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 LaFayette 
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Post Re: LaFayette
Whatever may be said of LaFayette, I think his heart was in the right place.
He was a fighter for the rights of men. He did not set out to kill the royal family. Initially I think that he was a rich young man looking for excitement and something to do. The American Revolution was a perfect outlet for his own ideas and he eagerly joined this cause. It might be added that he financed this all with his own money -the only way the Americans would allow him to join up, they initially didn't want anything to do with him. He proved himself and the Americans have been eternally grateful for this friend. Every schoolchild in America knows the name of LaFayette. Because LaFayette spent the rest of his life back in Europe,
most Americans don't know the rest of his story. The history books only tell of LaFayette in relation to the American Revolution - so therefore he remains a hero. I would highly suspect he is not portrayed in this same light in French school children's textbooks.


Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:21 pm
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Post Re: LaFayette
I think you're right, Lilly, about what children are taught. I would be most interested in the different take the French themselves have on Lafayette. Not that I want to argue, but simply to know. He gave a lot for the French Revolution, too.

Based on my experience in American schools, I don't think we give him as much credit as he is due. He is vaguely mentioned, and of course the French fleet sailed into Hampton Roads to pin the British in Yorktown, but that's about it. Lafayette and France contributed much more than that. At Yorktown, there were 2,500 American troops, and 7,000 French soldiers. French soldiers outnumbered Americans almost three to one, and that doesn't include the French navy. I am firmly convinced that the American Revolution would not have been won if it had not been for Lafayette and France.

Lafayette, by the way, spent $1.66 million (in today's money) of his own on the American Revolution. He bought food, clothing, materiel for the soldiers.


Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:46 pm
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Post Re: LaFayette
This was Lafayette's famous address to the gathered crowd below the balcony:


"The Queen has been led astray. But she promises to be faithful to her people as Jesus to his church!"

What gave Lafayette the right to say that?

Apparently Lescure, an eye witness, maintains that Lafayette arrived on the scene with a large force around 23:30 to midnight....in other words after the King had received the delegation of twelve women rioters. Despite the fact that he had witnessed the gathering in the morning at the town hall in Paris, he did not race ahead to protect the King as your first post indicates, but rather, as your later post clarifies, arrived much later on the scene. This was as you can imagine much too late for the Royal family, who had lost all chance of escape by then, and were at the mercy of the rioters, given the fatal initial hesitation of Louis XVI to leave. Obviously Lafayette arrives like " un cheveu sur la soupe"...."a hair in the soup", to coin a popular French expression.

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Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:11 am
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Post Re: LaFayette
LaFayette obviously was playing to the crowd and their general perception of Marie Antoinette. He had hoped to be as big a hero at home as he had in in America. But that was not to happen as the French Revolution took on a “might is right” mentality. Ironically, this is one of the two times LaFayette considered himself saving the monarchy.


Fri Sep 24, 2010 7:01 pm
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Post Re: LaFayette
Lafayette was trying to calm down the riot and rehabilitate Marie-Antoinette's poor public image. How you interpret his actions depends on whether you believe Lafayette was merely interested in self-aggrandizement ("puffed up with self righteousness and self importance") or trying to protect the royal family without inflaming the mob further.


Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:16 pm
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Post Re: LaFayette
I'm not so sure about him trying to "rehabilitate Marie Antoinette's poor public image". He and MA may have not liked each other so much. There is a story about MA openly humiliating LaFayette in relation to his dancing... This type of behavior could make a person an enemy for life as people do not forget terribly embarassing moments - or the person who caused them! And, MA didn't trust LaFayette's motives.

LaFayette enjoyed his celebrity status and wished to play a key role in the French Revolution, he envisioned a Constitutional Monarchy could work in France. Agreed, he was trying to calm the crowd, but in doing so, he becomes the hero. Hence his own view as to saving the monarchy. I don't think so much that he was puffed up with self-importance as he was a confident man and really wanted to do the right thing and thought he could. I think that LaFayette was basically a decent man and had a fascinating life.


Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:39 pm
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Post Re: LaFayette
I do think he was trying to rehabilitate MA to protect her from the mob, but I don't necessarily disagree with you, Lilly, about the role he hoped to play in the French Revolution. He really did believe a republic was possible at that time, when it wasn't. It took several more kings and dictators to bring France into a republic.

MA made that comment about his dancing when he was a very young man, before he went to America, I believe. By the time he returned to France and court he had polished his skills enormously, and she no longer had any jibes to make. He was welcomed into court circles upon his return. His wife, as has been mentioned before, was a Noailles and had entry to the best society.

He did have a fascinating life. He was witness to two world-shaking revolutions and a momentous period in history.


Sat Sep 25, 2010 1:11 am
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Post Re: LaFayette
Absolutely! I see you are in Chicago (I'm not far) - recently PBS ran a good program on LaFayette - watch for it to rerun.


Sat Sep 25, 2010 2:28 am
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Post Re: LaFayette
Thanks for the tip, Lilly! It aired a week ago, and I missed it. Too busy reading the book. :roll: The Lost Hero, it's called; forgotten like I said in an earlier post.


Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:21 am
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Post Re: LaFayette
Dreamers Rose wrote:


His wife, as has been mentioned before, was a Noailles and had entry to the best society.


Indeed MA attended their wedding reception in the rue St. Honoré. Lilly saw that particular house, at least the front of it, on the famous guided tour we did from the Conciergerie to the Place de la révolution in Paris, but I'm not sure that she'll remember as she wasn't really concentrating much.... :wink:

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Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:26 am
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Post Re: LaFayette
Oh....? *raises eyebrow*

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Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:26 pm
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Post Re: LaFayette
Lilly wrote:
Absolutely! I see you are in Chicago (I'm not far) - recently PBS ran a good program on LaFayette - watch for it to rerun.

I saw that Lilly, what did you think of it? I thought that it was good, I admit that I don't know as much about him as most of you here, so I don't know just how accurate the documentry/film was.

There is a clip from it here, if anyone is interested in seeing it,
This is the PBS site on it:
http://www.pbs.org/lafayette/

I think this may be the offical site for it:
http://thedocumentarygroup.com/featured ... php?pid=68


Mon Sep 27, 2010 6:16 pm
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Post Re: LaFayette
baron de batz wrote:
Indeed MA attended their wedding reception in the rue St. Honoré. Lilly saw that particular house, at least the front of it, on the famous guided tour we did from the Conciergerie to the Place de la révolution in Paris, but I'm not sure that she'll remember as she wasn't really concentrating much....


Ok-Ok so I'm a big goof-off! Can we do it again Baron? I wouldn't be able to pick the place out on my own - but a few of the other places I would recognize. It was the excitement of meeting you and Marija that distracted me .....I promise to pay better attention!! Think about it, I would love to do it again...I'll be there in 3 days....Fleur, I'll get him in person!


Jadean, I thought it was a pretty good program, could have given more details, but time probably forced them to limit what could be included.
Thanks for posting the links! Are you close to the mid-west?


Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:27 pm
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Post Re: LaFayette
Thanks for the links, Jadean. Interesting that the film also questions why Lafayette has been forgotten. The text mentioned that many of the French don't like him because they consider him a monarchist and not interested in the rights of the common man. Guess that answers my questions.

If any of you belong to Netflix, "Lafayette: The Lost Hero" is available for instant play. I'll wait for the DVD or catch a rerun.


Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:26 pm
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Post Re: LaFayette
I don't think the French think about Lafayette at all.

As for thinking he was a monarchist, I don't think that they think that either. He is considered, rightly so, as a defender of the "new ideas".

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Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:51 am
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