Grover Cleveland

Remarks on the Unveiling of the Statue of Liberty in New York City

October 28, 1886

The people of the United States accept with gratitude from their brethren of the French Republic the grand and completed work of art we here inaugurate.

This token of the affection and consideration of the people of France demonstrates the kinship of republics, and conveys to us the assurance that in our efforts to commend to mankind the excellence of a government resting upon popular will, we still have beyond the American continent, a steadfast ally.

We are not here to day to bow before the representation of a fierce and warlike god, filled with wrath and vengeance, but we joyously contemplate instead, our own deity keeping watch and ward before the open gates of America, and greater than all that have been celebrated in ancient song. Instead of grasping in her hand thunderbolts of terror and of death, she holds aloft the light which illumines the way to man's enfranchisement.

We will not forget that liberty has here made her home; nor shall her chosen altar be neglected. Willing votaries will constantly keep alive its fires, and these shall gleam upon the shores of our sister republic in the East. Reflected thence and joined with answering rays, a stream of light shall pierce the darkness of ignorance and man's oppression, until liberty enlightens the world.

Grover Cleveland, Remarks on the Unveiling of the Statue of Liberty in New York City Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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