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Lived: 1757-1834

Gilbert du Motier, known in the United States as the Marquis de La Fayette, was a French soldier who aided the colonies of the United States in their struggle against Great Britain. Born into a noble family, La Fayette began his career in the military at the age of 14. By 19, the Marquis had become enraptured with the struggle of the colonies of Great Britain, as well as the chance to strike a blow against his homeland's greatest foe, and set sail for the New World in order to join up in Washington's army. La Fayatte repeatedly demonstrated his martial prowess. His participation at Barren Hill, the Battle of Brandywine and the Siege of Yorktown, the final battle of the American Revolution, plainly displayed his commitment to the cause of the American colonies and their ideals. La Fayette held to these ideals upon his return to France, where yet another revolution was brewing. The upheavals of the French Revolution shook the country and its citizens to the core, La Fayette included. Amid the chaos, La Fayette drafted the "Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen," one of the fundamental documents of the new French republic. As the aftershocks of the French Revolution calmed, La Fayette returned to the United States, receiving the sort of reception foreign kings could only dream of. In both France and the United States, the Marquis de La Fayette remains a highly respected figure.