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A Brief History of The Statue of Liberty

Picture of Amber C. Snider
Home & Design Editor
Updated: 12 June 2018
Liberty Enlightening the World: Learn the story and symbolism behind the most iconic symbol of New York City, The Statue of Liberty.

Completed in 1886, Lady Liberty found her home in the waters of New York Bay on Liberty Island and quickly became an international beacon of hope to over 9 million immigrants in the 19th century. Designed by french sculptor Frederic Bartholdi, the Statue of Liberty was actually the brainchild of poet and anti-slavery activist Edouard de Laboulaye, who wanted to gift the United States a monument that celebrated the union’s victory in the Civil War and the abolition of slavery. The Statue of Liberty was originally named after the Roman Goddess Liberatas, but her full name is actually Liberty Enlightening the World. Built from iron, steel, and 300 layers of exterior copper, the robed lady stands at approximately 111 feet tall and her right hand extends upwards to hold a 24k gold gilded torch. The base of her pedestal contains a bronze plaque inscribed with a sonnet by American poet Emma Lazarus, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” This has come to represent not only Lady Liberty herself, but the original essence of America. Today she is visited by approximately four million people each year.