffel built a skeleton out of iron. This helped the skin to move independently. The skin was made of copper, and it needed to be robust against the wind. That is why they put it in New York Harbor.
While people were working on the statue in France, people in the US were raising funds to build the pedestal. They used contests, benefits, and exhibitions to do this. Near the end of fundraising, Joseph Pulitzer used his newspaper, The World, to raise enough money for the pedestal.
In 1885, the artist Bartholdi finished the statue. It was taken apart and put in 200 boxes. In June of that year, it arrived in New York on the French ship Isere.
Construction workers rebuilt the statue and put it on a pedestal. The height of the statue was 93 meters, including the pedestal. On October 28, 1886, President Grover Cleveland formally dedicated the Statue of Liberty.
Funding the Statue
Lady Liberty has always been important to fundraising. It started when people wanted to build the Statue of Liberty. France would make the statue and put it together in America, but Americans needed to raise money for the pedestal.
In France, they used public fees, entertainment, and a lottery to raise funds. In the US., they would use these things too to raise money for something called the pedestal. Emma Lazarus wrote her famous sonnet, The New Colossus, in 1883 for an art and literary auction.
People weren’t donating to the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty. So in 1885, Joseph Pulitzer used his newspaper to help gather donations. He said that if people donated money, their names would be printed on the paper, and they would get a reward. 120,000 people gave $100,00, and they secured all of the money needed for the pedestal.
The Statue Crosses the Atlantic
For its trip across the Atlantic Ocean, the Statue of Liberty was put into 350 pieces. It was put into 214 boxes. This happened on a boat called the Isère.
The ship arrived in New York Harbor on June 17th, 1885. While waiting to be built up, it stayed in pieces at Bedloe’s Island for five years before being finished up and put together so people could see it again.
The Statue of Liberty Pedestal
The Statue of Liberty pedestal was made by an American architect named Richard Morris Hunt. The statue’s pedestal was built inside the courtyard of a fortress on Bedloe’s Island.
The pedestal was finished in 1886, and on October 28, 1886, the Statue of Liberty was finally dedicated. President Grover Cleveland oversaw it. Thousands of people were there.
The base of the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal has exhibits about the monument. The original torch is also in this place. It was stopped to allow people to go up after German operatives set off an explosion nearby when there was a war.
The Statue of Liberty and her island have changed over time. For centuries, the island was a source of food for the Lenape native people and Dutch settlers.
In 1807, the US Army took over this island and made it into a military post. They built an 11-point fort to protect New York Harbor because it is so close to the city. Later, they changed its name from Fort Wood to Fort Jay, which is now called.
In 1892, the US government permitted people to enter the US, and they did that by going to Ellis Island near Bedloe’s Island in Upper New York Bay. From 1892-1954, 12 million people went there to be processed before getting permission to enter America. From 1900 10 1914, more than 5,000-10,000 people went through the island every single day!
With her torch ablaze and welcoming words etched on the pedestal, the Statue of Liberty beckoned Americans to come to America. It is made of copper and steel. There is a plaque that says “The New Colossus” on it. Emma Lazarus wrote this poem for a contest. Nevertheless, the poem became famous as it reads on the pedestal of the statue.
Give me your tired; you are poor
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
The Statue of Liberty is famous for welcoming immigrants to America. Millions of people came with hope and desire to find a better life. This statue has been a symbol of freedom and democracy for them.
As Bartholdi envisioned in 1874, the flame on the Statue of Liberty’s torch was not to be lit. It was made out of a solid copper sheet, and it had gold to make it shiny when the sun was out. But in its first 50 years, the torch went through many changes.
In 1886, two rows of holes were cut out of the copper at the bottom of the torch to light it from inside. Later, a large belt of glass was put over a row. Also, a glass skylight that had red, white, and yellow glass was situated on the top.
Changes were made in 1916 when copper was removed in about 250 places and replaced with amber-colored cathedral glass. A new lighting system was installed. Then they had to place two holes and cut them in the floor of the balcony. This was around the flame. Then, through the holes, two projectors were put. By this time, Bartholdi’s design had been drastically altered.
In the 1980s, when the Statue of Liberty was being repaired for its 100th anniversary, a team of experts found that they could not fix the original torch. It had been changed a lot over 100 years, and it was mostly a glass flame.
The original torch above the handle was damaged by the rain and the elements. It couldn’t be fixed, so it was removed on July 4, 1984.
A replica of it was made to follow Bartholdi’s design. The original torch is on display in the Statue of Liberty Museum’s Inspiration Gallery.
The Statue of Liberty during the 20th Century
Until 1901, the US Lighthouse Board operated the Statue of Liberty. It was a signal to sailors that they were close to shore and could find their way by looking for the statue’s torch. In 1901, it became part of the US War Department because Fort Wood was still an army post, and it needed someone to take care of it.
Then the government made the statue a national monument. It was given to the care of the National Parks Service. In 1956 it became named Liberty Island. Later it was closed as an immigration station and became part of Liberty Island after being renamed Liberty Island again later that year.
The Statue of Liberty’s copper skin was green because of rain, wind, and sun exposure. In 1984, it was closed so that people couldn’t go inside. Then, in time for its 100th birthday celebration, it was restored.
The Statue of Liberty has been a World Heritage Site and was even designated so by the UN. However, because there was restoration work going on, it did not re-open until July 1986.
After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the island remained closed for around 100 days. The Statue of Liberty was not open to visitors from then until August 2004. In July 2009, the crown on top of the statue was opened again for people to visit.