The story of the Statue of Liberty
On October 28, 1886, the Statue of Liberty was declared open. It was a gift from France to the United States, and marked the friendship between the two nations. Created by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel, the copper statue stands 151-feet tall, on top of a 154-foot-high pedestal.
It showcases a robed figure, Lady Liberty, carrying a torch and a tablet that symbolises the law, inscribed with the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain at her feet is a further symbol of freedom. At the base is a plaque inscribed with a sonnet by American poet Emma Lazarus, written as part of fundraising eff orts for the statue.
It includes the line, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free”. This plaque wasn’t added until 1903, with the original ceremony focussing on the ideals of liberty shared by the US and France, and also the end of slavery.
However, the line gained resonance over time as the statue was the first thing most newcomers would see on arrival to the country, and it became a symbol of American ideals and its willingness to accept immigrants — a belief that will be tested in next month’s presidential contest.