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What are the broken chains of the Statue of Liberty symbolic of?

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Quick Answer

The broken chains at the feet of the Statue of Liberty symbolize freedom and democracy. They also represent the end of slavery in America and the Union victory in the Civil War.

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Full Answer

The citizens of France gave "The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World" to the United States, and the statue was dedicated in 1886. Edouard de Laboulaye was a French abolitionist who led the movement to send the gift. He was the president and co-founder of the French Anti-Slavery Society and wanted to honor the success of the abolitionist movement in America. Laboulaye hoped that these events would inspire the French to fight political oppression in their own country.

African Americans did not embrace the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of freedom because they were still discriminated against in American society. They saw the statue as ironic because they did not share the same freedoms as Caucasian Americans. The African-American historian and civil rights activist W.E.B Du Bois expressed in his autobiography that when he saw the statue, he did not feel the sense of hope that white immigrants got when they sailed by. It would take almost 100 years for African Americans to gain the same civil rights as Caucasian people.

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