The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York City، in the United States. The copper statue، a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States، was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel. The statue was dedicated on October 28، 1886.
The Statue of Liberty is a figure of a robed woman representing Libertas، a Roman liberty goddess. She holds a torch above her head with her right hand، and in her left hand carries a tabula ansata inscribed in Roman numerals with "JULY IV MDCCLXXVI" (July 4، 1776)، the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue became an icon of freedom and of the United States، and was a welcoming sight to immigrants arriving from abroad.
Bartholdi was inspired by a French law professor and politician، Édouard René de Laboulaye، who is said to have commented in 1865 that any monument raised to U.S. independence would properly be a joint project of the French and U.S. peoples. Because of the post-war instability in France، work on the statue did not commence until the early 1870s. In 1875، Laboulaye proposed that the French finance the statue and the U.S. provide the site and build the pedestal. Bartholdi completed the head and the torch-bearing arm before the statue was fully designed، and these pieces were exhibited for publicity at international expositions.
The torch-bearing arm was displayed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876، and in Madison Square Park in Manhattan from 1876 to 1882. Fundraising proved difficult، especially for the Americans، and by 1885 work on the pedestal was threatened by lack of funds. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer، of the New York World، started a drive for donations to finish the project and attracted more than 120،000 contributors، most of whom gave less than a dollar. The statue was built in France، shipped overseas in crates، and assembled on the completed pedestal on what was then called Bedloe's Island. The statue's completion was marked by New York's first ticker-tape parade and a dedication ceremony presided over by President Grover Cleveland.
The statue was administered by the United States Lighthouse Board until 1901 and then by the Department of War; since 1933 it has been maintained by the National Park Service. Public access to the balcony around the torch has been barred for safety since 1916.
UNESCO World Heritage Site: In 1984، the Statue of Liberty was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The UNESCO "Statement of Significance" describes the statue as a "masterpiece of the human spirit" that "endures as a highly potent symbol—inspiring contemplation، debate and protest—of ideals such as liberty، peace، human rights، abolition of slavery، democracy and opportunity."
Fundraising: Fundraising for the statue had begun in 1882. The committee organized a large number of money-raising events. As part of one such effort، an auction of art and manuscripts، poet Emma Lazarus was asked to donate an original work. She initially declined، stating she could not write a poem about a statue. At the time، she was also involved in aiding refugees to New York who had fled anti-Semitic pogroms in eastern Europe. These refugees were forced to live in conditions that the wealthy Lazarus had never experienced. She saw a way to express her empathy for these refugees in terms of the statue. The resulting sonnet، "The New Colossus"، including the iconic lines "Give me your tired، your poorYour huddled masses yearning to breathe free"، is uniquely identified with the Statue of Liberty and is inscribed on a plaque in the museum in its base.
Even with these efforts، fundraising lagged. Grover Cleveland، the governor of New York، vetoed a bill to provide $50،000 for the statue project in 1884. An attempt the next year to have Congress provide $100،000، sufficient to complete the project، also failed. The New York committee، with only $3،000 in the bank، suspended work on the pedestal. With the project in jeopardy، groups from other American cities، including Boston and Philadelphia، offered to pay the full cost of erecting the statue in return for relocating it.
Joseph Pulitzer، publisher of the New York World، a New York newspaper، announced a drive to raise $100،000—the equivalent of $2.3 million today. Pulitzer pledged to print the name of every contributor، no matter how small the amount given. The drive captured the imagination of New Yorkers، especially when Pulitzer began publishing the notes he received from contributors. "A young girl alone in the world" donated "60 cents، the result of self denial." One donor gave "five cents as a poor office boy's mite toward the Pedestal Fund." A group of children sent a dollar as "the money we saved to go to the circus with." Another dollar was given by a "lonely and very aged woman." Residents of a home for alcoholics in New York's rival city of Brooklyn—the cities would not merge until 1898—donated $15; other drinkers helped out through donation boxes in bars and saloons. A kindergarten class in Davenport، Iowa، mailed the World a gift of $1.35. As the donations flooded in، the committee resumed work on the pedestal.