Marquis de Lafayette, French Military Officer - stock photo
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Marquis de Lafayette, French Military Officer

Entitled: "Lafayette's baptism of fire." Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier de Lafayette, Marquis de Lafayette (September 6, 1757 - May 20, 1834) was a French aristocrat and military officer. Convinced that the American cause in its revolutionary war was noble, Lafayette travelled to the New World seeking glory in it. He was wounded during the Battle of Brandywine, and served with distinction in the Battle of Rhode Island. In 1781, troops in Virginia under his command blocked forces led by Cornwallis until other American and French forces could position themselves for the decisive Siege of Yorktown. Lafayette was also a key figure in the French Revolution of 1789 and the July Revolution of 1830. He helped write the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, with the assistance of Thomas Jefferson. After the storming of the Bastille, he was appointed commander-in-chief of the National Guard, and tried to steer a middle course through the French Revolution. In August 1792, the radical factions ordered his arrest and he spent more than five years in prison. He died in 1834, at the age of 76, and is buried in Picpus Cemetery under soil from Bunker Hill. Reproduction of painting by Edward Percy Moran.

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