In 1824, the French aristocrat Lafayette (Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette), who had played a key role in securing victory over the British during the American Revolution, was invited by President James Monroe to visit the United States, then about to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
Upon his arrival on Staten Island, the general was greeted with open arms. He had been a favorite of General Washington, who had acted as a surrogate father to the young Lafayette.
As an advocate for democracy in both the American colonies and in France, and a proponent of abolition, the Frenchman was warmly welcomed on a thirteen-month tour of the United States. His visit spanned a highly controversial 1824 presidential election season in which the House of Representatives selected John Quincy Adams over the highest vote-getter, Andrew Jackson. Lafayette has been seen by historians as a uniting force, whose presence served to remind Americans of their mutual bonds. [Read more…] about Lafayette’s 1824-25 Farewell Tour Commemoration