The Political and Architectural Significance of the Statue of Liberty

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The Political and Architectural Significance of the Statue of Liberty

By | April 2013
Page 1 of 3
Scott McCulloch
THE STATUE OF LIBERTY

The Statue of Liberty is a neoclassical monument that stands on Liberty Island in New York Harbour. It was given as a gift from France in 1886 and has become a world famous icon. The statue is of great political significance, symbolising the ideals of the age it was constructed and reflecting the principles of the American Declaration of Independence, a constitution that modern America still has as its political compass. It is also architecturally significant because its design successfully embodied the liberal tenets of the age and has managed to retain its iconic status in the modern world. The gift of the Statue of Liberty was the culmination of over 100 years of favourable relations and shared political ideals between the USA and France, and this relationship began before the nation of America was created. As a reaction to authoritarian British rule, 13 colonies in North America fought a revolutionary war and claimed independence in 1776. This victory was made possible by a treaty they signed with France. French troops and finance helped defeat the British and the United States of America was born (Cowie 1993). This new country created a constitution based on ideals of liberty and equality and less than fifteen years later, France was to have its own revolution, based on the same ideals (Cowie 1993). Within 100 years however, France was yet again under absolute rule, and yet again French republicans were looking to America for inspiration. Eduoard de Laboulaye, a famous French teacher and author, looked to America with great admiration. America had just come out of a civil war which had ended slavery. It seemed to Laboulaye that America would go to great lengths, even war with itself, to uphold the ideals of liberty for all (Roberts 2002).

Laboulaye was keen to rekindle the close relationship both countries had enjoyed in previous years. At a dinner party he hosted in 1865 he put forward the idea of building a...

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