Tuesday, April 5, 2011
So today I bring you guys a kind of extensive article but it’s worth reading it. I bet many of you don’t know but the French aid during the Revolutionary War was crucial at the decisive Battle in Yorktown. La Fayette, a military officer, abolitionist and precursor of the French Revolution, is one of the most important figures of the XVIII century. The revolutionary ideas that he brought from America were the key for the French Revolution. I know it’s too long, but he did so many things for both his people and the Americans that you'll now understand why they call him "Hero of the Two Worlds".
Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette was born in Chavaniac, France in September 1757. His father was Michel Louis Christophe Roch Gilbert Paulette du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette, a Coronel during the Seven Years War against the British, who died by a cannonball. He became a wealthy orphan when her mother died, leaving the inheritance to him.
He joined the army in 1771. France, in an attempt to defeat, or at least weaken, his long time enemy Britain, wanted to send French officers to fight alongside America and in 1777 he sailed to America, without the King’s permission, with his own boat and disguised as a woman, fearing arrest from the British government.
He landed on Georgetown, South Carolina. Continental Congress wouldn’t assign a unit to Lafayette and he almost returned home, until Benjamin Franklin recommended him to George Washington as his right hand, hoping this would ensure the ties between the colonies and France and influence them to aid them with troops.
During the battle of Brandywine, in September 1777, the British outflanked the Americans, forcing them to retreat. Lafayette managed to make a successful retreat but was shot in the leg. After several battles he returned to France in an attempt to obtain more supports from the French to the Americans. He secured 6,000 troops and 5 frigates.
Lafayette returned to America in 1780 in command of French forces that were sent to help. In 1781 he was given command of the defense of Virginia with the rank of major general. He drew English commander Charles Cornwallis into a trap at Yorktown, Virginia; Cornwallis was blockaded by the American forces and by French troops under Admiral de Grasse. Cornwallis's surrender was the high point of Lafayette's military career.
Lafayette returned to France in 1781 and was welcomed as a hero. He, along with Thomas Jefferson, established trade agreements that reduced United States debt with France. He was in a French abolitionist group.
However, the beginning of the Austro-Prussian War in 1782 returned Lafayette as commander of the army of the Ardennes. He was captured and held prisoner until 1797, when Napoleon Bonaparte obtained his release from jail but did not permit him to return to France. He returned to France in 1799 without permission.
When Lafayette returned to the French army in 1782, he was considered a hero. He became a leader in the movement against the French monarchy. In 1789 he took a seat in the Estates General, the French legislature. The adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen (loosely based on the Declaration of Independence) was his idea, and he was given the command of the Parisian National Guard. His popularity declined when he commanded his troops to fire on a mob in 1791 led to his dismissal as command of the guard.
When Napoleon stepped down as emperor in 1814, Lafayette was elected to the Legislative Chamber during the Hundred Days and demanded that Napoleon be kept out permanently. The return of monarchy in 1815 gave Lafayette a position as a leader of the opposition to King Louis XVIII and Charles X. In 1824, Lafayette visited America on a tour that lasted fifteen months. He urged for black people’s emancipation. He also made peace negotiations with Native Americans. Congress rewarded him for his efforts during the Revolutionary War with money and land. When he returned to France in 1825, he was known as the “Hero of Two Worlds”.
Lafayette did not regain political prominence until revolution broke out again in 1830. Named to command the reestablished National Guard, he supported the naming of Louis Philippe as a constitutional monarch. Lafayette died in Paris on May 20, 1834. His biggest influence was as a living symbol—of friendship between France and America, and of the men who wanted a better world but could not accept terror and cruelty as the ways to bring it into being.
Hope you guys like my article, leave suggestions for other articles on the comment section and don't hesitate to ask questions.