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American Revolution
Marquis de Lafayette



Marquis de Lafayette
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.08

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    skillful, academy, military, republic, particularly, avenge, rank, refused, cavalry, intent, wealthy, impressed, lifelong, traitor, death, reform
     content words:    Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert, Continental Congress, John Hancock, George Washington, General Cornwallis, Revolutionary War


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Marquis de Lafayette
By Jane Runyon
  

1     Do you know who Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Montier is? Perhaps you know him by his shorter name, Gilbert du Montier. No? How about Marquis de Lafayette? All of these names belong to the same person. He became a very important person in the colonists' fight for freedom. Lafayette was born in 1757 to a very wealthy French noble family. When he was two years old, Lafayette's father was killed while fighting against the British. Lafayette had a lifelong desire to avenge his father's death.
 
2     Lafayette's mother and grandfather both died when he was just thirteen years old. It was at this time he inherited a very large fortune. Many members of Lafayette's family had been soldiers. It was only natural that he would make the military a career also. He was educated at a military academy and commissioned as a captain in the French cavalry at the age of 16.
 
3     In 1777, Lafayette decided that his military skills would benefit the colonists in the new world. He had two reasons for doing this. He blamed the British for the death of his father, and he believed in the colonists' fight for independence. Foreign soldiers were not particularly welcome in the colonies. Many of the European soldiers who came to the new world to fight thought that they should be colonels and generals in the continental army. The colonial soldiers did not like taking orders from officers who could not even speak the same language they spoke. Lafayette was different. He was so intent on helping the colonists that he bought his own ship to sail across the Atlantic. He also paid all of the soldiers who wanted to come with him. When he arrived in Philadelphia, he was told by a member of the Continental Congress to just go back to France where he belonged. However,he would not be put off that easily. He went to John Hancock for help. He told Hancock that he would pay his own expenses and would also be a volunteer receiving no pay for serving in the army. Hancock was impressed. He sent Lafayette to George Washington.

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