The Charters of Freedom - A New World is at Hand close this image window and return to the  exhibit
Deed of Gift, Statue of Liberty, July 4, 1884

“Liberty Enlightening the World,” more commonly known as the Statue of Liberty, was a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States. It stands in New York Harbor. Conceived by the French sculptor Frédéric de Bartholdi, it celebrates a century of friendship between the two nations. In her left arm, Lady Liberty holds a tablet inscribed with the date of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.

Built on a colossal scale, the statue has become one of the most potent symbols of human freedom. The famous sonnet, composed by Emma Lazarus in 1883, and inscribed on the pedestal in 1903, gives voice to a strain of idealism that celebrates the United States as a refuge for the oppressed peoples of the world:

“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!”

From “The New Colossus,” by Emma Lazarus

National Archives, General Records of the Department of State

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