Originally known as “Liberty Enlightening the World,” the statue was proposed by the French historian Edouard de Laboulaye to commemorate the Franco-American alliance during the American Revolution. Designed by French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, the 151-foot statue was the form of a woman with an uplifted arm holding a torch. Its framework of gigantic steel supports was designed by Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, the latter famous for his design of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
In February 1877, Congress approved the use of a site on New York Bedloe’s Island, which was suggested by Bartholdi. In May 1884, the statue was completed in France, and three months later the Americans laid the cornerstone for its pedestal in New York Harbor. In June 1885, the dismantled Statue of Liberty arrived in the New World, enclosed in more than 200 packing cases. Its copper sheets were reassembled, and the last rivet of the monument was fitted on October 28, 1886, during a dedication presided over by President Cleveland and attended by numerous French and American dignitaries.
In 1903, a bronze plaque mounted inside the pedestal’s lower level was inscribed with “The New Colossus,” a sonnet by American poet Emma Lazarus that welcomed immigrants to the United States with the declaration, “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, / The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. / Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. / I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
In 1892, Ellis Island, adjacent to Bedloe’s Island, opened as the chief entry station for immigrants to the United States, and for the next 32 years more than 12 million immigrants were welcomed into New York harbor by the sight of “Lady Liberty.” In 1924, the Statue of Liberty was made a national monument, and in 1956 Bedloe’s Island was renamed Liberty Island. The statue underwent a major restoration in the 1980s.
RUSH ARCHIVE: The Emma Lazarus poem, “Give me your tired, your poor, your hungry, huddled masses,” blah, blah, blah, does not and never has appeared on the Statue of Liberty. It was a poem written in a contest to raise money to build the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty. It was not even put on display inside the exhibit, inside the pedestal until years later. “The New Colossus” is the title of it. It was written in 1883. In 1903, 20 years later, it was engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the Statue of Liberty. You don’t go to the Statue of Liberty, wander around outside and see “The New Colossus” as part of the design on the outside of the Statue of Liberty.
The Statue of Liberty was never meant to be a symbol of immigration. It was meant to be a symbol of liberty and freedom. The Statue of Liberty as designed and constructed had nothing to do with what Emma Lazarus wrote, and it’s another distortion of the left to suggest that this country was founded for the express purpose of taking anybody, anywhere, any planet, any country, who wanted to come into the country, under the guise that they were poor, they were huddled, they were hungry, they were thirsty.
It was not about immigration at all. It was about liberty. We don’t call it the Statue of Immigration. We call it the Statue of Liberty. It was dedicated October 28th, 1886. It is a monument commemorating the centennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Nothing to do with immigration. It commemorated the Declaration of Independence. The French did it. So profound did everyone in the world think the Declaration was, and in fact Abraham Lincoln often gave it more weight than the Constitution itself in terms of its deep meaning. Lady Liberty is stepping forward. She is meant to be carrying the torch of liberty from the United States to the rest of the world. The torch is not to light the way to the United States. It is to light the way to liberty to the rest of the world. Lady Liberty is carrying the light of liberty to the rest of the world. It is not a beacon for immigrants to get to this country because they’re tired, they’re poor, they’re huddled, hungry, or thirsty. Read More…
The Statue was originally designed for the Suez Canal in Egypt. Bartholdi did not craft the basic design of Liberty specifically for America. As a young man, he had visited Egypt and was enchanted by the project underway to dig a channel between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. At Paris world’s fair of 1867, he met with the Khedive, the leader of Egypt, and proposed creating a work as wondrous as the pyramids or sphinxes. He then designed a colossal woman holding up a lamp and wearing the loose fitting dress of a fellah, a slave, to stand as a lighthouse at the entrance of the Suez Canal. The Egypt deal fell through, so Bartholdi decided to adventure to America to pitch his colossus.
We have all heard the shorthand that implies that the statue was exchanged government to government. In fact, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, a mid-career statue maker, decided to pitch a country he had never visited before on his vision to build a massive lighthouse in the shape of a woman. In his diaries and letters, he described his journey to all corners of America, from Niagara Falls to Washington, D.C., from Chicago to Los Angeles, to explore this exotic land and drum up support.
When no significant government funding emerged, he contrived every possible fundraising strategy himself. He put on spectacles of wonder in Paris, charged visitors admission to watch the statue’s construction in a dusty workshop, sold souvenirs, and petitioned the French government to let him run a national lottery.
In the end it was Joseph Pulitzer, the American newspaper magnate, who helped him finish the job by printing the names of every person who donated even a penny to the cause. This strategy rapidly boosted the circulation of Pulitzer’s newspaper when readers bought a copy simply to see their names in the paper—a brilliant marketing strategy.
When the statue was presented to the US. Minister to France in 1884, it is said that he demonstrated that the dominant view of the broken shackles would be offensive to a US South, because since the statue was a reminder of blacks winning their freedom. It was a reminder to a beaten South of the ones who caused their defeat, their despised former captives.
So they changed the face…
- The model for the Statue of Liberty (i.e., the woman who posed for the sculptor, or whose portrait the sculptor used) was a black woman.
- The Statue of Liberty was intended to depict a woman with features representative of the “black race.”
- The Statue of Liberty was created as a tribute to black Civil War soldiers.
- The Statue of Liberty was intended to symbolize the end of slavery in the USA.
Did Freemasons Build the Statue of Liberty?
Many believe there’s another facet to the Statue of Liberty story that has much to do with the secret, worldwide organization that may have had a hand in creating the United States: the freemasons. It’s said that what became Lady Liberty was not just a gift from the French to the Americans, but more specifically, from the French Grand Orient Temple Masons to the Masons of America. And those who take stock in this version of the story believe the real reason for the gift was to commemorate the centenary of the first Masonic Republic.
The symbols, under this theory, take on a whole different translation: The Statue of Liberty is grasping the Masonic “Torch of Enlightenment,” or the “Flaming Torch of Reason,” which seems to go hand-in-hand with the title of the statue itself: “Liberty Enlightening the World.”
And, to drive the point home, one can easily spot the masonic symbols that adorn the bottom of the plaque at the base of the statue.
Bartholdi was a freemason himself, and according to an article by Belgian author and lecturer Robert Bauval, “The ‘torch’ analogy is very interesting. The original statue of Bartholdi destined first for Port Said at the mouth of the Suez Canal, was also to bear a torch intended to symbolize ‘the Orient showing the way.’ The ‘Grand Orient’ is the name of the French Masonic mother lodge, to which Bartholdi belonged. There is another similar ‘torch’ that played a strange role in the French Revolution… It still is to be seen in the skyline of Paris today.”
But whether one embraces the Masonic version of Lady Liberty, or views her as a gift from a talented French sculptor, the symbol is the same — a maternal figure lighting the way to freedom and out of darkness.