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France gives the Statue of Liberty to the United States

France gives the Statue of Liberty to the United States

In a ceremony held in Paris on July 4, 1884, the completed Statue of Liberty is formally presented to the U.S. ambassador as a commemoration of the friendship between France and the United States.

The idea for the statue was born in 1865, when the French historian and abolitionist Édouard de Laboulaye proposed a monument to commemorate the upcoming centennial of U.S. independence (1876), the perseverance of American democracy and the liberation of the nation’s slaves. By 1870, sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi had come up with sketches of a giant figure of a robed woman holding a torch—possibly based on a statue he had previously proposed for the opening of the Suez Canal.

READ MORE: Statue of Liberty: The Making of an Icon

Bartholdi traveled to the United States in the early 1870s to drum up enthusiasm and raise funds for a proposed Franco-American monument to be located on Bedloe’s Island, in New York’s harbor. Upon his return to France, he and Laboulaye created the Franco-American Union, which raised some 600,000 francs from the French people.

Work on the statue, formally called “Liberty Enlightening the World,” began in France in 1875. A year later, the completed torch and left forearm went on display in Philadelphia and New York to help with U.S. fundraising for the building of the statue’s giant pedestal.

Constructed of hammered copper sheets formed over a steel framework perfected by engineer Gustave Eiffel (who joined the project in 1879), the completed Statue of Liberty stood just over 151 feet high and weighed 225 tons when it was completed in 1884. After the July 4 presentation to Ambassador Levi Morton in Paris that year, the statue was disassembled and shipped to New York City, where it would be painstakingly reconstructed.

Meanwhile, publisher Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World had stepped in to help raise funds for the pedestal’s construction, raising more than $100,000 in donations by mid-1885. In October 1886, the pedestal on Bedloe’s Island was completed, and the Statue of Liberty was formally dedicated in a ceremony presided over by President Grover Cleveland.

Six years later, the inspection station on neighboring Ellis Island opened, welcoming more than 12 million immigrants to the United States between 1892 and 1954. Above them, the Statue of Liberty brandished her torch, embodying the most famous words from Emma Lazarus’ 1883 poem “The New Colossus,” written to raise funds for the pedestal and later inscribed on a plaque at its base: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”


July 4, 1884: The Statue of Liberty Was Presented to the United States

Photo: Mariano Rossi on Unsplash

July 4, 1884: The Statue of Liberty Was Presented to the United States

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July 4, 1884: The Statue of Liberty Was Presented to the United States

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On July 4, 1884, France presented the Statue of Liberty to the United States in Paris. Created by sculptor Frຝéric-Auguste Bartholdi, the statue was intended as a gift from France to the United States to celebrate a century of friendship between the two countries. To great fanfare, the statue arrived in New York Harbor from France almost a year later, on June 17, 1885. It would take another year for the Statue of Liberty to be unveiled. Today, the Statue of Liberty is the ultimate symbol of American freedom and diversity. The sculptor modeled his statue after the Roman goddess Libertas, who represents freedom from tyranny and oppression.

The statue was first named “Liberty Enlightening the World” and was a joint effort between America and France. The French were responsible for constructing and assembling the statue and America’s duty was to build the statue’s pedestal. Both countries ran into many obstacles raising funds for the project. In the United States, there were benefit events, including art exhibitions, auctions and prizefights, to raise money. Emma Lazarus wrote her poem “The New Colossus” in 1883 for the art and literary auction to raise money for the pedestal construction. One of the most famous stanzas from her poem, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” is still considered by many as an expression of one of America’s fundamental values, especially when it comes to immigration policy. In 1903, the sonnet was cast on a bronze plaque and attached to the inner wall of the Statue of Liberty. Today, the plaque is on display in the Statue of Liberty Exhibit in the Statue’s pedestal.

Once the construction was complete, the statue was assembled in Paris between 1881 to 1884. Also in 1884, the construction of the pedestal began in the United States. To ship it to America, the Statue was disassembled into 350 individual pieces and packed into 214 crates. Although it arrived in the United States in 1885, the Statue of Liberty was not reassembled until 1886 when the pedestal was completed. It took four months to reassemble the statue on the pedestal.

President Grover Cleveland oversaw the dedication of the Statue of Liberty on October 28, 1886. Among the thousands of spectators was a group of suffragettes there to protest. They chartered a boat to circle Ellis Island during the unveiling in order to blast protest speeches. They found it hypocritical that a gigantic woman representing liberty could stand at New York Harbor, while American women did not even have the liberty to vote. Only two women attended the actual unveiling: Bartholdi’s wife and the 13-year-old daughter of Ferdinand de Lesseps, the French engineer responsible for designing the Suez canal.

Between 1892 and 1954, 12 million immigrants entered the United States through Ellis Island. The Statue of Liberty was one of the first images they saw when the arrived. Today, as we celebrate Independence Day, the Statue of Liberty is the ultimate expression of America’s ideals of freedom and liberty.


France Gives the Statue of Liberty to the U.S., 1884

In a ceremony held in Paris on July 4, 1884, the completed Statue of Liberty is formally presented to the U.S. ambassador as a commemoration of the friendship between France and the United States.

The idea for the statue was born in 1865, when the French historian and abolitionist Édouard de Laboulaye proposed a monument to commemorate the upcoming centennial of U.S. independence (1876), the perseverance of American democracy and the liberation of the nation’s slaves.

By 1870, sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi had come up with sketches of a giant figure of a robed woman holding a torch—possibly based on a statue he had previously proposed for the opening of the Suez Canal.

Bartholdi traveled to the United States in the early 1870s to drum up enthusiasm and raise funds for a proposed Franco-American monument to be located on Bedloe’s Island, in New York’s harbor.

Upon his return to France, he and Laboulaye created the Franco-American Union, which raised some 600,000 francs from the French people.

Work on the statue, formally called “Liberty Enlightening the World,” began in France in 1875. A year later, the completed torch and left forearm went on display in Philadelphia and New York to help with U.S. fundraising for the building of the statue’s giant pedestal.

Constructed of hammered copper sheets formed over a steel framework perfected by engineer Gustave Eiffel (who joined the project in 1879), the completed Statue of Liberty stood just over 151 feet high and weighed 225 tons when it was completed in 1884.

After the July 4 presentation to Ambassador Levi Morton in Paris that year, the statue was disassembled and shipped to New York City, where it would be painstakingly reconstructed.

Meanwhile, publisher Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World had stepped in to help raise funds for the pedestal’s construction, raising more than $100,000 in donations by mid-1885.

In October 1886, the pedestal on Bedloe’s Island was completed, and the Statue of Liberty was formally dedicated in a ceremony presided over by President Grover Cleveland.

Six years later, the inspection station on neighboring Ellis Island opened, welcoming more than 12 million immigrants to the United States between 1892 and 1954.

Above them, the Statue of Liberty brandished her torch, embodying the most famous words from Emma Lazarus’ 1883 poem “The New Colossus,” written to raise funds for the pedestal and later inscribed on a plaque at its base: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”


France gives the Statue of Liberty to the United States

In a ceremony held in Paris on July 4, 1884, the completed Statue of Liberty is formally presented to the U.S. ambassador as a commemoration of the friendship between France and the United States.

The idea for the statue was born in 1865, when the French historian and abolitionist Édouard de Laboulaye proposed a monument to commemorate the upcoming centennial of U.S. independence (1876), the perseverance of American democracy and the liberation of the nation’s slaves. By 1870, sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi had come up with sketches of a giant figure of a robed woman holding a torch—possibly based on a statue he had previously proposed for the opening of the Suez Canal.

Bartholdi traveled to the United States in the early 1870s to drum up enthusiasm and raise funds for a proposed Franco-American monument to be located on Bedloe’s Island, in New York’s harbor. Upon his return to France, he and Laboulaye created the Franco-American Union, which raised some 600,000 francs from the French people.

Work on the statue, formally called “Liberty Enlightening the World,” began in France in 1875. A year later, the completed torch and left forearm went on display in Philadelphia and New York to help with U.S. fundraising for the building of the statue’s giant pedestal.

Constructed of hammered copper sheets formed over a steel framework perfected by engineer Gustave Eiffel (who joined the project in 1879), the completed Statue of Liberty stood just over 151 feet high and weighed 225 tons when it was completed in 1884. After the July 4 presentation to Ambassador Levi Morton in Paris that year, the statue was disassembled and shipped to New York City, where it would be painstakingly reconstructed.

Meanwhile, publisher Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World had stepped in to help raise funds for the pedestal’s construction, raising more than $100,000 in donations by mid-1885. In October 1886, the pedestal on Bedloe’s Island was completed, and the Statue of Liberty was formally dedicated in a ceremony presided over by President Grover Cleveland.

Six years later, the inspection station on neighboring Ellis Island opened, welcoming more than 12 million immigrants to the United States between 1892 and 1954. Above them, the Statue of Liberty brandished her torch, embodying the most famous words from Emma Lazarus’ 1883 poem “The New Colossus,” written to raise funds for the pedestal and later inscribed on a plaque at its base: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”


France Sends the U.S. Another, Smaller Statue of Liberty

A replica of the Statue of Liberty began a journey this week from Paris to New York, officials in France said, sending the United States another, much smaller monument to freedom and symbol of French-American friendship.

At under 10 feet tall, a 16th of her bigger sister’s size, the bronze statue was carefully hoisted from its place at a museum of inventions in Paris during a ceremony on Monday, according to a news release from the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts. The statue, which weighs nearly 1,000 pounds, had been on display at the museum, Musée des Arts et Métiers, for 10 years and will be placed in a specially designed Plexiglas box for its nine-day voyage across the Atlantic.

The smaller statue, based on the original 1878 plaster model by sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, was installed just outside the museum’s entrance in 2011. This statue was cast using a 3D scan of another model in Paris, the news release said. It will be exhibited on Ellis Island from July 1-5, facing its much bigger sibling on Liberty Island. Then, it will be moved to the French ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C., where it will be on display from July 14, France’s Bastille Day, until 2031.

There are over 100 replicas of the Statue of Liberty around the world, according to the conservatory. More than 30 are in France, including a handful in Paris.

Its arrival in New York, the conservatory said, is meant to celebrate and underscore the central value of Franco-American friendship: liberty. The officials also said the gesture intended to pay tribute to those who had fought for freedom and democracy on both sides of the Atlantic.

Similar ideas were behind the original 19th-century statue, which was conceived of by the legal thinker Édouard René Lefèbvre de Laboulaye, a French abolitionist known in the United States for his Civil War-era pamphlets defending the Union cause. An 1870 model of the statue depicted Lady Liberty holding broken chains in her left hand, a reference to emancipation.

The final model of the statue moved the broken chains beneath Lady Liberty’s feet, with a tablet that represented the rule of law placed in her hands instead.

The date of American Independence, July 4, 1776, is written on the tablet in Roman numerals. The sculptor, Bartholdi, based the statue’s design on the Roman goddess Libertas, who is typically depicted wearing a Phrygian cap, traditionally worn by freed Roman slaves.

On a trip to the United States, Bartholdi chose what was then Bedloe’s Island — it was renamed Liberty Island in 1956 — because of its visibility to ships entering New York Harbor. The statue’s pieces were constructed in France in the 1870s, and assembled and displayed in Paris from 1881 to 1884.

The smaller statue will have a much simpler journey to the United States than its larger predecessor, which stands 151 feet tall on top of a 154-foot-high pedestal. The 19th-century statue had to be taken apart to be shipped across the Atlantic, arriving in June 1885. Its pedestal was finished a year later, and its pieces reassembled around an iron frame. Finally, it opened to much fanfare on Oct. 28, 1886 — despite bad weather.

“The recent and huge structures at the lower end of Manhattan Island, at a distance from which the details are lost and the outlines and masses are alone visible, make New York a fit background for the most sumptuous aquatic spectacle,” The New York Times reported at the event.

About six years later, the government opened Ellis Island, the inspection site that more than 12 million immigrants would pass through in the decades to come. Emma Lazarus’ famous poem “The New Colossus,” describing the statue welcoming the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” was affixed to the statue’s pedestal in 1903.

The U.S. Embassy in France shared a video on Twitter this week of a crane lifting the statue into the air as workers below carefully held on to it with straps.

At a ceremony marking the occasion, Liam Wasley, an acting deputy at the embassy, said, “This Atlantic crossing renews and strengthens our shared attachment to what we believe in, the foundations of our relationship.”


Lady Liberty by the numbers:

  • 8 feet: The length of her index finger
  • 7 rays: The number of rays on her crown, representing the seven seas and continents of the world
  • 6 inches: The distance the torch can sway in high winds

Construction of the Statue of Liberty, showing the statue in scaffolding, man with the flame, man with the foot, and head-and-shoulders portrait of Frederic Bartholdi. (Library of Congress)

The sculpture, forged by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, is officially titled Liberty Enlightening the World and is widely recognized as a symbol of freedom and democracy. The statue holds a tablet in her left hand, engraved with the date July 4, 1776 in Roman numerals, which highlights her role as a representation of American independence. She embodies the ancient Roman goddess Libertas, who signifies sovereignty. Hidden beneath her drapes, a broken chain and shackle remain at her right foot, showcasing a commitment to ending oppression.


France sends second Statue of Liberty to US

France i s sending a second Statue of Liberty to be erected on Ellis Island, across the water from the original on Liberty Island.

The 10-foot “little sister,” one-sixteenth the size of the original “New Colossus,” was taken out of France’s Museum of Arts and Crafts in a ceremony on Monday, a day after the 77th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy.

“We want to send a very simple message: Our friendship with the United States is very important, particularly at this moment. We have to conserve and defend our friendship,” said Olivier Faron, the museum’s general administrator.

Created in 2009, the miniature statue is a replica of the original plaster cast that artist Frederic Auguste Bartholdi used to design the larger statue.

The statue will stand at Ellis Island from July 1 to July 5 for Independence Day celebrations. It will then travel to the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., for Bastille Day on July 14 and remain there for 10 more years.

Bartholdi first sought approval for the original statue from U.S. President Ulysses Grant in 1871. It took four years to make a deal in which France would pay for the sculpture, while the U.S. would buy the pedestal.

When the statue arrived in the U.S. in 1886, President Grover Cleveland dedicated it.

Lady Liberty, holding a torch in her right hand and a tablet inscribed with the date of America’s founding in her left, became a symbol of American folklore.

The Statue of Liberty was the first sight of America for millions of immigrants to the U.S. when they came by boat into New York Harbor. The placement of the statue by Bartholdi was deliberate, as every boat coming into the harbor saw what became Liberty Island.

“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,” wrote Emma Lazarus, describing the statue’s symbolism in her 1883 poem, The New Colossus.

The statue from France joins other replicas of the original Statue of Liberty in cities including Madison, Wisconsin, and Las Vegas, Nevada.


France is sending a 'little sister' replica of the Statue of Liberty to the United States

France is sending the United States a nearly 10-foot tall replica of the Statue of Liberty.

The statue will be on display in New York in July before being taken to Washington, DC.

It was previously on display at a museum in Paris.

France is sending the United States a new, smaller scale, Statue of Liberty this summer.

The nearly 10-foot-tall bronze statue, nicknamed the "little sister," has been on display at the National Museum of Arts and Crafts (CNAM) in Paris, and will be installed on New York's Ellis Island from July 1 to July 5, CNN reported.

"We want to send a very simple message: Our friendship with the United States is very important, particularly at this moment," Olivier Faron, general administrator of the CNAM, told CNN. "We have to conserve and defend our friendship."

The replica statue is 1/16 the size of the original Statue of Liberty, which represents the Roman goddess Libertas and was brought to New York in 1886 to strengthen ties between France and the United States.


The fascinating French history of the statue of Liberty

The statue of Liberty is an iconic landmark and one of the most recognised symbols of the United States. But did you know that Lady Liberty is an immigrant? It’s true, she’s a French woman by birth who has made New York her home. (No wonder she’s so elegant.)

There are replicas of this monument throughout the world and now, Nice, France has one too! The Quai des Etats-Unis, “Quay of the United States” which fronts the Old Town has been given a facelift and a new statue of Lady Liberty adorns the way. She’s a bit on the short side, only 1.35 metres (4 ft 5 in) but apparently she is cast from an original mould signed by Bartholdi, the sculptor who made the big one in New York. And speaking of the Grand Lady in New York, did you know that she almost found herself homeless?

The French History of the Statue of Liberty

It all started in 1865 with a Frenchman called Edouard de Laboulaye. He was an idealistic political thinker who wanted to make a monument to the liberty that both France and the United States valued. It would be a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States with no government involvement. The French would produce the statue and the Americans would provide the pedestal on which it would stand.

Laboulaye enlisted the help of a sculptor friend named Auguste Bartholdi.Together they planned and waited for the right time to start their monumental project. Ten years later (1875) the project was officially announced. This noble and idealistic French plan had only one little flaw. They had not even considered the possibility that the Americans might not want to participate. But that was the case.

Bartholdi went to New York to meet with the movers and shakers of the city. When he explained that the people of France wanted to give America a giant statue to glorify the idea of liberty, that was fine with them. When he asked them to fund the pedestal that it would need to stand on, that was a different matter. They weren’t keen on a gift that cost them money. They wanted to know how they could profit from it. Could they advertise their businesses on the base? They half-heartedly agreed to form a committee to raise funds for the pedestal but the money was slow to come in. Meanwhile the committee in France organised concerts, opera events, and collected money from individuals all over the country. They raised the amount needed for the statue and construction began.

The statue of Liberty is transported to New York

Bartholdi had hoped to present the completed statue at the American centennial celebration in 1876, but the project was behind schedule. So he decided to present the most symbolic part of the statue – the arm holding the torch. Unfortunately, the ship carrying it was a month late and the centennial celebration was finished by the time the arm arrived.

But the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia was still going strong, so Bartholdi packed up his giant arm and went to Philadelphia where he exhibited it and charged people 50 cents to climb up to the flame. It was a big hit and the interest of the American public was piqued by his project. Back in Paris, Bartholdi continued his publicity by displaying Lady Liberty’s head at the 1878 Paris World’s Fair.

In 1884, after 9 years of construction, the statue was finally complete – but the base wasn’t. This giant of a woman had no place to go.The Parisians launched a petition to keep her, but in 1885, Bartholdi decided to send her to New York and hope the Americans would finish the pedestal. The French government paid for the transportation to New York, which was the only government involvement in the entire project. The 210 crates containing the dismantled lady arrived in New York and were stacked next to the unfinished base. The Americans still needed to raise $100,000 to finish it.

America funds the Statue of Liberty

An immigrant newspaper man named Joseph Pulitzer (the same one who later established the Pulitzer Prize) stepped in to save the day. He decided to bypass the rich businessmen and do what the people of France had done. He got the whole country involved. Using his newspaper, he started a campaign asking everyone to give money, even if it was just a penny. He promised to print the name of every person in his paper no matter how small their donation. The rest of the money came pouring into the newspaper office in pennies, nickels, and dimes. $102,000 was raised from 120,000 contributors. Pulitzer kept his word and every contributor’s name was printed on the front page of his newspaper.

With the pennies of the people, the base was completed and the majestic French lady stepped up onto her pedestal. The statue that started as an idealistic French plan, and was unwanted by the Americans has become one of the most important symbols of the United States of America and today, people often forget that Lady Liberty is a French woman. It’s no wonder the immigrants coming through Ellis Island could relate to her so well, she too is an immigrant.

Margo Lestz lives in Nice, France where she likes to bask in the sunshine, study the French language and blog as thecuriousrambler. Margo says “Life is never boring and I learn something new every day… and there are always surprises”.


France gives the Statue of Liberty to the United States - HISTORY

On a rainy October 28, 1886, the Statue of Liberty was officially unveiled in the United States. Organized by the Franco-American Union and the City of New York, the dedication ceremonies celebrated the Statue’s creators and contributors, the people of France and the United States. Over a million people attended the festivities both on the island and throughout the city, including Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi and French and American dignitaries. Édouard René Lefèbvre de Laboulaye, considered the father of the Statue of Liberty, died in 1883 and did not see its dedication.

Firefighters, soldiers, and veterans—including the 20th Regiment of US Colored Troops—marched down Broadway to the sounds of 100 brass bands, cannons, and sirens. On Bedloe’s Island, prominent men, including US President Grover Cleveland, praised the Statue’s promise of liberty.

Unveiling Liberty

“The dream of my life is accomplished I see the symbol of unity and friendship between two nations—two great republics.”
—Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, October 26, 1886

On opening day, a flotilla of ships, all decorated in red, white, and blue, formed a naval parade to Bedloe’s Island. Spectators aboard the vessels watched the French flag draping the colossal Statue’s face and anticipated the official unveiling. Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi himself was stationed in the crown, awaiting the signal to drop the flag at the end of the dedication ceremony. As he listened to patriotic tunes and the passionate speeches of distinguished guests on the ground below, he waited for a signal that the speeches had ended. His helper mistakenly gave the signal when one of the speakers paused, and Bartholdi unveiled the Statue’s face too soon, in the middle of a speech by Senator William M. Evarts, chair of the American Committee. Cannons thundered, brass bands roared, and steam whistles blew from hundreds of ships in the harbor, overpowering Evarts’ words. Their salutes welcomed the Statue of Liberty home.

A Momentous Day

The Statue’s unveiling was more than an occasion for celebrating it was a time to honor the people who had created and paid for it. Expressions of gratitude were exchanged. Mainstream newspapers cheered the “great masses” gathered in the city streets to welcome the Statue and view the parade, and the sculptor, Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, was hailed as the man of the day.

But for people in the United States with limited liberty, it was a day to call out the hypocrisy. Suffragists protesting during the opening ceremony objected to the use of a female figure to symbolize liberty when American women did not have the right to vote, and African American journalists expressed their ambivalence about the Statue in the wake of Reconstruction, signaling that its interpretation would become a cause for debate.


Watch the video: Americans React to Trump Sending Statue of Liberty Back to France (January 2022).