The Story Behind the Statue of ‘Liberty Enlightening the World’

statue of liberty

It is amazing how life can inspire one in a certain direction. Experiences can define what we achieve in our lives. For Auguste Bartholdi, a trip to visit the Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza in Egypt turned into a life-changing experience.

Born in 1834 in Colmar, Alsace, France, he then extensively studied art, sculpture, and architecture. He jumped at the opportunity to design a lighthouse for the Suez Canal for the Egyptian government in 1869. He was ready to take on the project. What he designed is the American Statue of Liberty. It is a colossal statue of a robed woman holding a torch. Bartholdi named the statue, Egypt (or Progress) Brings Light to Asia.

He was turned away in Egypt but was later given a new opportunity to design such a statue in 1865 by Edouard de Laboulaye. Edouard proposed a monument that represented freedom and democracy be designed for the United States. Again, Bartholdi was eager and he took the opportunity to design the Statue of “Liberty Enlightening the World” in 1870.

First fully constructed in Paris, the statue was presented by the Franco American Union to the United States Ambassador in 1884. The assembly was overseen by Bartholdi himself in 1886 when it was inaugurated in its location on Bedloe’s Island in New York. Bartholdi worked very hard to raise funds and support for his design which made the completed statue possible. In 1872, Bartholdi created the Franco-American Union in Paris which raised 400,000 francs to fund the construction of the Statue. Lady Liberty is an iconic statue today and a definite sculpture to see up close and in-person.