Statue of Liberty Ribbon
The Statue of Liberty has served as the single most important symbol of the friendship between the two countries and the ideal of democracy since its unveiling on October 28, 1886. At the time it was the tallest structure in America.
The statue was originally a gift to the United States. The relationship between the two countries dates back before the United States was an independent country (Kotler p7). The French were one of the first to explore and settle in North America. Louis Jolliet and Jaques Marquette traveled the Mississippi. René Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle explored the Great Lakes and established Louisiana. Frenchmen built outposts on the Gulf of Mexico, founded New Orleans, and colonized New France from Louisiana to northeast Canada. In the War of Independence, the Marquis de Lafayette fought with General George Washington. In its final battle at Yorktown, General Jean Baptiste de Rochambeau led the French navy and a land crew. Without French support a victory may have been impossible. The United States returned these favors during the two world wars.
The statue was obviously here long before that. The plan started after Lincoln was assassinated. French political reformers under the autocratic regime of Napoleon III looked to Lincoln as a democratic and just politician. These French reformers, including, Edourd-René Lefebvre de Laboulaye, decided to send a gift to Mrs. Lincoln, a gold medal with an inscription. But they felt they needed to make a larger contribution and chose to make this new gift coincide with the centennial celebration of American Independence. The sculptor Fredéric-Auguste Bartholdi (1834-1904) was present when the conversation was taking place and offered to create a gift worthy of such a cause....