The woman was big. Colossal, they called her. The biggest ever. Why, her nose was four feet long. She had almost sunk on the voyage from Europe. Now she was in New York harbor, with no place to go. Her home wasn't ready. It was June 1885, and workmen prepared to unload 214 wooden cases which held the body of the handsome woman. She was a gift from the people of France to the people of America. She was, of course, the Statue of Liberty, and she was about to become a metaphor. The New York World had this to say: "The $250,000 that the statue cost was paid by the masses of the French people, irrespective of class or condition."
Usually metaphors are words. But this metaphor was a copper-skinned giant of a lady. She soon came to represent two things: the spirit of freedom, and America's policy of welcome to people from around the world. She was conceived at a French dinner party in 1865, where the scholarly dinner host, Edouard de Laboulaye, was talking about liberty and America. Laboulaye saw the recent Civil War, terrible as it had been, as a triumph for forces of liberty. That awful paradoxslavery in the land of the freewas no more. How could the French join with Americans to celebrate their ideal of freedom, liberty, and justice for all? Among the guests at that dinner was a sculptor named Frederic Bartholdi. He was swept away by the conversation. He decided to visit America.