An admirer of the Untied State’s history and constitution, anti-slavery activist Edouard de Laboulaye wanted to give a gift to the Americans cementing their relationship and commitment to friendship. He formed the Franco-American Union to aid newly freed slaves and befriended sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi to design the work.

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Construction began in 1876 in coincide with the US’s centennial celebration. The arm with the torch was completed that same year but it wasn’t until 1884 that the statue was fully assembled in Paris. Delays in the construction of the base on Bedloe’s Island in NY caused the statue to be ready 1886.

Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel’s iron framework for the statue was the first piece to go up. This allowed steam powered cranes to hoist up building materials and the copper siding to be hammered into place.

October 28, 1886, the statue of “Liberty Enlightening the World” was unveiled to a crowd of over a million New Yorkers where she acts as a welcoming “gateway” into America.