Marquis an active politician in his homeland of

Marquis de Lafayette,
born Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier Marquis de Lafayette, was a
highly esteemed French aristocrat and officer who greatly contributed to the
American and French Revolutions alike. Lafayette is best noted for his immense
bravery during the Battle of Yorktown in 1781 and his incredible leadership in
the Battle of Brandywine in 1777. However, even after the end of the American
Revolution, he continued to be an active politician in his homeland of France.
Lafayette continued to support both countries throughout his life.

            Lafayette’s childhood, however, was not necessarily a
happy one. Both of his parents had died before he was 14. His mother and
grandfather died earlier on in his life, and his father died from a severe
battle wound. He quickly decided to marry rich, marrying Adrienne de Francoise
de Noailles, who was a descendant of Louis XVI, the King of France. After
getting married in 1773, he became inspired by the stories of the colonists in
the United States. In 1777, he made a trip to America that would change his
life forever.

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            After arriving in America, Lafayette decided to join the
colonists’ uprising. His passion and willingness to serve somehow got him a
position as a major-general in the Continental Army, despite having no combat
or military experience whatsoever. His first time to truly shine was during the
Battle of Brandywine, where he was shot in the leg while trying to organize a
retreat. George Washington himself took note of Lafayette’s bravery, and soon
created a strong bond between them that would last eternally. Lafayette proved
himself an intelligent and strategic leader during the winter in Valley Forge,
convincing the French to send resources to the colonists. In 1781, he
contributed to the Battle of Yorktown, buying time for General Washington and
Comte de Rochambeau to surround the British, which led to the British
surrender.

            In late 1781, Lafayette returned to France, organizing
trade agreements with America and France. However, soon after his return, he
realized that France was on the verge of a serious political and social
upheaval. He became the leader of a group of liberal aristocrats, speaking
outwardly about the abolishment of slavery and advocating religious tolerance.
He began to draft the ‘Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen’
with the help of Thomas Jefferson. He continually supported Marie Antoinette
and Louis XVI, and even protected them from the angry civilians which stormed
the Versailles. He was then appointed to protect the royal family afterwards, a
position that left him incredibly vulnerable to the factions of people who
wanted power.

            He ended up fleeing the country in 1792, but was captured
by Austrians and thrown into prison. Lafayette returned to France 7 years
later, quickly finding out that the King and Queen had been killed. He had no
other option but to maintain a low profile during Napoleon Bonaparte’s rule,
but ended up being elected to the Chamber of Deputies instead. He argued for
Napoleon’s throne to be renounced in 1815, and after the death of both Napoleon
and Charles X, he was presented with the opportunity to become dictator, which
he politely declined. In 1824, he made a final, emotional visit to America,
visiting the grave of George Washington, his lifelong friend. He was also
presented with the option of becoming governor of Louisiana during his visit,
but declined the offer as well. Lafayette became the first foreign U.S. citizen
to address the U.S. House of Representatives, which caused several towns and
cities to be named after him. At the time of his death, he had been extremely
ill with pneumonia, and as a dying wish, requested that he could be buried with
dirt from Bunker Hill. Surely enough, on May 20, 1834, he was buried in Paris,
France underneath dirt from Bunker Hill, which was renamed Lafayette Hill in
his honor.

            Marquis de Lafayette is remembered
as the “Hero of Two Worlds” for his tremendous efforts during the French and
American Revolutions. Had he not decided to take a trip to America in 1777, he
would have never influenced the world as much as he did. 

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