Lafayette: Hero of the American Revolution


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Hanover, N. Bastille Day in France ought to be more festive than ever this year because it will be the bravura moment of the bicentennial celebration of the French Revolution.

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Gallic mastery of illuminated fireworks should dazzle the summer night. It will be the occasion to make your kir with champagne rather than white wine. Good fireworks deserve fine fizz. The French Revolution also has its enthusiasts in the United States.

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The two nations have been formal allies since , after all; and three years after that the French, led by Lafayette, helped us achieve our independence. I say ''led'' because Lafayette had not only volunteered for service, suffered a leg wound at the Battle of Brandywine and helped to steer French policy in our favor - he also spent the equivalent of one quarter of a million dollars of his own in support of the patriot cause.


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He was an idealist who loved liberty, admired America, revered George Washington and did much to transmit American revolutionary principles to France, with explosive consequences in Miller is a curator, has assembled a fine exhibition that takes as its focus the art and pageantry of Lafayette's month farewell tour of the United States in After the show closes on Aug. It is chock-full of charming rarities, ranging from portraits to enchanting examples of American calligraphy an ''Address to General Lafayette in the penmanship book of the New York African Free School'' written by an year-old boy and from an English engraving titled ''The Frogs Who Wanted a King'' to American bank notes bearing the portrait of Lafayette.

All this and much more is in ''Lafayette, Hero of Two Worlds,'' which consists of three essays, by Mr.

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The Marquis de Lafayette

Miller and the historians Stanley J. Idzerda and Anne C. Loveland, as well as a guide to the exhibition. Lafayette's triumphal tour of all 24 American states evoked the most intense outburst of Francophilia in our history. But in large part that was because the tour anticipated the Golden Jubilee of our own Revolution. What Americans really worshipped when Lafayette made his pilgrimage was not the chaos of France in the 's but the contribution that a republican aristocrat had made to the achievement of American freedom.

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Idzerda's biographical essay, a remarkable feat of compression, serves to remind us that Lafayette was much more a rebellious adolescent than a decadent young noble. An orphan by the age of 12, married at 16, he volunteered for the patriot cause in at the age of 19 when he knew no English; he sailed for America in and received the rank of major general in the Continental Army at age Precocious lad.

He received a heroic welcome each time he crossed the ocean.


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A lively celebration took place in America in ; he enjoyed heroic status in France by ; and he came back to the United States again for a four-month triumphal visit in By , when President James Monroe invited this stalwart survivor to return once more, Lafayette's circumstances were sadly reduced and he had to sell cattle and borrow money in order to make the trip.

He declined, as a matter of principle, to accept Monroe's offer to send an American warship to fetch him.

French Hero of the American Revolution

The tour turned out to be a succes fou despite the fact that Lafayette publicly received African-Americans he opposed slavery but did not speak out on the issue in and Native Americans. Over a six-month period in he must have participated in more cornerstone-laying ceremonies than any other person in all of American history.

His visit to Philadelphia helped lead to the desperately needed restoration of Independence Hall. He increased inspiring identity. He encouraged everyone around him by reiterating how important the war was for the future of humankind. Lafayette increased human value in many ways. He spent considerable personal wealth to purchase shoes and clothes for the men in his command. Although he could afford to buy a house to stay warm, he chose to remain with the soldiers at Valley Forge during the freezing winter of He fought alongside the infantrymen, even dismounting his horse if necessary to be closer to them.

Lafayette treated soldiers with respect.

Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette - Wikipedia

He later claimed that the common soldiers were his greatest teachers. The unlikely story of the French aristocrat fighting with dedication for their behalf endeared Lafayette to Americans everywhere. Lafayette increased inspiring identity by reminding people of the importance of the Revolutionary War to the future of humankind. He increased human value by fighting beside the soldiers he commanded and suffering alongside them during the winter at Valley Forge. Lafayette increased knowledge flow by seeking the opinions of soldiers and considering their ideas.

How can you make them resonate with your colleagues? Michael Lee Stallard Menu Skip to content. French Hero of the American Revolution Visiting historical sites in the state of Virginia, you might be surprised to see recurring tributes to a Frenchman whose name and story remain unknown to most Americans today.

Review, Reflection, and Application Lafayette increased inspiring identity by reminding people of the importance of the Revolutionary War to the future of humankind. Be Sociable, Share!

Lafayette: Hero of the American Revolution Lafayette: Hero of the American Revolution
Lafayette: Hero of the American Revolution Lafayette: Hero of the American Revolution
Lafayette: Hero of the American Revolution Lafayette: Hero of the American Revolution
Lafayette: Hero of the American Revolution Lafayette: Hero of the American Revolution
Lafayette: Hero of the American Revolution Lafayette: Hero of the American Revolution
Lafayette: Hero of the American Revolution Lafayette: Hero of the American Revolution
Lafayette: Hero of the American Revolution Lafayette: Hero of the American Revolution
Lafayette: Hero of the American Revolution Lafayette: Hero of the American Revolution

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