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The Marquis de Lafayette

The Life and Legacy of the American Revolution’s Most Famous Foreign Soldier
Narrated by: Bill Hare
Length: 1 hr and 37 mins
Categories: History, American
4.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

By the time the Revolutionary War started, military confrontations between the world powers had become so common that combat was raised to the status of a fine art, consuming a large portion of time for adolescent males in training and comprising a sizable component of the economy. Weaponry was developed to a degree of quality not accessible to most North Americans, and European aristocrats were reared in the mastery of swordsmanship with an emphasis on the saber for military use. Likewise, the cavalry, buoyed by a tradition of expert horsemanship and saddle-based combat, was a fighting force largely beyond reach for colonists, which meant that fighting on horses was an undeveloped practice in the fledgling Continental Army, and the American military did not yet fully comprehend the value of cavalry units. Few sword masters were to find their way to North America in time for the war, and the typical American musket was a fair hunting weapon rather than a military one. Even the foot soldier knew little of European military discipline. 

However, with European nations unceasingly at war, soldiers from one side or the other often found themselves in disfavor, were marked men in exile, or were fleeing from a superior force. To General George Washington’s good fortune, a few found their way to the colonies to join in the cause. Some were adventurers recently cut off from their own borders, while others embraced the American urge for freedom that so closely mirrored the same movements in their home countries. 

In the case of Marquis de Lafayette, who appeared as little more than a young, inexperienced dandy upon his arrival early in the war, American leaders were skeptical that any good would come of a collaboration with him. However, Lafayette was more than an aspiring youth in search of glory on another country’s battlefield - he hailed from the aristocracy, which allowed him to acquire great wealth as an adolescent and gave him considerable authority to seek French resources for the American effort. In arguably the most important turning point of the war, he was instrumental in convincing France to enter the fray on the colonists’ behalf, and he joined in the war against his home country’s nemesis in North America. 

By the time his service to the war effort was complete, the passionate and idealistic Lafayette cemented his standing as a national American hero in perpetuity and a beloved member of George Washington’s inner circle. Following the Revolution, Lafayette went on to attempt a duplication of the feat in his home country, eventually living out his life as a hero on both continents.

The Marquis de Lafayette: The Life and Legacy of the American Revolution’s Most Famous Foreign Soldier profiles one of the Revolutionary War’s most important figures. You will learn about Lafayette like never before.

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

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