Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis de La Fayette
, known to Americans as Lafayette is a national hero to both France and America.
A French nobleman born to rank and privilege in the decadent era before the French Revolution
, he heard the political theories in France that would later form the basis for that revolution and adopted them. He traveled against orders to the Americas, obtained a commission as a Major General from the Continental Congress, and was George Washington
's chief aide for most of the The American Revolution
. (Emotionally, Lafayette was also the closest thing George Washington ever had to a son.)
Got a Big Damn Heroes
when he disappeared for a bit to only show up again with the French Fleet, blockading the British Fleet and their troops causing them to surrender and win the American War for Independence. Very well liked, he helped in the Treaty of Paris that ended the war and proceeded to find two new causes, Abolitionism and reform in France. He led parts of the early French Revolution
to try and reform the system, but lost when the Jacobians became too powerful to ignore. Spent parts of the period imprisoned, then in political exile. He refused offers to govern Louisiana in order to attempt to reform France.
Eventually his efforts led to him being Offered the Crown
, but he declined.
Very well liked by Americans, where nearly every state has a town of Lafayette or Fayetteville, if not a county, street, or school. When Colonel Charles E. Stanton reached Lafayette's tomb after arriving to aid the French in World War I
, he was moved to say "Lafayette, we are here." Even before America officially entered the war, American servicemen joined the French in a company named for him.
During his lifetime he was granted citizenship in the new country, and two hundred years later he was once again
granted honorary American citizenship.