Lafayette & Two Revolutions

Standard

“When the government violates the people’s rights, insurrection is, for the people and for each portion of the people, the most sacred of the rights and the most indepensible of duties.”

Marquis de Lafayette.

 

The River Seine

The River Seine

Today, in 1777, a young Marquis de Lafayette set foot on the shores of South Carolina with the intent to serve as General George Washington’s second-in command.  He was nineteen years old, an aristocrat and military officer from France.  Known simply as Lafayette, he was the critical link between the American and the French Revolutions.  A passionate advocate for the constitutional principles of the United States, he called for all nations to embrace the underlying democratic philosophy.

Versailles

Versailles

Not everyone agreed with his lofty aspiration to join the American Revolution. King Louis XVI, fearing Britain’s wrath, would not allow him to leave France.  Lafayette was arrested and his ship seized to placate an enraged British ambassador.  He managed to escape, set sail and avoid two British ships sent to bring him back.   In America, Congress viewed his youth as a disadvantage and was reluctant to promote him over those more experienced. Nevertheless, Lafayette served with distinction as a major-general in the Continental Army under George Washington.  Upon his return to France, he was faced with a revolution in his own country, in which he struggled to maintain order.  Throughout his life, he was true to his ideals.  His nickname was “The Hero of the Two Worlds, Le Héros des Deux Mondes

“True republicanism is the sovereignty of the people…There are natural and imprescriptible rights which an entire nation has no right to violate.”

Marquis de Lafayette