“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” – Excerpt from the unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, in Congress, July 4, 1776.
Flags fluttered in the breeze, drums rolled, trumpets blew as a parade swept through New York City. New York Harbor frothed with boats, crammed with shouting citizens. It was October 28, 1886: the day of celebration for “Liberty Enlightening the World”‘s dedication.
This colossal statue, better known as the Statue of Liberty, had its beginnings in 1865, when the Frenchman Edouard Laboulaye, a well-known politician and historian, “proposed the construction of a joint French and American monument celebrating the ideal of liberty,” and his friend, the sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi carried out the idea.
With the help of French engineer Gustave Eiffel, who designed the internal support structure, Bartholdi and his assistants built the colossal sculpture. Following many years of hard work, the statue was finally finished and the people of France gifted it to America on July 4, 1884.
Upon receiving the statue, which was shipped in pieces from France, Americans collected money to pay for the statue’s pedestal. The pieces of the statue were fitted together atop the new pedestal, and at last, 21 years after Laboulaye first imagined the project, the Statue of Liberty was complete. Just as Laboulaye had hoped, “Liberty” became more than just a beautiful work of art, one of the largest statues in the world, or the project of France and America. To the immigrants who came to New York and Ellis Island, “Liberty” symbolized many of the things they sought: life, liberty, and the ability to purse happiness and create a better life in America.
Note: Be on the lookout for another 4th of July post on Thursday!
“Statue of Liberty.” World Book Online InfoFinder. World Book, 2013. Web. 28 June 2013.