Sarah Palin: French gave Statue of Liberty as 'warning' on U.S. democracy

  @ibtimes on June 01 2011 3:35 PM
Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin (R), former governor of Alaska, greets supporters as she exits the Fox News headquarters in New York, June 1, 2011. REUTERS

Sarah Palin in New York on Wednesday reflected on the meaning of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island as her 'One Nation' tour of historical sites and wound its way past the country's largest city.

Her trip was somewhat sidetracked from its purpose when she visited Donald Trump in New York City on Wednesday, holding a brief pizza dinner in Times Square, where Trump said he would like to see Palin run for president. Palin has said she is contemplating the move but has not made a decision.

Previous stops on Palin's tour have included the Liberty Bell and independence Hall in Philadelphia, the Gettysburg Civil War battlefield in Pennsylvania, George Washington's former home in Mount Vernon, Fort McHenry site of a battle which inspired the 'Star-Spangled Banner' national anthem, the National Archives where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence are housed, and Washington D.C.

Lady Liberty is the symbol of unity and friendship we have with other freedom-loving nations. It's also a warning of sorts, as France encouraged us to keep democracy alive as the recipient of this gift... basically telling us not to blow it. Thank you for this reminder, France! she wrote on her SarahPAC.com website.

The statue was a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States, which was dedicated in 1886, designated as a National Monument in 1924 and restored in 1986.

The idea from the statue came from French lawyer, author and historian Edouard de Laboulaye who saw the United States as a country that had proved that democracy was a viable type of government - after all they had just survived a Civil War and abolished slavery, according to a National Park Service history of the statue.

De Laboulaye also saw the gift as a way to reflect his wish for a democracy in France, the Park service noted.

The statue's full title is Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World.

Her trip also included Ellis Island, which was an immigrant inspection station from the late 1800s to the mid 1950s, according to the NPS. Over 12 million immigrants passed through the site.

Most of the passengers who passed through Ellis Island were steerage or third class passengers aboard ships, according to NPS. They were usually inspected and processed in a 3 to 5 hour period. More affluent first or second class ticket holders received a cursory inspection on the boat they were riding on and only went to Ellis Island if they were sick or had legal problems.

Only two percent of the arriving immigrants were excluded from entry, according to NPS.

Seeing all the young students on field trips - and generations of families visiting as one - I was reminded of a Ronald Reagan speech from Liberty State Park in September 1980, Palin wrote.  He spoke of the Americans who passed through Ellis Island and whose first glimpse of their adopted country was the grand statue in New York's harbor. He talked about our shared values and the common thread of the American dream across an endless mix of backgrounds.

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