The Statue of Liberty was a gift to America from the French. Edouard Laboulaye, a French scholar, envisioned a monument that would keep alive the republican ideals of France and strengthen the friendship between the two countries. French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi designed the statue, and Gustave Eiffel, the engineer of France’s Eiffel Tower, designed the statue’s steel skeleton. The pedestal upon which the Statue rests was designed by an American, Richard Hunt.
The Statue of Liberty represents a crowned woman trampling beneath her feet the broken shackles of tyranny; the seven points in her crown signify liberty radiating to the seven continents and the seven seas; her left hand holds a tablet representing the Declaration of Independence and bearing the date of its proclamation; her right hand raises the torch, symbolizing a beacon of hope; the torch and the crown are lit in the evening.
In 1903, a bronze plaque was fastened to an interior wall of the pedestal on which was written part of the poem titled The New Colossus: “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!”
- The official name of the Statue of Liberty is “Liberty Enlightening the World.”
- In order to get to the observation deck in the crown, you have to climb a 354-step (22 stories) spiral staircase.
- Lady Liberty was the tallest structure in New York for thirteen years until she was overtaken by Saint Paul’s Building in 1899.