Statue of Liberty

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The Statue of Liberty was presented by France to the U.S. this date in 1886.

The Statue of Liberty is a neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York City. The copper statue, designed by Frederic Auguste Bartoldi, a French sculptor, was built by Gustave Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame). It was a gift to the United States from the people of France that harkened back to the fact that France supplied troops and leadership in the American War of Independence and, following the American example, the French undertook their own fight for independence from their monarchy.

The statue is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess, who bears a torch and a tablet evoking the law upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue is an icon of freedom and of the United States. It stands 151 feet from the statue base to the torch; from ground level to the torch is 305 feet 1 inch.

It was proposed that the French finance the statue and the Americans provide the site and build the pedestal. Fundraising proved difficult, especially for the Americans, and by 1885 work on the pedestal was threatened due to lack of funds. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World started a drive for donations to complete the project that attracted more than 120,000 contributors, most of whom gave less than a dollar. The statue was constructed in France, shipped overseas in crates, and assembled on the completed pedestal on what was then called Bedloe’s Island. The statue’s completion was marked by New York’s first ticker-tape parade and a dedication ceremony presided over by President Grover Cleveland.

The statue was administered by the United States Lighthouse Board until 1901 and then by the Department of War. Since1933 it has been maintained by the National Park Service. Public access to the balcony surrounding the torch has been barred for safety reasons since 1916.

(me and Wikipedia)

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