The Statue of Liberty

In 1865, Frenchman, Edouard de Laboulay, was the first person to propose the idea building a monument for the United States to celebrate America's centennial of the Declaration of Independence. Due to lack of funds, it wasn"t until ten years later that Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was commissioned to design a sculpture. Bartholdi is said to have modeled the face of the statue after his mother. The statue was named,"Liberty Enlightening the World," but is now known as the "Statue of Liberty" or "Lady Liberty." It was/is a symbol of friendship between France and the United States.

The statue was a joint effort between America and France. The American people agreed to build the statue's pedestal while the French were to build the statue and assemble it in the United States. Alexander-Gustave Eiffel, the man who designed the Eiffel Tower, was brought on by the French to assist in designing the statue. In order to raise the necessary funds many art exhibitions, auctions, and benefits, were held to raise money. Still, the fundraising went slowly so Joseph Pulitzer used his newspaper to criticize both the wealthy who wouldn't donate and the middle-class who just relied on the wealthy for the funds. Soon the American people became motivated to help build the statue and donated to the building of the it.

In transit, the Statue was reduced to 350 individual pieces and packed in 214 crates. The Statue was reassembled on her new pedestal in four months' time. On October 28, 1886 (ten years after it's goal date), President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty in front of thousands of spectators.

In 1892, the U.S. government opened a federal immigration station on Ellis Island. Because of that millions of immigrants have seen the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of freedom and democracy. They also see a sonnet, "The New Colossus," by Emma Lazarus as a welcoming symbol. The poem says, "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!"