Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette

French general and politician (1757–1834)

Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette (6 September 1757 – 20 May 1834), known in the United States as Lafayette, was a French aristocrat, politician and liberal thinker. He believed in the Age of Enlightenment and played an important role during the American War of Independence and the French Revolution.[2] In 1789, he presented a draft of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. He worked on the document with Thomas Jefferson, who was the American ambassador in Paris.

Marquis de Lafayette
Lafayette as a lieutenant general in 1791; portrait by Joseph-Désiré Court
Birth nameMarie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier de La Fayette
NicknameThe Hero of the Two Worlds (Le Héros des Deux Mondes),[1] America’s Favourite Fighting Frenchman
Born(1757-09-06)6 September 1757
Chavaniac, France
Died20 May 1834(1834-05-20) (aged 76)
Paris, France
Buried atPicpus Cemetery
Allegiance Kingdom of France (1771–1777, 1781–1791)
 United States (1777–1781)
Kingdom of France (1791–1792)
French First Republic (1792)
Kingdom of France (1830)
Years of service1771–1792
  • Major general (U.S.)
  • Lieutenant general (France)
Battles/warsAmerican Revolutionary War

French Revolution

War of the First Coalition
July Revolution
AwardsOrder of Saint Louis
Other work

Birth and family


Gilbert du Motier was born at the château de Chavaniac, in southern France. His father, Louis Christophe du Motier, was Marquis of La Fayette in his own right. His mother, Marie Louise Jolie de La Rivière, was from an aristocratic family from northern France.


  1. Adrienne Henriette Catherine Charlotte du Motier (Hôtel de Noailles 15 December 1775- Paris 3 October 1777) died young.[3]
  2. Anastasie Louise Pauline Motier du Motier (Paris 1 July 1777 - Turin 24 February 1863, Turin) married Jules César Charles de Fay, Count of La Tour Maubourg.
  3. George Washington Louis Gilbert du Motier (24 December 1779 - 29 November 1849) died childless but married Émilie d'Estutt de Tracy.
  4. Marie Antoinette Virginie du Motier (17 September 1782 - 23 July 1849) married Louis de Lasteyri, Marquis of Lasteyrie.[3]


  1. Carlier Jeannie, Lafayette, Héros des deux Mondes, Payot, 1988.
  2. Gregory Payan, Marquis de Lafayette: French Hero of the American Revolution (New York: PowerPlus Books, 2002), pp. 5–6
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Adrienne de Noailles, Marquise de La Fayette". This is Versailles. 23 September 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2015.

Other websites


  Media related to Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette at Wikimedia Commons