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The Statue of Liberty
 

Foundations of America

QU201 Prof. Scott Leone

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The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is a monument that stands for everything the United States believes in. She is the most famous symbol of freedom, hope, opportunity and independence. Lady Liberty is located on Liberty Island in New York Harbor. The French were avid believers in independence and human rights. The United States could not have received independence without assistance from the French during the American Revolution. The people of France, wanted to give the United States a gift that stood for independence and hope.

The statue represents the Roman goddess of freedom, Libertas. Lady Liberty is holding a torch and a tablet that is inscribed with, July 4th, 1776 in roman numerals, representing American Independence Day. The statue symbolizes hope and freedom for all Americans and all who enter the United States. It is said that Lady Liberty’s torch lights the way for all people to come into the land of the free and to bring all people into safety no matter what race, ethnicity or gender. All individuals are welcomed to the United States. Lady Liberty’s crown represents the seven seas and continents of the world.

 

Frederic Bartholdi, a French architect, designed the beautiful and large statue. He was born in Colmar, France on August 2nd, 1834 and passed away on October 4th, 1904. Barholdi began as a painter but became famous as a sculptor. His passion was to make large elaborate sculptors. His first work was of General Jean Rapp, leader of Napoleon Bonaparte’s army. Bartholdi was eighteen years old when he created the twelve-foot sculpture. He also did several other statues such as the Marquis de Lafayette Statue, in Union Square, NYC in 1876. Bartholdi fountain in Bartholdi Park was created for the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. Bartholdi Park is in Washington, D.C, among many others. His most famous work however, was the Statue of Liberty. He got his inspiration from a French law professor and politician, Edouard Rene de Laboulaye. Bartholdi got his idea and began designing the statue in 1867. Bartholdi then consulted architect/engineer Eugene Emmanuel Violett-le-Duc. They presented their ideas to the French government and people at the Hotel du Louvre in 1875. The French government and Bartholdi’s crew began constructing the Statue of Liberty in the winter of 1875. The Statue was given to the US on June 17th, 1885 as a gift to the US as a token of friendship from the government of France. In 1871 Bartholdi and a French activist and intellectual, Edouard-Rene Lefebvre de Laboulaye, met and decided upon creating an enormous statue representing independence. Bartholdi, Laboulaye and the American government decided on the New York Harbor as the perfect place for the statue to stand. In 1871 Bartholdi visited the United States twice to observe the area and sketch the design of the statue. Bartholdi believed that New York Harbor was the best place for the statue. He said that it was “where people get their first view of the New World.” When immigrants came to America they would be warmly welcomed and protected by everything that the Statue of Liberty stands for. Batholdi was very charismatic and convinced both the Americans and the French of his design. He got many people very excited and willing to help do what they can to help. He was amazed by the grandness of New York and loved it. He wanted the Statue to be colossal like the rest of the city.

 

 

 

The architect and engineer, Violett-le-Duc had passed away in the middle of the construction in 1879. Viollet-le-Duc was a French architect and theorist. He was famous for restoring medieval buildings. He restored many well-known buildings such as, the Notre Dame de Paris. Gustave Eiffel, another famous architect and engineer took over the project. Eiffel was born on December 15th, 1832 and passed away on December 37th, 1923. He was a structural engineer. He had designed the Eiffel Tower for Paris World’s fair Exhibition. Gustave Eiffle also constructed the Cathedral Saint Mark of Africa, joined the effort to construct the Panama Canal and designed La Ruche, in Paris.

 

 

 

 

Lady Liberty’s right arm and torch were the first pieces to be completed. When they werecompleted in 1876, they were sent to the Philadelphia International Centennial Exhibition. People were able to walk inside of the torch for fifty cents. All the proceeds went to completing the pedestal of the statue. Throughout the six months that the exhibit was open, May 10th through November 10th, over eight million people came from the United States and around forty million came from around the world. Bartholdi finished Lady Liberty’s head and shoulders by 1878 and were on display in Paris for the World’s fair in June.  The display offered a chance for everyone to see the amazing parts, which granted Bartholdi the right to hold a lottery to raise enough money to finish just the Statue of Liberty, not including the pedestal. By 1870, an estimated 250,000 francs had been raised and donated for the completion of the statue.

 

The Franco-American committee sent out an “Offical Notification” on July 7, 1880 to the American government. The notification announced that they had enough money to complete the project and that they would be finished by 1883. Finally, Gustave Eiffel constructed the framework of the steel tower in 1880. The inner and outer structures were assembled over a course of three years. In 1884, the statue was finally complete. On July 4th, 1884 the statue was presented to Americans in Paris. On June 17th, 1885, the statue was dismantled in 350 pieces and transported to the US in 214 crates about the French ship Isere. When the parts arrived at Liberty Island, it took four months to re-assemble the statue on its pedestal.

 

The statue of Liberty has a total weight of 225 tons; the statue itself was 179,200 pounds of copper and 250,000 pounds of iron. It was covered in a copper sheet that was about the thickness of a penny. The Statue of liberty is 305 feet tall, which is equivalent to a twenty-two-story building. The Statue of Liberty is made out of copper and is green because the copper has naturally oxidized. The pedestal of the Statue of liberty is made out of Stony Creek granite from Beattie's Quarry in Leete’s Island in New Haven County, Connecticut. John Beattie was born in 1821 in Edinburgh, Scotland and moved to Canada when he was a child and continued to move around the country until he settled in Connecticut, where he bought many large properties in the Stony Creek District. He had one of the largest industrial enterprises of his time. His projects consisted of; lighthouses, hotels, railroad bridges and elevators. The Beattie quarries contracted not only in Connecticut, but also everywhere from including big cities of New York and Boston. The granite that constructed the Brooklyn Bridge abutments and the North Lighthouses were also from his quarry. John Beattie received government contracts to build the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty with Stony Creek granite from 1876-1886. While the Statue was being built in France, the pedestal was being worked on in Liberty Island. Beattie gathered a team of immigrants from all over the world that came to America to create the pedestal.

In 1876, the American and French governments agreed that the Statue would be built in France funded by the French government. The pedestal and the re-assembling of the statue onto the pedestal was the Americans responsibility. Americans had many issues raising money to build the pedestal. The American committee began to raise $125,000, which ended up being half the amount needed to complete the pedestal. Constructed came to a stop in the fall of 1884 until the committee raised an additional $100,000. Joseph Pultizer was in charge of fundraising the additional money. Fundraising was slow in the beginning until he used his magazine to his advantage. He was the owner of, New York World magazine. On March 16th, 1885, Pultizer used his magazine to his advantage, were he was able to gain publicity and funds from American’s. The fundraising was finally complete on August 11th, 1885.

 

Architect Richard Morris Hunt designed the base’s structure. In April 1886, the pedestal construction was finished. The pedestal was fifty-three feet long and was eighty-nine feet high. It was built of Stony Creek granite from Beattie’s Quarry in Leete’s Island. Beattie’s workers carefully extracted, sorted and picked the best stones and loaded the stones onto a ship to be transported to Hoadley’s Point. From there they were shipped to New York City. In 1883, Emma Lazarus wrote the poem that is inscribed on the pedestal, “The New Colossus.” Finally on August 5th, 1884 the six-ton cornerstone was laid and inscribed. He gave his design for the base at no cost at all. Hunt designed a neoclassical pedestal. Hunt’s design was made of concrete with a steel back. There were doors, a frieze (painted or sculpted designs) of forty- shields. The forty shields represented the forty states at that point in time. In addition there were many platforms for observing a beautiful view of New York Harbor. Hunt was born on October 31st, 1827 and passed away on July 31st, 1895. He was a very famous American architect. Hunt’s most famous work is the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. In addition, many of the elegant mansions and buildings on 5th Avenue, NYC was built by Hunt. However most were destroyed and torn down except for the Hostelling International building, which is located in between 103rd and 104th street in Manhattan.

 

Bartholdi originally named the statue “La Liberte e’ clairant le monde” which means “Liberty enlightening the world.” Today the statue is referred to as, The Statue of Liberty or Lady Liberty. The statue stays true to its name. It really did and still does enlighten not only Americans but to all other countries. It is a symbol of hope and opportunity. The statue of liberty stands for freedom. It shows people the way to happiness and away from their suffering. Her torch lights the way to life and opportunity in the United States. The base of the Statue is inscribed with, The New Colossus, a poem by Emma Lazarus. It says, "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-tossed to me. 
I lift my lamp beside the golden door." The poem is on the statue’s pedestal and truly moves every individual who reads it.

The French-American committee for the Restoration of the Statue of Liberty was established in 1981. They held a Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island fundraisers to raise money to complete renovations. The French-American committee raised $230 million for the renovation in1982. The renovation repaired; holes from salt from the water, distortion of the iron framework and corrected previous attempts that were not resolved. Nine years after the statue was completed, the United States government funded a $19,500 job to create a special energy plant to light up Lady Liberty’s torch. In addition, many renovation and alterations created a more durable lighting system inside the interior of the statue. The torch was constantly changed and modified throughout the years. Finally, in 1984, the torch was ordered to be rebuilt the way it was originally. Liberty weekend began on July 3rd and lasted until July 6th, 1986. Its purpose was to celebrate the Statue of Liberty. It was a big ceremony unveiling the Statue of Liberty. President Ronald Reagan made a speech, thanking the French for the gift and for its maintenance. Many famous performers were there to perform such as; Neil Diamond and Frank Sinatra.

There are 345 stairs inside of the statue of Liberty, along with twenty-five windows for people to enjoy the view. People are able to walk inside of the statue; in the base, original torch and crown. After the attack on the Twin Towers on September 11th 2001, Liberty Island closed until December. However, the monument remained closed until August 3rd, 2004. The actual statue remained closed for fire regulations for many years, however people could go into the museum and in the pedestal if they have a monument access pass. Today, to go into the crown and torch you need specific passes that need to be ordered at least two days in advance. There is a limit to how many people can receive passes in a day and are prohibited from bringing anything except a camera. Very famous and proficient people who put their heart and souls into building the true symbol of freedom crafted the statue. Lady Liberty was built to last a lifetime. She still stands tall even through fifty miles per hour winds, lightening, salt-water damage amongst many other aspects and will continue to guide her people to a good life. As long as she is still standing watching over, there will always be hope and an overall sense of security.


 

 Work Cited

Flesh and Stone. Stony Creek and the Age of Granite. Deborah Deford. Stony Creek, CT 2000

 

"New York Architecture Images-STATUE OF LIBERTY." Nyc-architecture | New York Architecture- Historic and Contemporary. Web. 06 Oct. 2010.

http://www.nyc-architecture.com/LM/LM002-STATUEOFLIBERTY.htm

 

"Statue of Liberty National Monument - Frequently Asked Questions (U.S. National Park Service)." U.S. National Park Service - Experience Your America. Web. 06 Oct. 2010.

http://www.nps.gov/stli/faqs.htm

 

"Statue of Liberty Construction." Endex Engineering - Structural Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Construction Management. Web. 06 Oct. 2010.

http://www.endex.com/gf/buildings/liberty/libertyfacts/solconstructiongallery.htm

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 November 2010 08:31  

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Flesh and Stone

Flesh and Stone - Stony Creek and the Age of Granite - buy at Amazon.com
Available on Amazon

Uncirculated: Shrink wrapped in clear plastic from original Italian publisher, 1999. Ships with fresh samples of sparkling Stony Creek pink granite for historians, collectors, geologists and classrooms. Additional samples available upon request.