Revolutionary Brothers: Thomas Jefferson, the Marquis de Lafayette, and the Friendship that Helped Forge Two Nations

Revolutionary Brothers: Thomas Jefferson, the Marquis de Lafayette, and the Friendship that Helped Forge Two Nations

by Tom Chaffin


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In a narrative both panoramic and intimate, Tom Chaffin captures the four-decade friendship of Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette.

Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette shared a singularly extraordinary friendship, one involved in the making of two revolutions—and two nations. Jefferson first met Lafayette in 1781, when the young French-born general was dispatched to Virginia to assist Jefferson, then the state’s governor, in fighting off the British. The charismatic Lafayette, hungry for glory, could not have seemed more different from Jefferson, the reserved statesman. But when Jefferson, a newly-appointed diplomat, moved to Paris three years later, speaking little French and in need of a partner, their friendship began in earnest.

As Lafayette opened doors in Paris and Versailles for Jefferson, so too did the Virginian stand by Lafayette as the Frenchman became inexorably drawn into the maelstrom of his country's revolution. Jefferson counseled Lafayette as he drafted The Declaration of the Rights of Man and remained a firm supporter of the French Revolution, even after he returned to America in 1789. By 1792, however, the upheaval had rendered Lafayette a man without a country, locked away in a succession of Austrian and Prussian prisons. The burden fell on Jefferson, along with Lafayette's other friends, to win his release. The two would not see each other again until 1824, in a powerful and emotional reunion at Jefferson’s Monticello.

Steeped in primary sources, Revolutionary Brothers casts fresh light on this remarkable, often complicated, friendship of two extraordinary men.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250113726
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/26/2019
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 784,336
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

TOM CHAFFIN is the author of, among other books, Giant's Causeway: Frederick Douglass's Irish Odyssey and the Making of an American Visionary; Sea of Gray: The Around-the-World Odyssey of the Confederate Raider Shenandoah; and Pathfinder: John Charles Frémont and the Course of American Empire. His writings have also appeared in the New York Times, the Oxford American, Time, Harper's, and other publications. He lives in Atlanta.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Trails Long and Severe
Part One: The Road Rises, 1743-1777
ONE: La Victoire
TWO: “My Heart Was Enlisted”
THREE: Beyond the Reach of Pursuers
FOUR: The Pursuit of Happiness
FIVE: To Philadelphia
SIX: City Tavern
Part Two: Converging Paths, 1778-1780
SEVEN: “To Learn, and Not to Teach”
EIGHT: Renown
NINE: “Soldier’s Friend”
TEN: Stargazer
ELEVEN: “No One Better Situated”
TWELVE: “A Hunting with the King”
THIRTEEN: Burdens Wrong to Decline
FOURTEEN: Blast Like an Earthquake
Part Three: In Common Cause, 1781-1782
FIFTEEN: “The Latitude of His Plans”
SIXTEEN: “Flattered by the Command”
SEVENTEEN: Rumours Gone Abroad
EIGHTEEN: The Enemy at Monticello
NINETEEN: “A Good School for Me”
TWENTY: To Do Some Very Good Things
TWENTY-ONE: Yorktown
Part Four: Parisiens, 1782-1785
TWENTY-THREE: More Mortification Than Any of My Life
TWENTY-FOUR: “Your Name Here Is Held in Veneration”
TWENTY-FIVE: Paris Autumn
TWENTY-SIX: Hero’s Tour
TWENTY-NINE: The Patriarch of Passy
THIRTY: Holy Roman Empire
THIRTY-ONE: Hôtel de Langeac
THIRTY-THREE: Historical Scenes
THIRTY-FOUR: “No Rose without Its Thorn”
Part Five: Revolutionary Tide, 1786-1789
THIRTY-FIVE: Assembly of Not Ables
THIRTY-SIX: “To See What I Have Never Seen Before”
THIRTY-SEVEN: Canal Royal en Languedoc
THIRTY-EIGHT: Bed of Justice
THIRTY-NINE: A Parade in Aurillac
FORTY: Polly and Sally
FORTY-ONE: The Perpetual Union’s Final Days
FORTY-TWO: “Our Affairs at Amsterdam Press on My Mind Like a Mountain”
FORTY-THREE: “The Devil, More Cunning”
FORTY-FOUR: “To Navigate in Such a Whirling”
FORTY-FIVE: Vive le Tiers tat!
FORTY-SIX: “The Mephitic Atmosphere of Prejudices”
FORTY-SEVEN: “Paid at Panthémont in Full”
FORTY-EIGHT: “A Catechism of France”
FORTY-NINE: “Aux Armes!
FIFTY: Hôtel de Ville
FIFTY-ONE: Commandant de la Garde Nationale
FIFTY-TWO: “Vive la Nation!
FIFTY-THREE: The Sea Running High
FIFTY-FOUR: Duties Owed the King
Part Six: Diverging Paths, 1790-1824
FIFTY-SIX: “Despotism to Liberty, in a Feather-Bed”
FIFTY-SEVEN: “Cromwell Would Not Have Entered Alone”
FIFTY-EIGHT: A Clomping of Approaching Horses
FIFTY-NINE: Reign of Terror
SIXTY: “The Unhappy Fortunes of M. de la Fayette”
SIXTY-ONE: Quiet Days in Batavia
SIXTY-TWO: Hero’s Tour Redux
SIXTY-THREE: Autumn Reunion
Epilogue: “A Certain Idea”

A Note on Sources and Style

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