• Today in history: Statue of Liberty officially dedicated to the people of US

    International

    Washington D.C.: A colossal neoclassical sculpture, the ‘Statue of Liberty’ standing tall on the Liberty island in New York Harbour in New York City, in the United States, was a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States, designed by French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi. The statue was officially dedicated to the people of US on October 28, 1886.

    The statue is a figure of Libertas, a robed Roman liberty goddess. She holds a torch above her head with her right hand, and in her left hand carries a tabula ansata inscribed JULY IV MDCCLXXVI (July 4, 1776 in Roman numerals), the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. A broken shackle and chain lie at her feet as she walks forward, commemorating the recent national abolition of slavery. After its dedication, the statue became an icon of freedom and of the United States, seen as a symbol of welcome to immigrants arriving by sea.

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    Over the years, the statue of liberty stood tall as millions of immigrants arrived in America via nearby Ellis Island; in 1986, it underwent an extensive renovation in honor of the centennial of its dedication. Today, the Statue of Liberty remains an enduring symbol of freedom and democracy, as well as one of the world’s most recognizable landmarks.

    Around 1865, as the American Civil War drew to a close, the French historian Edouard de Laboulaye proposed that France create a statue to give to the United States in celebration of that nation’s success in building a viable democracy. The sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, known for largescale sculptures, earned the commission; the goal was to design the sculpture in time for the centennial of the Declaration of Independence in 1876. The project would be a joint effort between the two countries–the French people were responsible for the statue of liberty and its assembly, while the Americans would build the pedestal on which it would stand–and a symbol of the friendship between their peoples.

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