Why was Liberty Leading the People carried through the streets?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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All things considered, Delacroix's painting is a fairly inspiring vision.  The fact that Liberty is depicted amongst the people is very persuasive.  It helps to bring to light the idea that freedom and liberty, ideals to which the French Revolution of the 18th century and the changes brought about in the 19th, are essentially democratic notions that originate from the people.  Additionally, it is noteworthy that liberty is leading the people.  This is inspirational because it shows that the fight goes on and individuals must commit to the transcendent call of lady liberty.  She leads, but stands on corpses, indicating the ultimate sacrifice that others have made for her, demanding that the living offer up the same sacrifice.  With these in place, parading it around the city makes sense because it is a call for inspiration, a call to action.  There is little ambiguity in the painting.  Delacroix understood it as an act of patriotism, suggesting that even artists who are not known for their heroism, can inspire through their work.  In parading it around the city, the meaning is clear that liberty and freedom are not dead and will always endure and triumph.  In fighting the forces of dictatorship such as Kings like Louis- Philippe, who might have not been aware of the calls of liberty and freedom, the painting's parade around the city was a statement of defiance, resistance, and pride.

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