Bastille Day, Gilbert Du Motier Marquis de LaFayette, George Washington and Mount Vernon
How these two important men and places are connected.
During your class trip to Washington and Mount Vernon, you will hear the name Lafayette a lot. Lafayette played an important part in 2 revolutions. Alongside George Washington he would fight for the cause of American Independence and then back in France he would be a key player in the events of 1789.
Lafayette and Washington had a closer bond more akin to father and son then General and superior officer. Having lost his father at a young age Lafayette looked up to General Washington and the General took him under his wing. He was a dedicated and passionate fighter. Blaming the British for the death of his father the opportunity to fight along the Americans against the British.
He would lead the fight at Brandywine and be injured. Washington would cited him with “bravery and military ardour”. He would take a short leave to return to France in 1778 and return to the US in 1780 to fight again. Alongside Hamilton he would play a crucial role in the Siege of Yorktown to defeat the British once again.
He would eventually return to France and become the head of the National Guard there. In 1789 the “Storming of the Bastille”, a symbol of royal tyranny, it would become a symbol of the french Revolution and would change the course of events for France.
He served in the National Assembly and drafted the Declaration of the Rights of Man. He proudly sent the key to the Bastille to Washington, who was serving as the President of the United States.
So when you and your students travel to Washington DC on your educational tour or class trip to Mount Vernon remember to ask about the key. The key to the Bastille hanging in the foyer of Washington’s home and resting place.
Image courtesy of Mount Vernon Ladies Association, Source History.com and MountVernon.org