Lady Liberty’s Father

“Remain steadfast in the faith; instruct yourself; bridle your tongue; repress your wrath; forbear to do evil; associate with the good; screen the faults of your neighbor; relieve the poor by your alms; and expect your reward in eternity.”
—Édouard René de Laboulaye (1811–1883, French poet, author and abolitionist)

Statue of Liberty, Liberty Enlightening the World, France, Gift, Frenchman, Bronze, Constitution, Slavery, Slaves, Liberty, Freedom, Emancipation, Civil War, French, Anti-Slavery, New York Harbor, Liberty Island

Paying for and building the pedestal was the responsibility of the U.S.

Monsieur Laboulaye, often referred to as the “Father of the Statue of Liberty,” proposed the idea of a statue to liberty in 1871. It was to embody and honor the idea of liberty, to affirm the political alliance between France and the United States, and to celebrate the centennial of the independence of the American colonies from Great Britain, for centuries France’s geopolitical rival.

Statue of Liberty, Liberty Enlightening the World, France, Gift, Frenchman, Bronze, Constitution, Slavery, Slaves, Liberty, Freedom, Emancipation, Civil War, French, Anti-Slavery, New York Harbor, Liberty Island

The torch of the Statue dates from the statue’s 1986 renovation.

What with the American Civil War having ended six years before Monsieur Laboulaye suggested designing a physical tribute to liberty, the emancipation of the American South’s slaves would also be commemorated. A broken chain, symbolizing the chain of bondage having been broken, rests at the feet of “Liberty Enlightening the World,” the statue’s official title.

Statue of Liberty, Liberty Enlightening the World, France, Gift, Frenchman, Bronze, Constitution, Slavery, Slaves, Liberty, Freedom, Emancipation, Civil War, French, Anti-Slavery, New York Harbor, Liberty Island

In the Statue of Liberty Museum on Liberty Island.

This bronze bust of Monsieur Laboulaye, an acknowledged expert on the U.S. Constitution, was modeled by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi (1834–1904), designer and sculptor of the Statue of Liberty, which was created in Paris, and shipped to NYC in sections.

Statue of Liberty, Liberty Enlightening the World, France, Gift, Frenchman, Bronze, Constitution, Slavery, Slaves, Liberty, Freedom, Emancipation, Civil War, French, Anti-Slavery, New York Harbor, Liberty Island

In the Statue of Liberty Museum on Liberty Island.

Published in 1863, “Why the North Cannot Accept of Separation” is a pamphlet by Monsieur Laboulaye, who was well-known among Americans for his writings supporting the Union’s cause, his stance against slavery, and his support of President Lincoln. The Frenchman was instrumental persuading his government not to lend support to the Confederacy.

Statue of Liberty, Liberty Enlightening the World, France, Gift, Frenchman, Bronze, Constitution, Slavery, Slaves, Liberty, Freedom, Emancipation, Civil War, French, Anti-Slavery, New York Harbor, Liberty Island

In the Statue of Liberty Museum on Liberty Island.

The photo original of Monsieur Laboulaye is in a private collection. He was president of the French Anti-Slavery Society.

Statue of Liberty, Liberty Enlightening the World, France, Gift, Frenchman, Bronze, Constitution, Slavery, Slaves, Liberty, Freedom, Emancipation, Civil War, French, Anti-Slavery, New York Harbor, Liberty Island

The pedestal for the Statue was designed by Richard Morris Hunt.

Read more of our articles about Miss Liberty.
Unusual Views of Miss Liberty
Replicating Miss Liberty

Statue of Liberty, Liberty Enlightening the World, France, Gift, Frenchman, Bronze, Constitution, Slavery, Slaves, Liberty, Freedom, Emancipation, Civil War, French, Anti-Slavery, New York Harbor, Liberty Island

The seven spikes of the Statue’s crown represent the seven continents of the globe.

Famous for the lines “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” the sonnet with those lines, “The New Colossus” was written by Emma Lazarus (1849–1887) as a donation to an auction to raise money to build the pedestal for the Statue. Discover where Miss Lazarus lived when you take our Greenwich Village Walking Tour. What American author would later live down the street from her house? Take the Tour; Know More!

ALL PHOTOS AND TEXT, EXCEPT CREDITED QUOTES, © THE AUTHOR 2019

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