Marquis de Lafayette Biography for Kids


This page describes the life and times of the Marquis de Lafayette


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Marquis de Lafayette

Read more about the French Revolution

Marquis de Lafayette was born in France on September 10, 1757. Lafayette is most remembered for his role as a major-general for the Continental Army under General George Washington during the American Revolutionary War.

During the American Revolution, Lafayette served admirably in many battles, like the Battle of Brandywine and the Battle of Rhode Island. During the time, Lafayette also returned to France for a short period to try and negotiate for French support for the American Revolution. After returning from his trip to France, General Lafayette helped to block British troops at Yorktown from reaching General Washington’s Continental Army, allowing General Washington to better prepare his troops for battle against the British Army.

In 1778, Lafayette once again returned to France to assist the French king. Lafayette tried to encourage King Louis XVI to follow America’s examples of freedom and government brought on by the American Revolution. King Louis XVI respected Lafayette and soon brought forth changes to the French government such as the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Rights of Citizens,” which closely resembled the Constitution of the United States. Lafayette was then made a commander in chief by the king to aid his country in its own French Revolution.

In 1792, the French Revolution turned and Marquis de Lafayette was captured while trying to escape back to the United States. Lafayette became a prisoner of war for more than five years. In 1797, Napoleon Bonaparte assisted in getting Lafayette released from prison. Lafayette never fully agreed with the French government under the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte, and his supporters refused to participate in its sessions.

In 1824, American President James Monroe invited Lafayette to return and visit the United States once again. While on his tour of the United States, General Lafayette visited all twenty-four states in the Union. Lafayette soon returned to France and was offered and then declined the dictatorship of France.

Lafayette died 10 years later and was buried in France on May 20, 1834. In 2002, General Lafayette was given American citizenship. America wanted to honor his contribution as a soldier and general in the American Revolutionary War.