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Statue of Liberty History

The Statue of Liberty history is not a simple tale as one might learn in grade school about a grand gift from the French as a gesture of friendship. The Statue of Liberty history involves a more complicated tale particularly on the financial end, since by many reports this gesture almost did not materialize at all.



The history of the Statue of Liberty begins with discussion between France and the United States in regard to the gift from the French to the Americans to celebrate America's centennial in 1876.

The French Third Republic was a shaky government at best at this time but there was enough enthusiasm for this colossal gift for a fellow republic that the project did keep moving forward.

Looking deeper into the history of the Statue of Liberty indicates that sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (who designed the Eiffel Tower) were the ones responsible for bringing Lady Liberty to fruition. In an agreement between France and the United States, the French would build the statue and the Americans would build the base.

In France, money for the Statue of Liberty was raised by charitable donations, performances of plays and operas and from a charitable lottery. In the U. S., theatre plays, art auctions and prize fights were held to raise money for the base.

The sculptor had wanted to complete the liberty statue by July 4, 1876 and present it at this time for America's centennial, but because of technical and financial delays only the arm with torch was completed at this time and on display in Philadelphia at the Centennial Exposition. Visitors could pay 50-cents each to climb to the torch balcony and this money was used to fund the building of the pedestal.

History has it that the face of Lady Liberty was completed on June 30, 1878 and was displayed at the Paris Exposition. The real identity of Lady Liberty's face has been the subject of debate and experts believe she was modeled after either Isabella Eugenie Boyer or Bartholdi's mother.

In 1882, France was able to complete the financing for the Statue of Liberty. Back in the U. S., however, money was still being sought to build the base. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer who would later establish the Pulitzer Prize, used his newspaper, The World to do fundraising for the pedestal.

In July of 1884, the Statue of Liberty was completed in France. In August of 1884 in the U. S. construction of the pedestal stopped because of lack of funds. In the Spring of 1885, Pulitzer resumed fundraising through his newspaper and construction resumed in May.

In June 1885, the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York City by boat from France. The statue arrived in 350 separate pieces. In August 1885, U. S. financing for the base of the Statue of Liberty was completed. Construction on the pedestal was finished in April 1886.

The Statue of Liberty was finally uncrated as it was awaiting the pedestal to be completed and was assembled in four-months and completed on October 28, 1886. On this date, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated by President Grover Cleveland, who had earlier obstructed the building of the base.

For the first 16 years of its existence, the Statue of Liberty was a beacon of light for immigrants coming to America, since it was also a fully functioning lighthouse at this time. The statue had a lighthouse keeper and an electric light that could be seen for 24 miles.

So, you see, the Statue of Liberty history is a more complex one than you may have been taught in school. According to the history of the Statue of Liberty it took many people in both France and the U. S. and many different efforts to bring Lady Liberty to life and to the shores off New York City.