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– The Statue of Liberty –
Learn English – Lesson 85 – The Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty, on Liberty Island, in the middle of the New York Harbour, is one of the most recognised sculptures in the world. According to some, the project is attributed to a supposed comment made by French law professor and politician Édouard René de Laboulaye in 1865. An ardent supporter of the Union in the American Civil War, he is supposed to have said:
« 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. »
French sculptor, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, designed the statue after being inspired by this comment and worked with Laboulaye to consider how best to express the idea of American liberty. However, such a large project was delayed by the Franco-Prussian War. By its end in May 1971, Bartholdi’s home province of Alsace was lost to the Prussians, and a more liberal republic was installed in France. The project was reinstated and a month later he and Laboulaye decided the time was right to cross the Atlantic, with letters of introduction signed by Laboulaye, in order to discuss the idea with influential Americans.
Bartholdi crossed America, meeting with many influential Americans who he felt would be sympathetic to the project, including President Ulysses S. Grant but he was still concerned about the insufficient support from both sides of the Atlantic and so the idea to mount a public campaign was postponed. With the recovering post-war economy in 1875, Laboulaye decided to seek the much-needed public support, announcing the Franco-American Union as the fundraising arm for the project. At the announcement the statue was named “Liberty Enlightening the World” and it was revealed that France would finance the statue whilst America would pay for the pedestal. Although the announcement generated a favourable reaction generally, there were many Frenchmen who resented the United States for not coming to their aid during the war with Prussia and French monarchists opposed it merely because Laboulaye was a liberal.
Events were arranged to appeal to the rich and powerful in order to generate support and funds and they received donations of copper from industrialists. Although plans for the statue had not been finalised, Bartholdi moved forward with fabrication of the right arm, bearing the torch, and the head. The Centennial Exhibition, the first official World’s Fair in the United States, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence was held from May 10 to November 10, 1876, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Bartholdi travelled to the United States as a member of a French delegation to the Centennial Exhibition to exhibit the completed arm, and arranged for a huge painting of the statue to be shown in New York as part of the Centennial festivities. The arm did not arrive in Philadelphia until August and was not listed in the exhibition catalogue, nevertheless, the arm proved popular in its limited time at the exhibition. After the exhibition closed, the arm was transported to New York, where it remained on display in Madison Square Park for several years before it being returned to France to join the rest of the statue.
The head and arm had been built with the assistance of Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, a gothic revival architect and theorist. However, in 1879 he fell ill and eventually died. The following year, Bartholdi was able to obtain the services of designer and builder Gustave Eiffel. Through Eiffel’s work, the statue become supported by an interior framework, instead of the intended load bearing design and also included spiral staircases. By 1882, the statue was complete up to the waist, but its completion on July 4th, 1884 was unwitnessed by Laboulaye who had passed away a year earlier.
At the presentation ceremony in Paris it was announced that the French government had agreed to pay for its transport to New York. By January 1885, the pedestal had been completed and the statue was disassembled and packed away for its voyage. On arriving in New York a ceremony of dedication was held and on 28th October, 1886 several hundred thousand people went to witness the parade through New York beginning at Madison Square, through Battery Park, Broadway, and passed the New York Stock Exchange. Traders at the Exchange threw ticker tape from the windows, beginning the New York tradition of the ticker-tape parade.
The statue was eventually mounted on the island and it rapidly became a landmark and has been a welcoming sight for immigrants and visitors to New York ever since.
Interactive Video Comprehension Quiz 1:
Summary Statements Comprehension Quiz 2:
Drag and Drop Quiz 3:
Here is a comprehensive list of complex prepositions:
|According||As stated by or in, in relation to|
|Ahead of||In front of or before|
|Á la (from French)||In the style or manner of|
|Along with||In company with or at the same time as|
|Apart from||Except for, in addition to, as well as|
|As for||With regard to|
|Aside from||Apart from|
|As per||In accordance with|
|As to||With respect to, concerning|
|As well as||And, also, in addition|
|Away from||Conceptually to one side|
|Because of||On account of, by reason of|
|But for||Except for, if it were not for|
|By means of||With the help or agency of|
|Close to||Close on, almost, very nearly|
|Contrary to||Conflicting with, counter to|
|Depending on||Being conditioned by, contingent on|
|Due to||Caused by or ascribable to, owing to, because of|
|Except for||Not including, other than|
|Forward to||In front of|
|Further to||Beyond or in addition to what has already been done|
|In addition to||As an extra thing or circumstance|
|In between||Situated somewhere between two extremes or recognised categories|
|In case of||In the event of a particular situation|
|In the face of||When confronted with|
|In favour of||To be replaced by, to the advantage of|
|In front of||In a position just ahead or at the front part of someone or something else|
|In lieu of||Instead of|
|In spite of||Despite|
|Instead of||As a substitute or alternative to, in place of|
|In view of||Because or as a result of|
|Irrespective of||Not taking into account, regardless of|
|Near to||Verging on, similar to|
|Next to||In comparison with, almost, beside|
|On account of||Because of|
|On behalf of||As a representative of|
|On board||On or in a ship, or other vehicle|
|On to (UK), onto||Moving to a location on, moving aboard|
|On top of||Over, in control of, in addition to|
|Opposite…to||Opposite in meaning to another, diametrically different|
|Other than||Apart from, except|
|Out of||Spoken by, situated a specified distance from a place|
|Outside of||Beyond the boundaries of, apart from|
|Owing to||Because of or on account of|
|Preparatory to||As a preparation for|
|Prior to||Before a particular time or event|
|Regardless of||Without regard or consideration for|
|Save for||Except for|
|Thanks to||As a result of, due to|
|Together with||As well as, along with|
|Up against||Close to or in contact with, facing some serious but unspecified difficulty|
|Up to||As far as, indicating a maximum amount, good enough for|
|Up until||Up to the point in time|
|Vis-á-vis (from French)||In relation to, with regard to, as compared with|
|With reference to||In relation to, as regards|
|With regard to||As concerns, with respect to|
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