Download This Sample
This sample is exclusively for KidsKonnect members!
To download this worksheet, click the button below to signup for free (it only takes a minute) and you'll be brought right back to this page to start the download!
Sign Me Up
Frenchman Marquis de Lafayette was a revolutionary soldier, statesman, and Founding Father who fought in the American Revolutionary War. He also helped shape France’s political structure before and after the French Revolution. Because of his contributions, he was dubbed as the “Hero of Two Worlds”.
See the fact file below for more information on Marquis de Lafayette or alternatively, you can download our 26-page Marquis de Lafayette worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette was born into a family of noble military lineage on September 6, 1757 in a chateau in Chavaniac, France.
- His father, Michel du Motier, was a colonel in the French Army who fought in the Seven Years’ War and was killed at the Battle of Minden in August 1759. Lafayette grew up with his mother, Marie de La Riviere, and his grandparents. He was sent to Paris for education at the College du Plessis and the Versailles Academy. In 1770, young Marquis’ mother died, leaving him with an immense fortune.
- On April 9, 1771, Lafayette was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Royal Army at the age of 14.
- He married Marie Adrienne Francoise de Noailles, a 14-year-old member of another prominent French family, three years later on April 1774. The couple settled near Versailles while Lafayette finished his studies at the Academie de Versailles. Through Adrienne’s dowry, Lafayette was promoted to captain in the Noailles Dragoons Regiment.
- The young couple had four children: Henriette du Motier, Anastasie Louise Pauline du Motier, George Washington du Montier, named after the American revolutionary and Lafayette’s good friend, and Marie Antoinette Virginie du Motier, named in honor of the French Queen and the state of Virginia.
- In 1775, Lafayette met the commander of the Army of the East Comte de Broglie while training at Metz and invited him to join the Freemasons. His affiliation with the organization exposed Lafayette to the conflicts between Britain and its American allies.
- While in Paris, he also participated in other “thinking groups” and later became an activist for the citizens’ rights and abolition of slavery in France. As the tensions in the colonies evolved into open warfare, Lafayette came to realize that the ideals of the Americans’ cause closely reflected his own.
Coming to America
- Inspired by stories of struggles against the British oppression, Lafayette felt compelled to go to America. His father-in-law, Jean de Noailles, did not approve of the young man’s ambitions and had him transferred to Britain. De Noailles also sought to have King Louis XVI issue a decree banning French officers from serving in America.
- Although he was forbidden to go, Lafayette’s aspirations to win glory as a soldier persisted, so he purchased a ship, Victoire, and journeyed to the newly proclaimed United States on April 20, 1777. He arrived in July 1777 in Philadelphia, just 27 months after the upsurge of the American Revolution.
- Lafayette was initially brushed off by colonial leaders since he had no combat experience and was not yet 20 years old, but the young man’s passion and willingness to serve, as well as his masonic connections, impressed the superiors, eventually earning him Major General in the Continental Army.
- Just 2 months after his arrival to the United States, he was assigned his first major combat duty during the Battle of Brandywine in September 1777, where he was shot in the leg while helping to organize a retreat. There he met General George Washington, who requested army doctors to take special care of Lafayette, igniting a strong and lasting friendship between the two.
Battle Campaigns and the American Revolution
- Lafayette later joined Washington’s staff, accompanying the General on a winter in Valley Forge where Lafayette burnished his credentials as an intelligent leader while helping to draw more French resources to the colonial side.
- Aware of Lafayette’s presence, the British army sent out 5,000 of its troops in an attempt to capture him. He was able to skillfully outwit and escape them in the Battle of Barren Hill in May 1778. He was then sent to the Battle of Monmouth the following month, forcing a stalemate between the Continental and British armies.
- In July, Lafayette was dispatched to Rhode Island to join the operation to expel the British presence from the colony, with the help of a French fleet led by Admiral Comte de D’Estaing.
- Conflict arose as d’Estaing departed for Boston to repair his ships, angering the Americans as they felt abandoned by their ally. Lafayette travelled to Boston to smooth things over after a riot resulting from the Admiral’s actions erupted. Concerned about the alliance, Lafayette asked to return to France to lobby for aid and ensure its continuance. Granted, he arrived in February 1779 and was briefly detained for his earlier disobedience to the King.
- On his return to America in May 1781 aboard the Hermione, Lafayette was joined by 6,000 men under General Jean-Baptiste de Rochambeau and assumed increased military responsibility. Washington sent him to lead the Continental forces to Virginia and keep the British Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis’ army at bay in Yorktown.
- Nearly trapped at the Battle of Green Spring in July, Lafayette monitored enemy activities until the arrival of Washington’s army in September, after the British surrendered in the last major battle of the Revolutionary War.
Political Turmoil in France
- Lafayette sailed home to Versailles in December 1781, rejoining the French army as a field marshall. During this time, he continued to participate in American affairs, toured the country, and met with the country’s representatives such as Thomas Jefferson, U.S. ambassador to France, to organize trade agreements. In 1784, he became an honorary citizen of several states.
- When France was facing major political and social unrest, Lafayette lobbied for a governing body representing the three social classes and presented the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen on July 11, 1789.
- With the fall of the Bastille in July 14, 1789, Lafayette became a pivotal player in a democratic uprising known as the French Revolution, where he was appointed to lead the Paris National Guard and worked to maintain order and protect the royal family. During this time, he was accused of being a royalist and his political capital began to erode.
- Lafayette’s affairs reached a crisis in August of 1792 after the deposition of King Louis XVI, when the French Legislative Assembly passed a decree of his impeachment. Knowing that he would face the guillotine if he remained in France, Lafayette fled on August 19, 1792 and attempted to seek refuge in the Dutch Republic, but he was captured by Austrian forces.
- After being held in captivity, Marquis de Lafayette was finally released on September 19, 1797, after Napoleon Bonaparte and his revolutionary armies had conquered Austria. After 2 subsequent years in exile in Holland, he was finally able to return to France in 1799.
Life After the Revolution
- Lafayette retired from public life and maintained a low profile while Napoleon took power as Emperor of France, but he accepted a seat in the Chamber of Deputies in 1815 and vehemently campaigned for Napoleon’s resignation following the defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in July.
- In 1824, he made one final tour of America and was hailed as a hero.
- Six years later, after Charles X was overthrown during the July Revolution, Lafayette declined dictatorship. Instead, the 72-year-old statesman backed the installation of Louis-Philippe on the throne of the constitutional monarch, and instead was re-installed as commander of the National Guard.
Death and Legacy
- Marquis de Lafayette lost his battle with pneumonia and died on May 20, 1834 in Paris. He was laid to rest next to his wife at the Picpus Cemetery.
- In his last years, he requested that he be buried in both American and French soil, and so his son covered his coffin with dirt they had taken from Barren Hill in 1825 when Lafayette laid the cornerstone to the monument that still marks the battlefield.
- The eleventh edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica (1911) said of Lafayette, “..no citizen of a foreign country has ever had so many and such warm admirers in America, nor does any statesman in France appear to have ever possessed uninterruptedly for so many years so large a measure of popular influence and respect…”.
- This immense appreciation from the people of America he continues to receive are made true by a number of U.S. towns, cities, and institutions that are named in his honor such as Lafayette, Fayette, Fayetteville, and Lafayette College.
- His service in the American military was also recognized as three U.S. naval vessels have been named USS Lafayette.
- Although he was already conferred honorary citizenship by Maryland and other colonies in 1784, the U.S. State Department determined in 1935 that the measures did not result in Lafayette becoming an American citizen following the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. His honorary citizenship was granted by the Congress in August 6, 2002.
Marquis de Lafayette Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Marquis de Lafayette across 26 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Marquis de Lafayette worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Frenchman Marquis de Lafayette who was a revolutionary soldier, statesman, and Founding Father who fought in the American Revolutionary War. He also helped shape France’s political structure before and after the French Revolution. Because of his contributions, he was dubbed as the “Hero of Two Worlds”.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Bonjour, Monsieur Lafayette
- Fast Facts
- Build the Victoire
- When Lafayette Met Washington
- A Young Warrior
- Great Britain vs. The World
- I Declare!
- Where in America is Marquis de Lafayette?
- Hero of Two Worlds: Yesterday and Today
- Marquis Says
Link/cite this page
If you reference any of the content on this page on your own website, please use the code below to cite this page as the original source.
Link will appear as Marquis de Lafayette Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, October 3, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.