10 Iconic American Things With Foreign Roots
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is perhaps the most iconic landmark in the United States and the first thing that many European immigrants arriving by boat saw in their new home. In reality, the famous monument was a gift from the people who helped the fledgling nation get its independence from the British Empire – the French.
The masterminds behind the colossus were sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and engineer Gustave Eiffel – the very same Eiffel whose company designed and built the Eiffel Tower.
Bartholdi drew inspiration from a conversation with Édouard René de Laboulaye, president of the French Anti-Slavery Society, who said “If a monument should rise in the United States, as a memorial to their independence, I should think it only natural if it were built by united effort—a common work of both our nations.”
Not only did the French have a huge role in getting the statue up, the representation itself is of Libertas, the Roman goddess of liberty, who is also found on the Great Seal of France.
Source: A Statue for America: The First 100 Years of the Statue of Liberty by Jonathan Harris