The Statue of Liberty was a gift to the United States from France in 1884 in honor of the two countries' ongoing friendship since the American Revolution. Designed by sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, the statue was intended to be a gift for America's centennial in 1876. However, this giant statue was not completed until 1884. Then it had to be shipped from France to the United States, which required disassembling the statue into 350 pieces. When the pieces of the statue arrived in New York Harbor in June 1885, the pedestal for the statue, which was constructed in the United States, still wasn't finished. After the pedestal was completed in April 1886, the statue was reassembled on the pedestal. Finally, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886.
The Statue of Liberty has greeted millions of immigrants and visitors to the United States for well over 100 years. For visitors and Americans alike, seeing the statue for the first time can be an emotional experience. The statue is an awe-inspiring sight because of its size, beauty, and especially because of what it represents. As a whole, the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of freedom and democracy. The separate parts of the statue also have meaning. For example, the seven rays on the crown represent the seven continents and seven seas, the tablet in the statue's left hand reads (in Roman numerals) "July 4th, 1776," and a broken shackle lies at the feet of the statue.
How do symbols unite people?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and explain how the Statue of Liberty unites the American people.