"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. With these words, inscribed inside her pedestal, the Statue of Liberty has welcomed immigrants to America since 1903. But the Statue of Liberty is herself an immigrant, born in Paris she was shipped across the Atlantic in 214 separate crates, a present to the Americans from the French.
She is a token of friendship forged in the fire of twin revolutions, finessed by thinkers like Alexis de Tocqueville and expressed in the shared language of liberty. But why was this colossal statue built, who built it and what did liberty mean to the Frenchmen who created her and the Americans who received her?
Marvin Trachtenberg, The Statue of Liberty (Art in context) (Allen Lane, 1976)
Robert Tombs, France 1814-1914 (Longman, 1996)
Malcolm Crook ed., Revolutionary France, 1788-1880 (Oxford University Press, 2002)
James F. McMillan, ed., Modern France, 1880-2002 (2002)
Robert Gildea, Children of the Revolution: France, 1799-1914 (Allen Lane, due July 2008)