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Fri, 01.18.1811

Édouard de Laboulaye, Ambassador born

Édouard de Laboulaye

*Édouard de Laboulaye was born on this date in 1811.  He was a white-French jurist, poet, author and anti-slavery activist.  

Édouard René Lefèbvre de Laboulaye was born in Paris, France to a wealthy family. Laboulaye was received at the bar in 1842 and was chosen professor of comparative law at the Collège de France in 1849.  

A careful observer of the politics of the United States, and an admirer of its constitution, he wrote a three-volume work on the political history of the United States and published it in Paris during the height of the politically repressed Second Empire. During the American Civil War, he was an enthusiastic advocate of the Union cause and the abolition of slavery, publishing histories of the cultural connections of the two nations.  

Always a careful observer of the politics of the United States, and an admirer of its constitution, he wrote a three-volume work on the political history of the United States and published it in Paris during the height of the politically repressed Second Empire.  At the war's conclusion in 1865, he became president of the French Emancipation Committee that aided newly freed slaves in the U.S.  The same year he had the idea of presenting a statue representing liberty as a gift to the United States, a symbol for ideas suppressed by Napoleon III.  He got the idea thinking that this would help strengthen their relationship with the United States.  

The sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, one of Laboulaye's friends, turned the idea into reality.  Following the Paris Commune of 1870, he was elected to the national assembly, representing the department of the Seine. As secretary of the committee of thirty on the constitution he was effective in combatting the Monarchists in establishing the Third Republic. In 1875, he was elected a life senator, and in 1876 he was appointed administrator of the Collège de France, resuming his lectures on comparative legislation in 1877. Laboulaye was also chairman of the French Anti-Slavery Society.  Laboulaye was president of the Société d'économie politique. 

He is most remembered as the intellectual ambassador and creator of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, proposing the idea for a monument in 1865 paid by the citizens of France, and the lesser known Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, France.  Édouard de Laboulayedied on May 25, 1883.  

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