On This Day

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty, New York
The Statue of Liberty, New York

Historical Context

The Statue of Liberty or in full Liberty Enlightening the World was first proposed by the French thinker Édouard René de Laboulaye as a gift from the French people to America and to commemorate the abolition of slavery.

Designed by the French sculptor Frédéric Bartholdi, construction began in 1870 with Gustave Eiffel designing and building the interior metal framework. The statue was completed in France before being disassembled and shipped to America in 1885. It was then reassembled on what was then called Bedloe Island (now Liberty Island) in New York Harbour and dedicated by President Grover Cleveland in 1886.

The statue depicts Liberty striding forward with a torch raised in her right hand, her left holds a tabula ansata with the date of the declaration of independence. Emma Lazarus's poem "The New Colossus" composed to raise money for the statue was inscribed inside the pedestal in 1903 with its famous lines " "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,". The monument is now not only a symbol of Liberty but of the city of New York and America itself. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.

Monument Info

Photographer: Spc. Sarah Martens
Location: Liberty Island, New York, USA

Source: U.S. Army Reserve

Related Events

  • 1879-02-18 Sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi is awarded a patent for his design for the Statue of Liberty
  • 1881-10-24 Levi P Morton, US ambassador to France drives first rivet in Statue of Liberty
  • 1884-07-04 Statue of Liberty presented to US in Paris
  • 1884-08-05 Cornerstone for Statue of Liberty laid on Bedloe's Island (NYC)
  • 1885-06-17 Statue of Liberty arrives in NYC aboard French ship `Isere'
  • 1885-08-11 $100,000 raised in US for pedestal for Statue of Liberty
  • 1886-10-28 Statue of Liberty dedicated by US President Grover Cleveland, celebrated by first confetti (ticker tape) parade in New York City
  • 1924-10-15 US President Calvin Coolidge declares Statue of Liberty a national monument
  • 1936-10-28 FDR rededicates Statue of Liberty on its 50th anniversary
  • 1965-05-11 Ellis Island added to Statue of Liberty National monument
  • 1983-04-08 In front of a live audience of 20 tourists, David Copperfield makes the Statue of Liberty disappear
  • 1986-07-03 US President Reagan presides over relighting of renovated Statue of Liberty
  • 1986-07-05 Nancy Reagan cuts a red, white and blue ribbon to reopen Statue of Liberty after refurbishment
  • 1986-10-28 The centennial of the Statue of Liberty's dedication is celebrated in New York Harbor
  • 2004-08-03 The pedestal of the Statue of Liberty reopens after being closed since the September 11, 2001 attacks
  • 2009-07-04 The Statue of Liberty's crown reopens to the public after 8 years, due to security reasons following the World Trade Center attacks

Historical Monuments