Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty found in New York is one of the most known monuments in the world. It is not only a tourist attraction, but it is considered a landmark that differentiates New York from other cities. A symbol is supposed to stand for an idea: the Statue of Liberty is considered a universal symbol of freedom. Initially, the statue was conceived as an emblem of the exiting friendship between the United States’ and French citizens as an indication of their citizens’ desire for liberty. However, over the years, the statue has become much more. For instance, the Statue is considered as the mother of exiles that greets millions of immigrants who are looking for better opportunities in America (Berenson 298). The Stature usually stirs the desire for freedom in people all over the world. President Grover Cleveland stated, “We will not forget that Liberty has here made her home; nor shall her chosen altar be neglected.”
The Statue of Liberty represents many things. One of the things it represents is the friendship between France and the United States. It was erected to signify the political cooperation between the United States and France. In particular, the statue was a gift of the French people to America on the centennial anniversary of American independence (Stanton 15). The notion of the statue being a gift is further expanded by the fact that the funding for the statue came from citizen groups. Besides, there is also the context of French-American cultural and trade relations. In the 1880s, the United States was emerging as an economic power, while France was declining (Berenson 298). In particular, when the statue was crossing the Atlantic, the two nations were engaged in a trade war with the two countries looking to reduce the amount of trade between the two markets using tariffs (Stanton 15). Therefore, the people responsible for the statue may have used it as a peace offering aimed at mending a relationship that was already becoming stormy.
The statue also had a political significance to the French people, especially those who were struggling to establish a liberal democratic republic against the rule of Napoleon III. In particular, the concerns that French moderates had resonated among the American upper and middle classes. Therefore, the statue epitomized the endurance that the American political institutions had (Stanton 15). Some authors have argued that the statue is a public monument to the emancipation of slavery in the United States. The brain behind the statue, Laboulaye, is quoted to have been a supporter of the Union cause as he was the head of the French antislavery society. Funds to make the statue were raised from Union League and other groups that are associated with the Union cause. The provision of funds confirms the of the statue role as a symbol of freedom and unity to America and its citizens.
The statue was set in New York harbor representing the particular pluralistic American nationalism tied to immigration and not nativism as well as exclusion. In the 1930s and 1940s, the Statue signified hope for immigrants who were seeking economic opportunity and freedom (Bojórquez and Cellini 12). Some argue that the association of the statue with immigrants had started during the inception when Emma Lazarus wrote the “The New Colossus” poem. The meaning, however, became apparent in the 1920s when the immigration restriction legislation were passed. The use of the statue in connection with immigration continued during the war years and post-war years when the world was changing, and the United States was one of the countries that were not affected.
The statue is also considered a symbol of national unity due to the connection with instances when Americans came together to deal with various atrocities (Bojórquez and Cellini 12). The statue’s place in American political culture emanates from its status as a monument under the ownership of the federal government. The statue is associated with political ideals such as freedom, emancipation, national unity, and freedom, while some groups attempt to link the statue to specific political causes.
The statue has also formed an essential part of popular culture today and in the past. For instance, the statue is a staple of advertising as well as commercial ar. The statue is also a figure in popular entertainment and a popular tourist attraction. It has also been used as a favorite art in imitation of dramatic reenactments and folk art. The use of the statue in popular culture has grown over time.
Overall, the Statue of Liberty was a symbolic gift from the French people to the people of America while celebrating the first 100 years of independence. However, much meaning has been drawn from the statue, such as a sign of freedom, national unity, emancipation, and specific political causes. The statue also signified hope to immigrants who came to search for a better life. This connection continued in the post-war years. Popular culture has also used the statue for different purposes such as art, drama, and as a tourist attraction.
Berenson, Edward. “Sentinel: The Unlikely Origins of the Statue of Liberty by Francesca Lidia Viano.” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 50.2 (2019): 297-299.
Bojórquez, Mario, and Don Cellini. “Statue of Liberty.” Manoa 31.2 (2019): 12-12.
Stanton, Bonita F. “Delivering on the Promise of the Statue of Liberty.” Pediatric Clinics 66.3 (2019): 15-16.