THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE
In the Uniform of a Major General
by Charles Willson Peale, 1780
Independence National Historical Park
So listen up, my children, and I'll do my best to tell
How a teenaged French aristocrat served all of us so well.[i]
Without his help, we might have lost our fight for Liberty,
And we’d still be lowly subjects of the British monarchy!
1 Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier de Lafayette was only nineteen when he first arrived in America in 1777. A marquis, which is a middling aristocratic rank, his family inheritance made him one of the richest men in France. This portrait was painted by Charles Willson Peale at the request of Lafayette’s friend, General Washington, before the young Frenchman left for France in January 1779 to seek more aid for America.
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