1 of 15
LIFE magazine once offered some thoughts on the nature of Independence Day that might sound, to our modern ears, both quaint and—despite the dull, predictable snark that colors so much of contemporary culture—somehow still quite genuine:
Here, long after those words were written, and on the anniversary of the day the Statue of Liberty was dedicated (Oct. 28, 1886), here are photos of Lady Liberty as captured by LIFE photographers through the years.
Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter @lizabethronk.