National Historical Publications & Records Commission

Lafayette in the Age of the American Revolution: Selected Letters and Papers, 1776-1790

Cornell University

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Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette (6 September 1757 – 20 May 1834), often known simply as Lafayette, was a French aristocrat, a general in the American Revolutionary War and a leader of the Garde nationale during the French Revolution. In the American Revolution, Lafayette served as a major-general in the Continental Army under George Washington. Wounded during the Battle of Brandywine, he still managed to organize a successful retreat. He served with distinction in the Battle of Rhode Island. In the middle of the war, he returned to France to negotiate an increase in French support. On his return, he blocked troops led by Cornwallis at Yorktown while the armies of Washington and those sent by King Louis XVI under the command of General de Rochambeau, Admiral de Grasse, and Admiral de Latouche Tréville prepared for battle against the British. Lafayette was the most important link between the American and the French Revolutions. As an ardent supporter of the United States' constitutional principles he called on all nations to follow the American example. Lafayette: A Guide to the Letters, Documents, and Manuscripts in the United States was also published by Cornell University Press.

Complete  in five volumes


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Marquis de Lafayette's Oath of Allegiance, National Archives.


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