French Founding Father: Lafayette's Return to Washington's America
The Marquis de Lafayette first arrived in America in 1777 to assist George Washington in the cause for independence. From that time, and despite differences in language, age and upbringing, the two formed a life-long friendship and were united by common beliefs in human liberty and democratic society, principles that set them apart as inspirational leaders. Nearly 50 years later, in 1824, Lafayette returned to the United States, and was welcomed by prominent citizens and jubilant onlookers in all of the young country's 24 states. Initially arriving in New York, "the Nation's Guest" undertook a triumphant 13-month tour and was venerated in cities and towns as a close associate of General George Washington and last surviving general of the Revolutionary War.
Based on the exhibition organized by Mount Vernon, A Son and His Adopted Father: George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette, French Founding Father will explore the importance of Lafayette's remarkable and eventful tour, which covered over 6,000 miles by stagecoach, carriage, steamboat, horseback and sailing vessel and occasioned the commission of works of art and common tokens, all vehicles for the invention and elaboration of forms of American identification and patriotism that still permeate our national lives today. With more than 150 objects from the Historical Society's collections and other American and French institutions, including paintings, sculpture, books, prints, manuscripts, decorative arts and other memorabilia, the exhibition will explore the story of the extraordinary tour and the endurance of Lafayette's legacy in the United States.