19th Century US History

Why France Gave the Statue of Liberty to the us



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The Statue of Liberty is perhaps one of America’s most important landmarks. To many Americans and non-Americans the Statue of Liberty represents freedom, democracy and American ideals. Above all though the Statue of Liberty shows friendship not just between France and the US but the international community too.

Frenchman Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was the man who was commissioned to design the sculpture. His work was expected to be finished in 1876 which would be the year when America would be celebrating 100 years of the American Declaration of Independence.

The statue was to be built by joint effort by the American and French sides. The Americans would be responsible for building the pedestal and the French would responsible for the Statue and assembly.  One thing that seemed to stop work was a lack of funding. To overcome this the French used public fees and lotteries to raise enough money. The Americans used theatrical events, art exhibitions, auctions and other ways to find funding.

So why did the French go to all this trouble to give the Statue of Liberty to the United States? The Franco-American alliance is what led to the gift of the Statue of Liberty. American’s were fighting against the British and France had often been more than happy to help. Often the French would give America military aid and loans to various American colonies.

This is said to be the turning point of the US War of Independence. France had lost its North American empire after the French and Indian War. Rivalry with the British was still a hot point for the French and they would happily undermine Britain’s position. Often France would secretly give American colonists loans.

The American Revolution was greatly aided by France who also helped to provide weapons. Due to this massive support from France America was able to defeat the British. The British up to that point had a very strong military. If France did not help the Americans they would have likely not been able to gain independence from Britain.

America was still a largely undeveloped nation. It needed a strong formal alliance with France. This was done by Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane and Arthur Lee. Despite their effort France was still unsure of an alliance with a young country. France however did help to finance many battles against the British though.

The Statue of Liberty has become a symbol of America and a very important one. Today many people from all around the world recognize it for freedom and the free world.

More about this author: Amreen Bi

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