President Grover Cleveland Dedicates The Statue of Liberty - 10/28/1886

US History |

Exactly today in history, President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. The statue was a gift from the citizens of France to the citizens of United States of America. The female statue represents Libertas, the Roman goddess who held a torch and book of law in her hands, with July 4, 1776, the date of American Declaration of Independence carved on it.

Initially, the statue called "Liberty Enlightening the World" was the idea of a French law professor and politician by the name Edouard Rene de Laboulaye in honor of the Franco-American alliance, which took place during the American Revolution. It was reported that Laboulaye recommended that it should be a joint project from the France and American people. 

He suggested that the France should sponsor building of the statue, while Americans should arrange for the site and build the pedestal. However, it was Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, a French sculptor, who was inspired by Laboulaye's proposal that designed the statue, made in form of a woman lifting a torch in her hands, which measures to the height of 111 feet, 6 inches from her heel up to the head. Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, the latter famous for his design of the Eiffel Tower in Paris designed its framework of gigantic steel supports.

Bartholdi suggested that the statue be sited on New York Bedloe Island, which was later approved by the Congress in February 1877. The statue was constructed and completed in France in May of 1884, and three months after, the Americans laid the foundation in New York Harbor. Afterwards, the already finished statue was dismantled, wrapped and packaged into more than 200 cases was shipped to United States, and it arrived in June 1885. On October 28, 1886, the last part of the statue was fitted during a dedication ceremony that saw in attendance a number of dignitaries from both the French and Americans, and was presided over by President Cleveland. 

At the base was boldly written a sonnet by American poet Emma Lazarus titled "The New Colossus", which welcomed immigrants to the New World. The statue was refurbished in 1980 and was completed in 1986, with the new torch carefully covered with thin sheets of 24-carat gold, and on her head was a crown with seven rays, which represents the seven continents of the world.

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