Statue of Liberty Sightseeing Tour & Dinner Cruise

The Symbolism & History of the Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty Facts: Unveiling the Symbolism and History of the Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty, an iconic symbol of freedom and democracy, stands proudly in New York Harbor, captivating the hearts of millions who visit it each year. According to Time Out, there's "no trip to NYC (perhaps no trip the United States), is complete without a visit to the Mother of Exiles at Liberty Island. But what is the story behind this colossal monument, and why was it built? Join us as we delve into the fascinating history and symbolism of the Statue of Liberty, also known as Lady Liberty.

Why was the Statue of Liberty built?

The Statue of Liberty was conceived and built to commemorate the enduring friendship between the United States and France and to celebrate the shared values of liberty and democracy. It was intended to symbolize the long-standing alliance between the two nations and their mutual commitment to the ideals of freedom and independence. The statue was also intended to serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration for immigrants arriving in the United States seeking a better life.


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The Story Behind the Statue of Liberty

The story of the Statue of Liberty dates back to the late 19th century when French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi envisioned a monument that would embody the spirit of liberty. With the help of French historian Edouard René de Laboulaye, Bartholdi designed the statue as a colossal neoclassical sculpture, drawing inspiration from ancient Roman goddesses. The design combined Laboulaye's desire to commemorate the U.S. Centennial with his admiration for American democracy.

Who was the Statue of Liberty initially built for?

While the statue was a gift from France to the United States, it was initially built to symbolize the alliance between the two nations and the shared values of freedom. The statue's primary purpose was to honor the United States as a whole, and it was meant to be a symbol of friendship and goodwill between France and America.

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Why is it called Lady Liberty?

The term "Lady Liberty" is a colloquial and endearing nickname for the Statue of Liberty. The statue is often personified as a female figure, which is a common practice in art and symbolism. The use of "Lady" emphasizes the statue's feminine attributes and its role as a symbol of freedom and enlightenment.


The Secret Symbolism of the Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is rich in symbolism. The seven rays on her crown represent the seven continents, symbolizing the universal nature of freedom. The broken chains at her feet symbolize the end of oppression and tyranny. Her torch held high above her head, represents enlightenment and the path to a brighter future. These symbols collectively convey the message of freedom, democracy, and hope for a better world.

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Who is Lady Liberty based on?

While the Statue of Liberty does not depict a specific person, it draws inspiration from various sources. Some historians suggest that Bartholdi may have been influenced by the ancient Roman goddess Libertas, who was a symbol of liberty and freedom. However, the statue is a unique creation that embodies the ideals of democracy rather than representing a particular individual.

Lady Liberty's Motto

The pedestal of the Statue of Liberty bears a plaque with the famous lines from the poem "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus. The most well-known part of the poem is, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." This motto reflects the statue's significance as a welcoming symbol for immigrants coming to America in search of a better life.

Chains on Her Feet

The chains at the feet of the Statue of Liberty symbolize the breaking of chains and the end of oppression. They represent liberation from tyranny and the struggles faced by those seeking freedom. The chains are a poignant reminder of the values that the United States holds dear: freedom, equality, and the pursuit of happiness.

What the Statue of Liberty Holds

The Statue of Liberty holds a torch high above her head. This torch represents enlightenment and the spread of knowledge. It symbolizes the idea that by embracing freedom and knowledge, societies can progress and overcome darkness and ignorance.

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Lady Liberty's Toga

The toga worn by the Statue of Liberty is a nod to the classical Greco-Roman tradition. The toga was a typical garment in ancient Rome, and its use in the statue's design reinforces the connection to the democratic ideals of ancient Greece and Rome, which heavily influenced the formation of modern Western democracies.


The Statue of Liberty stands as an enduring testament to the values of freedom, democracy, and hope. Its creation was a collaborative effort between France and the United States, symbolizing their friendship and shared commitment to liberty. Through its symbolism and historical significance, Lady Liberty continues to inspire generations and remind us of the enduring importance of liberty for all.


There's no better way to see the Lady Liberty than cruising on the Hudson River with your loved ones. Embark on Louisa of the Seas and enjoy a luxury selection of food & beverages with the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge & Manhattan Skyline as your backdrop. Book a reservation today with NYC Water Cruises

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