"Liberty Enlightening the World," a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States, was dedicated on Bedloe's Island during a ceremony presided over by President Grover Cleveland and attended by numerous French and American dignitaries.

The French historian Edouard de Laboulaye originally proposed the 151-foot statue to commemorate the Franco-American alliance during the American Revolution. It was designed by French sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel. Eiffel being famous for his design of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

On the pedestal was inscribed "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."

Eight years later, Ellis Island opened as the chief point-of-entry for immigrants to the United States. Between 1892 and 1923, 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.

Learn more: 1886

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