The marquis of state thomas
Revolutionary Brothers: Thomas Jefferson, the Marquis de Lafayette, and the Friendship that Helped Forge Two Nations by Tom ChaffinIn a narrative both panoramic and intimate, Tom Chaffin captures the four-decade friendship of Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette.
The bond linking Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette constituted a singularly extraordinary friendship, one which played a key role in the making of two revolutions—and two nations. The author of the Declaration of Independence first met Lafayette in 1781, when the young French-born general was dispatched to Virginia to assist Jefferson, then the governor, in fighting off the British. The charismatic Lafayette, hungry for glory on the battlefield, could not have seemed more different from Jefferson, the reserved and philosophical statesman. But when Jefferson, a newly-appointed diplomat, moved to Paris three years later, speaking little French and in need of a diplomatic partner, their friendship began in earnest.
As Lafayette opened doors in Paris and Versailles for the neophyte emissary, so too did Jefferson stand by Lafayette as the Frenchman became inexorably drawn into the maelstrom of his countrys revolution. The Virginian offered counsel to the young aristocrat as he drafted The Declaration of the Rights of Man and remained a firm supporter of the French Revolution, even after he returned to America in 1789. But Jefferson soon learned that the French Revolutions excesses had led to the persecution of Lafayette and his family. By 1792, the upheaval had rendered him a man without a country, locked away in a succession of Austrian and Prussian prisons. The burden fell on Jefferson—and Lafayettes other friends, including Alexander Hamiltons sister-in-law Angelica Schuyler Church —to win his release. The two would not see each other again until 1824, in a powerful and emotional reunion at Jefferson’s Monticello.
Steeped in primary sources, Revolutionary Brothers casts fresh light on this remarkable, often complicated, friendship of two extraordinary men.
Marquis of State Thomas
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