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Liberty's Shackles

We Americans have a sort of collective amnesia about the fact that the Statue of Liberty has a set of broken shackles at her feet. The statue was first conceived, at the direction of French abolitionist Edouard Rene Lefebvre de Laboulaye, as a monument to the Union victory in the Civil War. It's a recognition of the fact that 19th Century Europeans valued the way our nation finally managed to cash the promissory note of liberty first signed in 1776.