By now, Napoleon's administration had gone in the carnage of the Franco-Prussian War and in its place was the Third Republic, which was much more open to the idea of Libertas statues. They went for it, and the Americans couldn't exactly turn it down, when it was a gift.
They wanted to. Deputations of vicars and priests besieged House representatives about the undesirability of a Pagan Goddess on US soil. J.P. Morgan led a consortium of wealthy and corporate classes, lobbying with the message that the Statue of Liberty would inspire unrest amongst American lower classes.
Questions were asked in Congress, but the conclusion was soon reached that turning Liberty down would be political poison. It would severely harm diplomatic relations with France. The US Ambassador to France Levi Parsons Morton was directed to formally accept the present of one colossal Statue of Liberty, which he did so on July 4th, 1884.
Phase two of the American resistance would delay progress on the statue immensely. Morgan et al hoped indefinitely.
While the Statue of Liberty itself was being paid for via public subscription from the people of France, the USA would have to fund its pedestal. Bartholdi wanted one, as Liberty's aspect on Bedloe Island (now renamed Liberty Island) would allow for a better view of Her from the harbor, if only She was further elevated.
It was widely anticipated that the upper echelons of US society would stump up the cash. But J.P. Morgan and chums had already stated their position on the subject. No, no, and again no. The 1% weren't interested in Libertas nor anything She stood for.
That other great source of fund-raising in America - collections amongst church congregations - was also out. Their clerics were adamant in their outrage against Pagan Goddesses. Liberty was preached against as if She was Satan Himself.
Faced with potential diplomatic embarrassment - the US having to tell France that they were too strapped for money to accept their gift - a governmental committee was set up to find ways to elicit donations towards the pedestal.
It found an ally in Joseph Pulitzer, the American journalist whose name would later be immortalized in the Pulitzer Prize for outstanding journalism. He wrote dozens of widely read editorials, which helped turn enough public sentiment towards the construction that the pedestal could be built.
Ordinary Americans (the 99% if you like) were responsible for funding Liberty, as was right and proper given her allegorical history.
Meanwhile, the French public were watching the Statue of Liberty being built in Paris. With the vision in front of them, funded from their own collective pockets, there was a surge of enthusiasm for the project. The authorities were suddenly swamped with requests to keep Libertas's statue in France.
But the Third Republic government couldn't do that. It had already been offered to the USA. Withdrawing it would cause diplomatic offense.
In short, both US and French governments would have secretly breathed a huge sigh of relief, if the Statue of Liberty could stay in Paris. But neither could mention it to the other for fear of harming international relations!