America’s Favorite Fighting French Man, How Much is Really True?

Americas Favorite Fighting French Man, How Much is Really True?

Raja Boudali, Journalist

   Hamilton, a musical about America’s ten-dollar founding father has reached severe popularity around the world, but how much of it is really true? Can you quote it in history class? Is it really one hundred percent accurate? In this article, I went in-depth on a specific character in Hamilton: America’s favorite fighting Frenchman. Presenting the one and only, Lafayette!

    Lafayette is one of the most popular characters in Hamilton, but one of the figures we know the least about. For a starter, Lafayette’s full name is Gilbert du Motier Marquis de Lafayette. Lafayette was born on September 6th, 1757 in Chavaniac, France. His father (Michel de Lafayette) died before his second birthday and his mother and grandfather died when Lafayette was 12 leaving him a wealthy orphan. The year after he joined the royal army and in 1773, (when he was 16)he married 14-year-old Marie Adrienne Françoise de Noailles. Three years later, he moved to the colonies. In Hamilton, we see when Aaron Burr(Hamilton’s killer he lost to Thomas Jefferson for the presidential election, becoming Tomas Jefferson’s first vice president instead), John Laurens (known for his fights against slavery and a close friend of Hamilton), Hercules Mulligan (a spy on the inside of the British government and an American soldier), Lafayette and Alexander Hamilton (The first founding father of the U.S and George Washington’s secretary) meeting at the bar. Well, this is all a fantasy, and there is no real evidence that Lafayette met Mulligan or Laurens. As cool as that would be, it didn’t really happen.

    In the song “The Battle of Yorktown”, Lafayette says “…go back to France, bring freedom to my people if I’m given the chance.” This is the last song we see Lafayette, then the actor (Daveed Digs) continues on in the musical to play Thomas Jefferson.  Whether he actually brought freedom to France is never mentioned in the musical and the short answer is he tried but was imprisoned for over five years. A sad fact is Lafayette never saw Hamilton again after the war. From what we know Lafayette probably didn’t know about Hamilton’s death until he visited America in 1824, which was ten years after Hamilton died. And ten years after that, Lafayette died on May 20th. Overall Lin-Manual Miranda (The writer of Hamilton) did a pretty good job of keeping it accurate. Hamilton is one of the greatest stage movies ever written, and I think a lot of people could agree with that, so if you haven’t seen Hamilton yet, go ahead and watch it there’s nothing stopping you.

Credits:

https://www.fatherly.com/play/hamilton-and-history-the-real-facts-about-lafayette-schuyler-and-laurens/https://screenrant.com/hamilton-musical-marquis-lafayette-changes-history-missing-information/https://www.denofgeek.com/movies/hamilton-what-happened-to-lafayette-in-france/https://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2020/07/09/what-happened-to-marquis-de-lafayette/https://www.quora.com/Is-there-any-record-of-how-Marquis-Lafayette-reacted-to-Alexander-Hamilton-s-death-in-1804