What is the Statue of Liberty?
For a very long time, people have been coming to America from other countries for the opportunity to build a better life for their families. These people are call immigrants.
In the 1800s and early 1900s, many of these people arrived by sea. Since 1886 the Statue of Liberty has been standing on an island in New York harbor to greet them.
To the people arriving in America in hopes of a better life, the Statue of Liberty symbolizes hope, escape from hardship, and freedom.
The Statue of Liberty is an American symbol of freedom. Its official name is Liberty Enlightening the world, but most refer to the statue as the Statue of Liberty. She has also been called Lady Liberty and Mother of Exiles.
Where did the Statue of Liberty come from?
The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the people of France. Why did the French give America the gift of the Statue of Liberty? Find out below.
It all started with an idea from Edouard de Laboulaye. Edouard de Laboulaye was a French lawyer, teacher, and historian who also studied the American constitution. The constitution states how the American government is allowed to operate. It also guarantees American citizens certain rights and freedoms. Laboulaye also wanted that for the French people.
Before the constitution, before America was its own country, it was a set of 13 colonies. The 13 colonies started with settlers from England who left that country for religious freedom. The 13 colonies were still under British rule. The people of the colonies no longer wanted to be under British rule, they wanted their own country. A war erupted. The colonists fought the British in the war called the Revolutionary War. The colonists had help from the French. They won that war and America was born. We celebrate that day with a holiday called the 4th of July.
In 1865 Edouard de Laoulaye has an idea. He wanted to give a gift to the United States to celebrate the alliance between the French and the United States during the Revolutionary War. His idea was to give a gift of a statue to the United States to commemorate the perseverance of freedom and democracy in the United States. He hoped that it would inspire the French to create their own democracy. He had a dinner party and invited friends to share his thoughts and dreams of French democracy. People believed in his idea.
Laoulaye picked French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi to design the sculpture. The plan was to split the costs of building the statue between France and the United States. France would pay for the statue and the United States would pay for the pedestal the statue would sit on. Bartholdi met with businessmen, politicians, and wealthy families in both the United States and France to raise money to build the statue.
Building the Statue
Bartholdi knew that we would need help with such a large statue. He reached out to a French engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel for help. Eiffel would later build the famous Eiffel Tower.
Bartholdi wanted the statue to look as if it was in motion. He wanted it to reflect the struggle Americans went through to gain their freedom. To do this he designed her to appear as if she was moving forward, and designed her to have one foot in front of the other. The broken chains at the bottom of her feet symbolize freedom from oppression.
The statue was built out of steel. The outside is made of layers of copper. The Statue of Liberty was originally the same color as a penny. It turned green over the years from a combination of the oxygen in the air and weathering.
In 1876 the completed arm and torch were brought to Philadelphia for the Centennial Exposition. It received many visitors. When it was over it was brought to New York City to be placed on display. It was also visited by many visitors from New Yorkers.
Bartholdi continued working on the statue. In March of 1885, the statue was finished and ready to be shipped to New York.
How was the Statue of Liberty transported to America?
Due to its large size, the statue could not be brought to New York in one piece. It was broken down into 300 pieces and shipped in more than 200 crates.
It arrived in New York on June 17, 1885.
Once it was in New York it sat waiting for the pedestal to be completed. The pedestal was completed in April 1886. It was then reassembled on the pedestal.
On October 28th, 1886 the Statue of Liberty has a dedication led by President Grover Cleveland and Frederic Bartholdi. Thousands and thousands of people show up for the dedication.
The New Colossus
The poem on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty is called “The New Colossus.” The poem was written by Emma Lazdrus in 1883. Emma lived in New York City. Freedom for all people was very important to her. She lived in a time where women were not treated equally to men. Lazdrus was also Jewish American and believed that Jewish people like women were mistreated. She spoke out about her feelings to many crowds. When she was approached to write the poem to raise money to build the pedestal, she was honored. She wrote “The New Colossus,” which was a message about freedom for all.
The New Colossus
“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to lands
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, who flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands your storied pomp!” Cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your 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!”
What does the Statue of Liberty look like?
The Statue of Liberty is a woman, dressed in a long robe and has a crown on top of her head. Bartholdi’s design was based on Libertas, the Roman Goddess of Liberty. Libertas was featured on both Roman coins and French seals. On both the coins and the seals Libertas was shown as a woman in a long robe with a spiked crown.
Bartholdi also liked the French painting called France Enlightening the World by artist Ange-Louis Janet-Lange. In the painting Liberty as a woman was holding up a torch in one hand. He liked the message in the painting and named the statue Liberty Enlighting the World.
Now we know that the Statue of Liberty also known as Lady Liberty is a woman dressed in a long robe with a crown on top of her head. She holds a tabula ansate (tablet) in her left arm that has the date July 4th, 1776 written in Roman Numerals July IV MDCCLXXVI. July 4th, 1776 was the day America gained its independence. In her right hand, she holds up a torch.
She stands upon a pedestal. She wears sandals and at the bottom of her feet are broken shackles. The shackles represent freedom from oppression. Fun Fact her shoe size is 879!
The Statue of Liberty’s crown has 25 windows and seven spikes. The seven spikes are meant to look like a halo. The seven spikes represent the seven seas and the seven continents.
The Seven Seas
- North Atlantic
- South Atlantic
- North Pacific
- South Pacific
The Seven Continents
- North America
- South America
The torch Lady Liberty holds in her right hand represents the light showing the path to liberty. As people came into America they would see the torch held high in the sky. The torch’s flame was made of copper. In 1986 it was replaced with a 24-carat gold-plated flame.
Where is the Statue of Liberty Located?
The statue is located on a small island in New York Harbor called Liberty Island. It was used to be called Bedloe’s Island. In 1956 its name was changed to Liberty Island.
The Statue of Liberty’s address is Liberty Island, New York, NY 10004.
Can you Visit the Statue of Liberty?
The Statue has been closed to visitors for repairs many times throughout history. In September 2001 the statue was closed to all visitors due to the city’s terror attacks. The museum and pedestal reopened in 2004 and in 2009 the statue reopened.
Today, you can purchase tickets online to visit the Statue of Liberty. An adult ticket to climb to the crown and take the ferry from New York is $22 a child’s ticket (4-12) is $12.
If you are going to climb to the crown, it is encouraged that you purchase your tickets ahead of time. Only 240 people are allowed to climb to the crown daily.
Approxmeitly 4 million people visit the Statue of Liberty every year.
Statue of Liberty Measurements
From the foundation to the top the Statue of Liberty is 305 ft and 1 inch tall.
From her base to the top are 151 ft and 1 inch.
Her head is 17 ft and 3 inches long
Her nose is 4 ft and 6 inches long
The arm holding the torch is 42 ft long.
Her index finger is 8ft long.
The waist is 35 feet round
The width of the head from ear to ear is 10 ft.
If you wanted to climb to the top of the Statue of Liberty, you would have to walk up 354 steps.
She weighs 225 tons, that’s 450,000 pounds!
IN 1984 the Statue of Liberty was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. UNESCO stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
She moves! When there are strong winds the statue can sway 3 inches, her torch can sway 5 inches.
The Statue of Liberty gets struck by lightening over 600 times a year.