History of the Statue of Liberty

The history of the Statue of Liberty gets its start way back in the mid-1860's. In 1865, to be more exact, a French politician and professor by the name of Edouard de Laboulaye first proposed the idea that such a monument to American independence should be built. Several years later, Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was commissioned to design the now famous monument. The aim was to have it completed by 1876–the centennial of the Declaration of Independence–and the project was to be a joint French and American effort.

Because of political issues in France, work on the Statue of Liberty did not begin until the early 1870's. France was responsible for building the statue, while the U.S. was in charge of constructing the pedestal and coming up with a good site. The subsequent building process was continually slowed by funding efforts on both sides, and it is interesting to note that Bartholdi had already completed the head and the arm before his final designs for the sculpture were finished. These parts were exhibited on the international level, and the arm eventually spent approximately six years in Madison Square Park in New York City.

There are plenty of interesting Statue of Liberty facts that relate to the structure’s history. For example, Joseph Pulitzer, who is best known for establishing the Pulitizer Prizes, helped generate funds for the building of the pedestal. He did so by using his newspaper The World to criticize both the wealthy and the middle class for not properly dedicating themselves to the fundraising cause. The motivational tactic worked. Another interesting history highlight relates to the fact that Alexandre Gustave Eiffel was responsible for designing the statue’s framework. As you may have guessed, this is the same person who designed the famous Eiffel Tower.

In July, 1884, the statue portion of the Statue of Liberty was completed. Approximately two years later in April of 1886, the pedestal was finished. October 28, 1886 was the dedication date, and while this came ten years after the intended dedication, the completion of the structure was cause for New York City’s first ticker-tape parade.

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