In celebration of Throwback Thursday, our history of Lady Liberty series continues!
To the great fortune of Bartholdi and Laboulaye, Napoleon III was deposed as a result of the Franco-Prussian War, leading to the establishment of the more liberally-minded French Third Republic in France. With this shift in government, Bartholdi and Laboulaye saw the perfect opportunity to engage influential Americans about their plans to develop a joint monument celebrating liberty as a gift to the United States.
In June 1871, the pair arrived in New York Harbor, where Bartholdi got his first glimpses of Bedloe’s Island. The island, he thought to himself, would make for the perfect location for the colossal monument he envisioned.
To Bartholdi’s delight, he discovered that Bedloe’s Island was owned by the U.S government, thus the property of all states. He hurriedly set about entertaining powerful New Yorkers, before setting his sights on Washington, D.C., where he sat with President Ulysses S. Grant. Grant was receptive of the idea, and assured Bartholdi that securing Bedloe’s Island for the work would not be a problem.
Twice traveling across the U.S. by rail, Bartholdi had made significant headway in gaining support from American sympathetic to the cause. Upon returning to France, however, he worried that popular opinion for the project was not yet sufficient.
While the plans to build the Statue of Liberty had been set in motion, it would still be another four years before Bartholdi would commence construction on the iconic monument…
Stay tuned for The History of the Statue of Liberty: Part 3 on Friday!
In case you missed it, read Part 1 of this multi-part series.
*Header photo of Lady Liberty by Mike Gutkin. Check out his other awesome work on Instagram (@mc_gutty)!