Statue of Liberty


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The origin of the Statue of Liberty project is generally traced to a comment made by French law professor and politician Édouard RenĂ© de Laboulaye in mid-1865. In after-dinner conversation at his home near Versailles, Laboulaye, an ardent supporter of the Union in the American Civil War, stated, "If a monument should rise in the United States, as a memorial to their independence, I should think it only natural if it were built by united effort—a common work of both our nations."

Statue of Liberty Access and attributes
Statue of Liberty Location and visiting
The statue is situated in Upper New York Bay on Liberty Island, south of Ellis Island. Both islands were ceded by New York to the federal government in 1800. As agreed in an 1834 compact between New York and New Jersey that set the state border at the bay's midpoint, the original islands remain New York territory despite their location on the New Jersey side of the state line. Land created by reclamation at Ellis is New Jersey territory.
Entrance to the Statue of Liberty National Monument is free, but there is a charge for the ferry service that all visitors must use, as private boats may not dock at the island. A concession was granted in 2007 to Statue of Liberty Cruises to operate the transportation and ticketing facilities, replacing Circle Line, which had operated the service since 1953. The ferries, which depart from Liberty State Park in Jersey City and Battery Park in Lower Manhattan, also stop at Ellis Island, making a combined trip possible. Along with the ferry ticket, visitors intending to enter the Statue of Liberty's base and pedestal must obtain a complimentary museum/pedestal ticket. Those wishing to climb the staircase within the Statue of Liberty to the crown must purchase a special ticket, which may be reserved up to a year in advance. A total of 240 people per day are permitted to ascend: ten per group, three groups per hour. Climbers may bring only medication and cameras—lockers are provided for other items—and must undergo a second security screening.

Statue of Liberty Inscriptions, plaques, and dedications
There are several plaques and dedicatory tablets on or near the Statue of Liberty. A plaque on the copper just under the figure's feet declares that it is a colossal Statue of Liberty representing Liberty, designed by Bartholdi and built by the Paris firm of Gaget, Gauthier et Cie (Cie is the French abbreviation analogous to Co.). A presentation tablet, also bearing Bartholdi's name, declares the Statue of Liberty to be a gift from the people of the Republic of France that honors "the Alliance of the two Nations in achieving the Independence of the United States of America and attests their abiding friendship." There is a tablet placed by the New York committee that commemorates the fundraising done to build the pedestal. The cornerstone also bears a plaque, placed by the Freemasons.
In 1903, a bronze tablet that bears the text of "The New Colossus" and commemorates Emma Lazarus was presented by friends of the poet. Until the 1986 renovation, it was mounted inside the pedestal; today it resides in the Statue of Liberty Museum in the base. It is accompanied by a tablet given by the Emma Lazarus Commemorative Committee in 1977, celebrating the poet's life.
A group of Statue of Liberty stands at the western end of the island, honoring those closely associated with the Statue of Liberty. Two Americans—Pulitzer and Lazarus—and three Frenchmen—Bartholdi, Laboulaye, and Eiffel—are depicted. They are the work of Maryland sculptor Phillip Ratner.
In 1984, the Statue of Liberty was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The UNESCO "Statement of Significance" describes the Statue of Liberty as a "masterpiece of the human spirit" that "endures as a highly potent symbol—inspiring contemplation, debate and protest—of ideals such as liberty, peace, human rights, abolition of slavery, democracy and opportunity."