"[A] masterpiece of the human spirit [that] endures as a highly potent symbol - inspiring contemplation, debate and protest - of ideals such as liberty, peace, human rights, abolition of slavery, democracy, and opportunity." (The UNESCO Statement of Significance, describing the Statue of Liberty)
Among America's countless monuments and landmarks, none embodies the principles of the nation quite like Lady Liberty, the colossal statue that stands on Liberty Island in New York Harbor. A gift from the French that was built and transported in the late 19th century, the Statue of Liberty has been a symbol of the United States' guarantee of individual freedom. Its location took on added meaning as it welcomed millions of immigrants sailing across the Atlantic to nearby Ellis Island.
People around the world are instantly familiar with the statue today, whether from seeing pictures or depictions of it or actually visiting it and going inside. But the story of its construction is just as fascinating. Conceived as a monument that would commemorate the crucial alliance between America and France, the statue was a massive undertaking, from fundraising to the construction of the sculpture and a pedestal. The project took several years and a precarious transport of the statue's pieces across the Atlantic to New York, where it was officially dedicated in 1886 and celebrated with a ticker tape parade.