By Lawrence W Baker
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Extra info for American Revolution Reference Library Vol 3 (K-Z) Biographies
Lafayette bravely endured his injury, stayed with his troops, and assisted their retreat. Upon his recovery, he was placed in charge of a division of the American troops. Reproduced by permission of Archive Photos, Inc. Yorktown was the high point of Lafayette’s career as a soldier. He returned to France in 1782, where he was honored as a hero and made a general in the French army. Marquis de Lafayette 267 The Myth of Lafayette The Marquis de Lafayette has long been celebrated in America as a French noble who came to fight out of love for the ideals of liberty.
Lafayette returned to public life in 1830, at the outbreak of a second revolution in France, after the people decided they no longer wanted their country ruled by a monarchy. At that time, Lafayette became the symbol of moderate republicanism (a system in which the power is held by voters, whose policies are carried out by representatives elected by them). Lafayette was asked to head the National Guard that had driven Charles X from France. He refused a demand by the French public that he become president of the new republic.
Portrait: Pierre Charles L’Enfant. Reproduced permission of the National Archives and Records Administration. 275 home of the French royal family. L’Enfant also served in the French army, where he held the rank of lieutenant. L’Enfant went to America in 1777, at the age of twentythree, and volunteered to serve in George Washington’s (see entry) army in the fight for independence from Great Britain (the American Revolution was fought from 1775 to 1783). Although France had not yet entered the war on the American side, many idealistic men from France and other countries were inspired by the aims of the American revolutionaries and volunteered to serve in the American army.