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Episode 2616             Episode 2618
Episode 2617

Statue of Liberty
Thu, 2024-Jul-04 00:33 UTC
Length - 4:11

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Welcome to Featured Wiki of the Day, your daily dose of knowledge from Wikipedia’s finest articles.

The featured article for Thursday, 4 July 2024 is Statue of Liberty.

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 City. The copper statue, a gift to the U. S. from the people of France, was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and its metal framework was built by Gustave Eiffel. The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886.

The statue is a figure of Libertas, the Roman goddess of liberty. 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 chain and shackle lie at her feet as she walks forward, commemorating the national abolition of slavery following the American Civil War. After its dedication the statue became an icon of freedom and of the United States, being subsequently seen as a symbol of welcome to immigrants arriving by sea.

The idea for the statue was born in 1865, when the French historian and abolitionist Édouard de Laboulaye proposed a monument to commemorate the upcoming centennial of U. S. independence (1876), the perseverance of American democracy and the liberation of the nation's slaves. The Franco-Prussian War delayed progress until 1875, when Laboulaye proposed that the people of France finance the statue and the United States provide the site and build the pedestal. Bartholdi completed the head 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 displayed 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 pedestal was threatened by lack of funds. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer, of the New York World, started a drive for donations to finish the project and attracted more than 120,000 contributors, most of whom gave less than a dollar (equivalent to $34 in 2023). The statue was built in France, shipped overseas in crates, and assembled on the completed pedestal on what was then called Bedloe's Island. The statue's completion was marked by New York's first ticker-tape parade and a dedication ceremony presided over by President Grover Cleveland.

The statue was administered by the United States Lighthouse Board until 1901 and then by the Department of War; since 1933, it has been maintained by the National Park Service as part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, and is a major tourist attraction. Limited numbers of visitors can access the rim of the pedestal and the interior of the statue's crown from within; public access to the torch has been barred since 1916.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 00:33 UTC on Thursday, 4 July 2024.

For the full current version of the article, see Statue of Liberty on Wikipedia.

This podcast uses content from Wikipedia under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

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Until next time, I'm long-form Ruth.

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