Q120: Where is the Statue of Liberty?

Washington, D.C.
Austin, Texas
Independence Hall, Philadelphia
New York Harbor

Question Background Information


Édouard de Laboulaye, a French republican, abolitionist, and admirer of America, proposed that the French people contribute a statute to commemorate America’s achievements in maintaining a free government and in ending slavery at the conclusion of the Civil War. (The broken chains at the statue’s feet symbolize this).

“Liberty Enlightening the World,” better known as the Statue of Liberty, was a gift of the French people to the United States, commemorating the centennial of the American Revolution and republic that also inspired the French republic. That is why the tablet in her hand reads July 4, 1776. The statue was installed in New York harbor and dedicated in 1886. Laboulaye’s friend Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi sculpted the statue.

Her position next to Ellis Island, which opened as America’s primary immigration intake in 1892, the installation of Emma Lazarus’s poem “The New Colossus” at the base of the statue in 1903, and the use of the statue’s imagery as a part of efforts to “Americanize” and assimilate immigrant children between World War I and II has led to an association of the statue with immigration, including the concepts of the “American Dream” and America as a place of hope and opportunity for people around the world in search of a better life. This symbolism of the Statue of Liberty is arguably more prominent today than the French contributors’ celebration of republicanism and abolition.

Additional Content

Discussion Prompts


The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to commemorate the Declaration of Independence’s centennial.  French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi was chosen to create the sculpture, which would be presented to the United States in 1876.  The gift was actually a joint effort -- the United States funded and built the pedestal.

Prompt 1 

The Statue of Liberty sits in a harbor off of the East Coast.  Where exactly is the Statue of Liberty located?  Why did France give the Statue to the United States and what does it symbolize?  

Prompt 2 

After the September 11, 2001, attack on the United States, a newscaster stated, “the Statue of Liberty is still standing.”  This was an important statement for a number of reasons.  What does the Statue symbolize?  Why would it be particularly important that day?  How do monuments influence the citizens of a nation?  Why do nations build monuments?  Use current and past examples of to illustrate your answer.