Lafayette, Marquis De, and African Americans
- Penny Anne Welbourne
was born into a family of venerable French nobility. He was two years old when the British killed his father at the Battle of Minden during the Seven Years' War. It is likely that the circumstances of his father's death served as a partial impetus for Lafayette's later involvement in the American Revolution, for he, like so many Frenchmen of his time, intensely wished to avenge the earlier humiliation of the French army by the British.
In 1777 not long after his marriage to Marie Adrienne Françoise de Noailles Lafayette learned that French officers were being recruited to fight in the American Revolutionary War As he was convinced that the war for freedom embodied the principles that he held most dear virtue integrity tolerance equality and liberty at the age of twenty he presented himself to Silas Deane the American agent in Paris and volunteered his services With the ...
A version of this article originally appeared in The Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619–1895.