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Wounding of Lafayette at Brandywine

"I’m taking this horse by the reins making red coats redder with bloodstains"
— Marquis de Lafayette


George Washington and Lafayette at Valley Forge

An 1824 portrait of Lafayette that hangs in the House Chamber of the U.S Capitol.

Marquis de Lafayette is a character in the musical Hamilton and is portrayed by Daveed Diggs. Lafayette is a close friend of Alexander Hamilton.

His full name is Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette.

Biography

Act 1

Marquis de Lafayette is first seen in the beginning of Act One, where he, along with John Laurens and Hercules Mulligan, question Aaron Burr's intentions, and ask him why he is stalling when the Revolution was around the corner. Lafayette is also first introduced to 19-year-old Alexander Hamilton, a new immigrant from the Caribbean ("Aaron Burr, Sir"). He and Hamilton soon become close friends and Revolutionary allies, along with John Laurens and Hercules Mulligan, and they sing of effort they will put into rising up in the new country ("My Shot"). They then sing in the spirit of the Revolution together ("The Story of Tonight").

Alexander gets married to Elizabeth Schuyler, and Lafayette, Laurens, and Mulligan come to his wedding to celebrate and congratulate him. Aaron Burr visits them to congratulate them on their success; they ask about his lover, to which he replies that he can't see due to her husband being a British officer ("The Story of Tonight (Reprise)").

Lafayette then meets General George Washington ("Right Hand Man"), fights hard battles with Hamilton and Laurens ("Stay Alive"), returns to the colonies, and is formally introduced, in which he begins his important role in victories during the Revolution. Lafayette also persuades a reluctant George Washington to allow Hamilton to join the army once more, as he believed Hamilton was their key to success ("Guns And Ships").

Then, at the Battle of Yorktown, Hamilton and Lafayette unites the American and French forces against the British, and Hamilton promises to aid Lafayette in the French Revolution to repay what Lafayette was doing for the American Colonies ("Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)").

During the ("Laurens Interlude") you can see Lafayette along with Hercules Mulligan in the background reading the letter.

Act 2

Following the Battle of Yorktown, Lafayette returns home to France to his own country's revolution, and as such makes no appearance in Act Two. He is mentioned in one of Hamilton and Jefferson's debates (Cabinet Battle #2), when Jefferson, angered by Hamilton's refusal to send funds, asks if Hamilton has forgotten his friend. Hamilton snaps back that Lafayette was his friend before he was Jefferson's, and states that as Lafayette is a smart man, Hamilton is not worried about him.

A still from an exemplary performance delivered by Daveed Diggs for the song Guns and Ships.

Cast changes

Broadway

Gallery

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Trivia

  • Marquis de Lafayette's christened name was Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier de La Fayette. He was born in a chateau in Chavaniac, France in 1757, September 6. As regards his very long name, he joked in his autobiography, saying, “It’s not my fault,” and, “I was baptized like a Spaniard, with the name of every conceivable saint who might offer me more protection in battle.”
  • Lafayette, very much like his contemporaries Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, was orphaned at the young age of 12, when his mother and grandfather passed away, leaving behind a grand fortune.
  • Lafayette's father was martyred whilst fighting the British during the Seven Year's War at the battle of Mindenin in 1759. Therefore, he was inspired to strike back at them.
  • This inspiration came from a very unusual source. King George III's younger brother, Duke of Gloucester, was guest of honour at a party attended by Lafayette. The duke had been rebuked by the King over his current bride choice and he, in order to snide his brother, struck back at his American colonies policies and the American determination at The Battles of Lexington and Concord, April 19, 1775, which fired the American Revolution.
  • He married Marie Adrienne Françoise de Noailles, at the age of 16. Lafayette, thereof allied himself with one of the wealthiest French Families.
  • Lafayette was not a member of the Sons of Liberty nor did he join up with the political revolutionaries as portrayed in the show. Going against his family's and King Louis XVI's wishes, Lafayette arrived in the New World at the age of 19 to join the American Revolution. Upon his arrival, Lafayette caught the attention of General George Washington who quickly made Lafayette a member of his staff around the same time as Hamilton. This is where Alexander Hamilton and Lafayette developed their friendship and began their famous written correspondence.
  • In August 1775, Lafayette attended a dinner party at which Great Britain’s Duke of Gloucester, the younger brother of King George III, was the guest of honour. This was were Lafayette received the inspiration he needed to strike back against the British Empire. 
  • Lafayette returned to France to great fanfare following the victory against the British where he joined the French abolitionist movement while working as a diplomat between France and the United States. On July 11, 1789, Lafayette presented "the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen" to the National Assembly, a French variation on the Declaration of Independence written with the help of his buddy Thomas Jefferson. Several events during the revolution led to Lafayette being branded as a loyalist, which began his decline in the eyes of the French people.
  • Lafayette, at the invitation of then-President James Monroe, travelled to the US for a Grand Tour in celebration of the 50th year of American Independence. He spent nearly a year traveling the nation, being honoured every step of the way. By the time he left, John Quincy Adams was President.
  • Lafayette arrived in America when he was nineteen years old. At the end of the war, he was twenty-six.
  • Commander of the Continental Army, George Washington, held Lafayette in extreme regards. The Marquis remained at His Excellency's side during the harsh winters at Valley Forge, 19 Dec 1777 – 19 Jun 1778 as well as in the last and decisive battle of the Revolution, the battle of Yorktown, 1781.
  • In 1779, Lafayette named his first and only son, Georges Washington de Lafayette, in honour of George Washington.
  • On Thomas Jefferson's recommendation, in 1782, he named his youngest daughter Marie Antoinette Virginie, as a tribute to the last French Queen Marie Antoinette aa well as the state of Virginia, home to three Founding Fathers as well as American Presidents - George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
  • Lafayette was a very close friend of Eliza Schuyler, wife of Alexander Hamilton. She was acquainted with him before she was wooed by Hamilton at the Winter's Ball. After Alexander passed away, Lafayette stayed with Eliza for sometime before returning back to France.
  • Throughout his life he owned 30 dogs, 7 of which were gifted to him by George Washington.
  • May 20, 1834, at the age of 76, Lafayette passed away in Paris and was buried next to his wife, Marie Adrienne Françoise de Noailles at the Picpus Cemetery. To honour his dying wish, his son surrounded his coffin with dirt taken from Bunker Hill in the year 1825, when Lafayette had laid the the cornerstone to the monument, which, till date flags the battlegrounds. A fitting burial for “The Hero of the Two Worlds”.
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