The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World; French: La Liberté éclairant le monde) is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor within New York , in the United States.
The copper statue, a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States, was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and its metal frame was built by Gustave Eiffel. The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886.
The statue is a figure of Libertas, a robed Roman freedom goddess. She holds a torch above her head with her right hand, and in her left hand carries a tabula ansata inscribed JULY IV MDCCLXXVI (July 4, 1776 in Roman numerals), the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. A broken shackle and chain lie at her feet as she walks ahead, commemorating the recent national abolition of slavery. Following its dedication, the statue became an icon of liberty and of the United States, seen as a symbol of welcome to immigrants coming by sea.
Bartholdi was motivated by a French law professor and politician, Édouard René de Laboulaye, that is said to have commented in 1865 that any monument raised to U.S. independence would correctly be a joint project of the French and U.S. peoples. The Franco-Prussian War delayed progress until 1875, when Laboulaye proposed that the French fund the statue and the U.S. provide the website and build the pedestal.
Bartholdi finished the mind and the torch-bearing arm before the statue was fully designed, and these pieces were exhibited for publicity at international expositions.
The torch-bearing arm was exhibited at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, and in Madison Square Park in Manhattan from 1876 to 1882. Fundraising proved difficult, especially for the Americans, and by 1885 work on the base was jeopardized by insufficient funds. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer, of the New York World, started a drive for donations to complete the project and attracted more than 120,000 contributors, most of whom gave less than a buck. The statue was built in France, sent overseas in crates, and assembled on the finished pedestal on what was then called Bedloe's Island. The statue's conclusion was marked by New York's first ticker-tape parade and a dedication ceremony presided over by President Grover Cleveland.
The statue has been administered by the United States Lighthouse Board until 1901 and then by the Department of War; since 1933 it has been preserved by the National Park Service as part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, and is a major tourist attraction. The monument was temporarily closed from March 16, 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic until partially reopening on July 20, 2020. Public access to the balcony around the torch was barred since 1916.