The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the United States of America. A French sculptor, Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, visited America in 1871 and found the perfect place for the statue he wanted to build. The place was Bedloe’s Island in the New York Harbor.

When Bartholdi returned to Paris, he started making sketches and some small models of the statue he wanted to build. He decided the statue would be a woman called Liberty. She would always be a symbol of freedom in the New World. She would be Liberty Enlightening the world.

Bartholdi wanted the statue to be very large and very strong becuase he wanted the people who visited her to climb up in the statue. He wanted them to be able to look out over the harbor from the crown and torch.

When Bartholdi found a sketch and a model he liked, he began building the statue. First he built a huge skeleton from strong steel. Then he had many people work together in a large workshop on Liberty’s head and crown. Other people worked on her right hand which would hold the torch. Bartholdi decided that Liberty would hold a tablet with the date July 4, 1776 on it in her left hand.

When the arm holding the torch was finished, it was sent to America for our nation’s 100th birthday celebration in1876. At this same time Liberty’s head was shown at the World’s Fair in Paris. Liberty’s arm holding the torch stood in New York’s Madison Square for many years.

All this time Bartholdi kept working on the rest of the statue. He put a skin of gleaming copper held in place by iron straps on the skeleton. The people of Paris watched as the huge statue grew in their city. Finally in 1884, Liberty was completed.

Then the hard work of taking the statue apart for the long trip across the Atlantic Ocean. Each piece of the statue was put in a crate and marked. There were 214 crates that were put on a ship to sail to America.

Meanwhile the American people had lost interest in the statue and money had run out for the work on Bedloe’s Island. The base or pedestal for the statue was not finished. A New York newspaper got the American people excited about the statue again and helped raise money to complete the base. People, including children, all over our country sent whatever money they could to help. The ship carrying the statue reached New York in 1885. Soon the pedestal was completed and piece by piece the skeleton of the statue was raised. After that the copper skin was riveted back in place.

In 1886 Liberty was standing on Bedloe’s Island. A celebration was held. Speeches were read and songs were sung. Bartholdi unveiled Liberty’s face for every one to see. Then President Grover Cleveland gave a speech. Our nation had a new symbol of freedom!

Student Activities

Look in the teacher lesson page to find out activites you can do about the Statue of Liberty. You will also find activites you can do about other modern symbols such as:Washington D.C., the Whitehouse, Washinton Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Monuments, and other modern monument. You will also find activities you can do about songs that are symbols and holidays that celebrate freedom. Good hunting!!

Documents of Our Freedom
Symbols of Our Freedom
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