The Statue of Liberty is one of the most famous and well recognized monuments in the entire world. It symbolizes freedom, prosperity, and the chance to begin a new life. But what is the history behind this amazing sculpture? Lady liberty comes from the people of France, who gave it to the United States on October 28, 1886 when the statue was officially commissioned. The statue is modeled after a Roman goddess known as Libertas, the goddess of freedom. She is wearing a robe, a crown, and is carrying a torch in one hand and a tablet in the other. The statue is over 300 feet tall from the ground to the tip of her torch, and can be seen from air, land, and sea.
The idea for the Statue of Liberty first began when a French professor started up a conversation about how America and France should work together, side by side. He said that if the nation of France were to give the US a monument, it would help to strengthen the bond between the two countries. During this conversation, a sculptor by the name of Frederic Bartholdi was present, and he was inspired by the idea. Several years passed, and Bartholdi began the work on his statue in 1877. The head of the Statue of Liberty was finished first and was put on display at the 1878 Paris World's Fair. Soon, the rest of the statue was being built, and the base was being built on Liberty Island in New York City. It was a huge task, but there were many workers helping to get the job done.
Finally, the magnificent Statue of Liberty was dedicated in a ceremony on October 28, 1886. President Grover Cleveland led the ceremony and a grand parade took place that morning. That evening, the torch was lit up, serving as a symbol of freedom and prosperity for all Americans and for all who came to her shores in search of a better life. Immigrants who came to the United States through Ellis Island often revered the Statue of Liberty as a welcoming sight and an inspiration to help them seek out the best life they could in their new land. Ever since, she has been a beacon for countless people, and an inspiration for all Americans.
The Statue of Liberty was turned over to the National Park Service by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933. This allowed it to become a historical monument where visitors could come and explore. Most nights, the statue's torch remains lit, but during the blackouts in World War II, it was not. In the early 1980s, she underwent a massive restoration which helped to preserve her original shape and give the statue added strength so it would continue to stand the test of time. After September 11th, the Statue of Liberty was closed to visitors temporarily due to safety reasons, but it has since been reopened. Over the next several years, thousands of people have come to visit the Statue of Liberty and pay tribute to her beauty. It still remains one of the most popular places to see in the entire world. In fact, there is even a replica of the Statue of Liberty at a famous hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada!
For more information about the Statue of Liberty and her history, please refer to the following websites:
- The National Park Service - This is the official NPS website for the Statue of Liberty.
- Lady Liberty Lesson Plan - Check out this lesson plan to learn more about how the Statue of Liberty became a national symbol.
- Thomas Edison Film - Watch a film that Thomas Edison made of the Statue of Liberty.
- Hangout: The Statue of Liberty - This website designed for kids is all about the Statue of Liberty!
- Historical Handbook - This site has an excellent history all about the sculpting and background of lady liberty.
- A Brief Overview of the Statue - Read here for a brief overview of the Statue of Liberty.
- Arrival in New York Harbor - This site explores when the Statue of Liberty first arrived in New York Harbor.
- A Digital History - You can learn much more about the Statue of Liberty by exploring this digital history.
- Image - This is an image of the Statue of Liberty from 1885's Scientific American magazine.
- Emma Lazarus Poem - This poem was said to be a tribute to the beautiful Statue of Liberty.
- Frederic Bartholi - You can learn more about the famous sculptor of the Statue of Liberty here.
- History for Kids - This site has references and a history designed for kids about the Statue of Liberty.
- The Light of Liberty - This is the National Geographic for Kids website all about lady liberty.
- First Grade Lesson Plan - Here is a lesson plan for first graders based on the Statue of Liberty.
- Taking Flight with Lady Liberty - This page has some amazing images of lady liberty from the perspective of a pilot.
- Remarks at the Reopening - This is a transcript of the remarks spoken by President Ronald Reagan at its official reopening.
- Quiz - Take this quiz to learn more about the Statue of Liberty.
- The Ellis Island Foundation - Find out more about the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island foundation.
- Image Gallery - Look here for some amazing images of the famous statue.
- Ellis Island - You can find information here about Ellis Island, the famous site that is attached to the Statue of Liberty's history.