What was the process by which the US obtained the statue of liberty?

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By Kristy Tolley

The History of the Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is an iconic symbol of freedom and democracy recognized worldwide. It stands tall on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, welcoming millions of visitors each year. However, the journey to bring this magnificent monument to the United States was not an easy one. It took over 20 years of planning, fundraising, and construction before it was finally erected in New York City.

The Idea and Purpose of the Statue

The idea of a monument to celebrate the friendship between the United States and France was first proposed by French historian Edouard de Laboulaye in 1865. The statue would serve as a symbol of the two countries’ shared values of liberty and democracy. It would also commemorate the centennial of American independence, which was due to take place in 1876.

The French Connection: Bartholdi and Eiffel

French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was chosen to design the statue. He traveled to America in 1871 to scout locations and eventually chose Bedloe’s Island (now Liberty Island) in New York Harbor as the site. Bartholdi enlisted the help of French engineer Gustave Eiffel to design the iron skeleton that would support the statue. Eiffel, who would later become famous for designing the Eiffel Tower in Paris, created a system of interconnected iron bars that would support the copper skin of the statue.

Fundraising in France and America

The cost of building the statue was estimated to be over $250,000, which would be approximately $6.5 million today. Bartholdi and his team raised funds for the statue in both France and America. In America, newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer helped to raise over $100,000 from public donations. Meanwhile, French citizens donated money through public subscription, and the French government provided additional funding.

Constructing the Statue in France

Construction of the statue began in France in 1876. Bartholdi and his team worked on creating the statue’s copper skin, using over 300 sheets of thin copper. The copper sheets were hammered into shape, and the pieces were joined together by rivets. The statue was designed to be hollow, and it was built around an iron framework that would provide support.

Disassembling and Shipping to the US

Once the statue was complete, it was disassembled into 350 individual pieces and packed into more than 200 crates. The crates were then loaded onto the French frigate Isere and shipped to America. The journey across the Atlantic took about a month, and the statue arrived in New York Harbor in June 1885.

Rebuilding the Statue: The Pedestal

The statue was reassembled on the pedestal, which had been constructed on Bedloe’s Island. The pedestal was designed by American architect Richard Morris Hunt and funded through public donations. However, the pedestal was not completed in time for the statue’s unveiling, so the statue remained covered with a large French flag for several months.

Unveiling the Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty was officially unveiled on October 28, 1886, in a ceremony presided over by President Grover Cleveland. The ceremony included speeches, music, and a parade. The statue quickly became a symbol of hope and freedom for millions of immigrants who entered the United States through New York Harbor in the following years.

The Statue’s Symbolic Meaning

The Statue of Liberty represents many things to many people. To some, it represents the American dream, the pursuit of happiness, and the freedoms outlined in the Constitution. To others, it symbolizes the friendship between France and America, the ideals of democracy and liberty, and the hope that people from all over the world can come together to create a better future.

Historical Importance of the Statue

The Statue of Liberty has played an important role in American history, both as a symbol of freedom and as a welcome to immigrants. It has become an iconic landmark in New York City and is recognized worldwide as a symbol of freedom and democracy. The statue was designated as a National Monument in 1924 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.

Conclusion: The Legacy of the Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty has stood tall for over 135 years, welcoming millions of visitors and immigrants to the United States. It remains as relevant today as it was when it was first erected, reminding us of the importance of democracy, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The legacy of the statue will continue for generations to come, inspiring people from all over the world to come together in pursuit of a better future.

References and Further Readings

  • The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. (n.d.). History of the Statue of Liberty. Retrieved October 12, 2021 from
  • National Park Service. (n.d.). Statue of Liberty National Monument. Retrieved October 12, 2021 from https://www.nps.gov/stli/index.htm
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (n.d.). Statue of Liberty. Retrieved October 12, 2021 from https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/307/
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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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