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Statue of Liberty

De Laboulaye Heads Franco-American Union

By Benjamin Levine and Isabelle F. Story
National Park Service, 1961

This Web Version
GET NJ COPYRIGHT 2003

Plan Approved and Fund Raising Undertaken
Bartholdi's conception of the international memorial was accepted, and in November 1875 the Franco-American Union was formed to make plans, secure funds, and prosecute the program. Edouard de Laboulaye was named president of the Union, and among its members were the most notable names in France. It was decided that the finished work of the entire monument would represent the joint effort of the two nations. The French people would build the statue and transport it to the United States; and the American people would build the pedestal on which it was to stand. The French people responded instantaneously, and Bartholdi was able to start work on the statue almost immediately. Public fetes and other entertainments were given to help raise funds. Gounod, the famous composer, wrote a song to the statue which he presented at the Paris Opera. In the spring of 1878 it was decided to organize a lottery to augment the fund -- the law of France permitted lotteries for charitable and artistic causes, and the Statue of Liberty qualified under both.

It was soon discovered that the statue would cost much more than had been anticipated -- the final cost was approximately $250,000 -- and it was not until July 1882 that the total amount was subscribed. Every penny of this fund was contributed by the French people. The French Government had not been asked to aid in the construction of the statue.

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