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tv   Lafayette in Washington 1824-1825  CSPAN  January 27, 2019 11:00am-12:01pm EST

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c-span two. between july of 1824 and september of 1825, revolutionary war hero marquis de lafayette toured all 24 states and the district of columbia. 50 years later, he received parades, banquets and military salute. up next, mark hudson, executive director of tudor place, talked about lafayette's three visit to washington, d.c. the george washington university museum and textile museum hosted this hour-long event. >> hello, everyone. welcome to mondays at the museum of the george washington university museum and textile museum. i'm the curator here. the gw museum and textile museum has been open since 2015 and showcases global textile art and the washingtonian collection of more than 1000 historic prints,
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manuscripts and artifacts that document the history of washington, d.c. this series which has been going since the founding of the museum features a new speaker each week that talks about some aspect of d.c. history, art, architecture or one of our current exhibits. we invite you to grab a cup of coffee and learn about the city that we live in. this week, we are celebrity the opening of a new exhibition, eye of the bird, vision and use of d.c.'s past. this show brings historical washington to life with new paintings and related works from the small washingtonian collection. to bring context is mark hudson, executive director of tudor place, will be discussing
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lafayette's visit to washington from 1824 to 1825. for the past three years, mark hudson has had the privilege of serving as executive director of tudor place. during a career that has spanned nearly three decades, he has served as executive director of the vermont historical society, historical society of frederick county, maryland, and in various capacities at archives, research libraries in the midwest. he holds a b.a. degree in history of communication studies and graduate degree in library science. he's pleased to be able to share his lifelong interest in american history through his work at museums and public programs like this. please join me in welcoming mark hudson. [applause] mark: thank you. it is really gratifying to see
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somebody people show up at a noon lecture like this. you never know what you are going to get. the program i was leading at a library in vermont several years ago, and it was kind of a cold and icy night. the person who had invited me and his wife were there. and that was it. [laughter] mark: the introduction i got was, well, i guess we should go ahead and start. jackie, thank you for that. a disclaimer before i start. i took spanish in high school and in college, so please no audible groans at my french pronunciations throughout the program. some of the lafayette quotes -- i was going to do a french accent. my wife told me last night
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though it is a strange combination of pepe le peus and inspector clouseau. i think i will do those straight for this, with julie in the front row. i was motivated to do this presentation by the two birdseye paintings of washington, d.c. which is the centerpiece of the exhibition upstairs. if you have not seen those, please take the opportunity to see those. for over a year, i had the opportunity to visit peter in his studio as he labored over these works. peter is both an outstanding historian and a very talented painter. peter, i thank you very much for sharing with me both your inspiration and your anguish, as you worked on these landmark works. you really made an an important contribution to the documentation of this place. with one of the paintings
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depicting the city in 1825, it was natural to explore lafayette's visit as a focal point. the painting provides an illustration of the city as it was at that time and helps us imagine what lafayette would have seen and experienced when he was here. i first became interested in lafayette's visit about 20 years ago. i was the newly appointed director of the historical society of frederick county in frederick, maryland. i arrived in that position as the county was embarking upon its 250th anniversary subdivision. the historical society's big part was the lafayette ball, a three creation of an event that occurred in -- three creation of an event in 1824. it included the ball, book before the ball, it was a reception in which i portrayed lafayette's son and delivered
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toasts in memory of yet and washington. all i can say about that event is i'm really glad that people at the time did not have cameras on their cell phones. that event exists only in our memories. but, we got to talking about this experience, this tour that lafayette did in 1824 and 1825. visiting all 24 states. at each place, he was hailed like a rock star. they got us thinking about what if we did a concert t-shirt? that is what we did. this is lafayette's farewell tour with some of the tour dates on it. i want that back. [laughter] mark: happy to share that for your enjoyment.
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so, between august 1824 and september 1825, lafayette spent 13 months in the u.s., logging thousands of miles and visiting each of the then 24 states. his travels included stops in new york, boston, fort smith, albany, trenton, princeton, philly -- baltimore, washington, mount vernon, richmond, savannah, montgomery, new orleans, baton rouge, nashville, cincinnati, pittsburgh, buffalo, rochester and rounded out the visit with stops at the end in maine and vermont. during his farewell tour, he visited washington three times. a short visit in october 1824, an extended stay in december,
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january and february of 1824 and 1825, and again september 1825 as he prepared for his return to france. and washington, as in every city he visited, he was given a hero's welcome and in many cases mobbed in a manner that reminds me of those scenes in "a hard day's night." almost like a rock star response. that is the inspiration behind the t-shirt. before discussing the specifics, it is important to know a little more about lafayette. understand why this event took place and why he had such celebrity status in a place
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thousands of miles from his home. as one biographer put it, he belong in the old world and his spirit belonged in the new. lafayette was born into an aristocratic family. by the way, if you google french baby, this is the image you get. he's holding a baguette. it's brilliant. born into an aristocratic family in 1767, soldiering seemed to be in his genes as multiple ancestors were military men. his father died during the seven years war. he was raised for a soldier's life, joining the black musketeers as a young teen. the death of his mother and grandmother in 1770 provided inheritance that made him one of the wealthiest men in europe. accordingly, he resided at the palace of luxembourg in paris and later at versailles where he attended academy. his marriage to the daughter of a duke expanded his wealth and status.
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although, this was a marriage that was arranged by the parents, it really turned out to be a loving relationship, built with words of affection and devotion, some of which you will hear about later. he was just 17 when he and adrian were married. around this time, he became a freemason, as was his soon to be patriarchal friend george washington. it is through the masons that his passion for the american colonists were stirred as he was exposed to liberal thinkers with ideals of liberty and freedom. although now a captain in the royal dragoons, lafayette was convinced that glory awaited him in america. lafayette slipped away quietly in 1777. so quietly that his own wife, now with a young child, learned of her husband's plans through letters she received after he was at sea. lafayette arrived in america in june of 1777.
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although the continental congress was taking a more cautious stance when engaging french military officers at this point, lafayette was somehow different. the continental congress had its doubts about settling general george washington with a teenage french aristocrat, but then franklin wrote from paris that he might be of some use and what the hell? the price was right. congress expanded the 19-year-old as a major general. a couple months later, he distinguished himself by rallying troops under fire and taking a bullet in the leg at the battle of brandywine. attending to the injured lafayette in the field was a staff officer named james monroe who will be become important to
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the story later. the injured french general was taken to philadelphia with orders by washington to treat him as if he were my son. throughout the war of independence, lafayette demonstrated his value to the cause through this capable leadership, his ability to follow orders, and above all else, his loyalty to george washington. the details of his military service in the revolution are subject of another day, but it is worth noting he played a crucial role in the ultimate defeat of cornwallis at the battle of yorktown. perhaps his most important contribution to the cause of american independence were his diplomatic efforts. convincing the french king, louis xvi, to send men, materials, and ships in aid. lafayette returned to france after the fighting ceased as the hero of two worlds. he returned to america in 1784,
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visiting george washington at mount vernon and meeting his grandchildren, including martha custis who would later be the matriarch. he was granted citizenship and given honorary degrees, and truly was a heroes welcome but not the last time he would receive one in the u.s. back in france, a fiscal crisis was setting into motion events that would ultimately lead to the end of the monarchy and violent revolution. lafayette was appointed to the assembly of notable, or not ables, as it is often referred to, an elected as a representative in 1787. then it became the national assembly. he advocated for democratic ideals, presenting the declaration of the rights of man and of the citizen which he drafted with the assistance of thomas jefferson. despite his recent approach, cooler heads did not prevail. the mob took over the streets of
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paris and stormed the bastille, he assumed command of the national guard and it is best to preserve order. despite his efforts, he protected the royal family will also asking for reform and rule the reign of terror. for those in power, lafayette was too much a monarchist. for the monarchists, he was too radical. while escaping to seek refuge in the united states, he was captured by austrian troops that were at war with the revolutionary french. fearing he might promote revolution elsewhere in europe, they detained him and eventually imprisoned him in the fortress city in 1794. he remained there under harsh conditions for three years. during the final two years, accompanied by his wife and
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daughters who had come to stay with him. all of this arranged through the intervention of u.s. minister to france james monroe. with the help of general napoleon, the lafayettes were released in 1897. refusing to pledge allegiance to the french government in power at that time, lafayette initially refused citizenship. an appeal to accept him and his family as exiles in america was politely refused at that time for fear it would ruin frail relationship with the government. with napoleon's rise to power then, lafayette was again granted french citizenship in 1800.
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some of the property that was seized in the previous decade was returned to him. the following decade was one of quiet retreat for lafayette. he mourned the death of his beloved wife who died. corresponded with jefferson and others in america. and engaged in agricultural pursuits just like his champion george washington had done at mount vernon. the following napoleon led to the restoration in france. during the decade following the restoration, lafayette continue to promote the ideals of the republic and supported the greek revolution of 1821, both of which were viewed unfavorably by the french king, louis xviii. he was able to promote his ideals as a member of the chamber, until corrupt forces changed the voting rules, forcing him out in 1823. by 1824 -- by 1824, he was a widower. he was in hot water with the
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king and removed of any political voice he had in the chamber of deputies. under these circumstances, lafayette welcomed the visitation to united states. how did the invitation come about for lafayette and why did it come at that moment? one answers lies of the circumstances. his friends in the u.s. understood his fortunes had changed for the worst and this was a good time for him to get away. and the u.s., nearly a half-century had passed since the first shots were fired. the generation that led the fight to independence was dwindling. lafayette being the last officer to serve under general washington, although i did find a newspaper account that said they found someone who was 95 at
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that time. for our purposes, he was the last officer that served under washington. the nation was experiencing a brief period of political calm. the era of good feelings. the dissolutions of the federalist party allowed james monroe, the man who assisted lafayette in the battlefield and during his imprisonment, to run virtually unopposed in the election of 1820. the young nation was growing and now included 24 states. the city of washington had recovered from the damage inflicted by the british in 1814. as peter's painting illustrates, the national capital was beginning to resemble the monumental city that washington had envisioned. in his annual address to congress in 1823, president
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monroe warned the powers of europe that interference in the affairs of the nations of the western hemisphere would be viewed as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition towards the united states. the monroe doctrine, as this declaration came to be known, was specifically a warning to the nations of a holy alliance -- russia, prussia and austria -- that the nations of south america that achieved independence from spain and portugal were off-limits to them. the new nation had arrived and was willing to flex a little muscle. under these circumstances that lafayette, that congress passed a resolution honoring general lafayette and inviting him to visit the united states. it had been over 40 years since the victory at yorktown and four decade since the hero of two worlds had visited america. the young nation was inches to share with him -- anxious to share with him what his service meant to the nation and to show what we have done with the place since he left. in extending the invitation,
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president monroe was careful to ensure the imitation was made by the citizens and not by the state. therefore, the congressional resolution. as a proponent of ideals, lafayette was viewed unfavorably by the monarch's powers of the holy alliance. munro could not inflame relations, who had already taken offense at the monroe doctrine. lafayette accepted the invitation and set sail on july 13, 1824. he was accompanied by his son, george washington lafayette, a personal valet, and auguste, his personal secretary. fortunate he was a companion on his journey as his journal of the tour provided a detailed account of their travel, recollections of the tributes and speeches that were made in honor of lafayette. most importantly, descriptions
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of the places they visited. this was published at the time as a two-volume journal. you can get it now as a one volume set that has been translated into english, thankfully for me. it really is a rich description of this 13 month tour. the trio arrived in new york on august 15. this was really setting the standard for all other cities. the big apple pulled out all the stops, with parades and banquets, each of which featured emotional accolades of soldiers who had served with general lafayette. after visits to other cities in the state of new york, new england and the mid-atlantic, lafayette arrived in washington on october 12, 1824. he was met at the city limits by municipal officials, soldiers and calvary who accompanied him to that part of the city. in his journal, they traveled for an hour within the enclosure of the city until encountering a
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single dwelling. you can really see that in the painting, house so much of the development was clustered around the capital and the presidential home. they arrived at the heart of the city by passing through an archway at the market house. one of the interesting sources that was written in 1824 is john foster's sketches of the tour of general lafayette in which he described the moment of their arrival. the eastern front of the market house on east capitol street was formed into an arch and decorated with implementing devices. a living eagle who moved his wings at the moment the general passed, as if stimulated by feelings of the light which
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animated all. at the capital, the party was met by 25 young ladies, aged nine to 14 years old who represented the 24 states and the district of columbia. in a newspaper article published 70 years later, attending the reception in the rotunda with her parents. the mayor of washington delivered an address and introduced colonel john cox, the mayor of georgetown, who extended in imitation to which lafayette replied, georgetown is an old friend of mine and i shall visited with pleasure. they proceeded down pennsylvania avenue to the presidents house. on this ride -- you can see in the route between the two buildings -- on this ride, we passed under the windows of some investors of the holy alliance.
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that was a triumph so beautiful, so pure, it was a phenomenon it could not comprehend. arriving at the president's house, he was apprised at its modesty and informality. he described it as a very simple house but in very good taste. remarking also that the entrance is defended by neither guards, ushers, nor insulin valets. -- insolent valets. upon entering, you notice with some relief that all were clad in a simple bluecoat without braids, embroidery, decorations. without all those childish ornaments in which so many fools cool their heels in the palaces of europe. lafayette embraced his brothers. the president offered an excellent nation on why lafayette would not be sleeping at the residence.
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likely another attempt on monroe's part to ensure his visit did not have the trappings of an official state visit, he said the people of washington lay claim to you. they say you are the nation's guest and that nobody other than themselves have the right to house you. it is a little bit like you have unwanted company and you say, wouldn't you be more comfortable down the street at the holiday inn? sources vary. he stayed primarily at the franklin hotel which was located on the northwest corner of 6th and pennsylvania? jackie will help with the research on this. that is now the location of the capital grille which is where my wife and i had our anniversary dinner. the following day, he visited columbia college, now the george washington university which had
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just opened four years earlier. it was the fulfillment of george washington's dream of a national university in the federal district. it was located in an area called college hill, north of the white house. founded a short time ago, it contains as yet only a very small number of students. the choice of a director and a professor shows a brilliant future for it, but it has a rivalry in the proximity of georgetown college. fulfilling his promise to mayor cox, lafayette came to georgetown. after a tour on georgetown college, he called on tudor place. for those of you not familiar with tudor place, it was the home of martha custis peter, the granddaughter of martha washington. he first met her in 1894. she was only seven but did remember the event quite vividly. it was terrific that peter extended his painting beyond
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rock creek so we could make sure we included tudor place in that, so thank you for doing that. martha's daughter britannia described the moment of lafayette's arrival. he drove to tudor place in a private carriage. i can see the grand old man as he entered the door of the parlor. this is tudor place as it would have appeared at the time. the grand entrance coming in from our street. his dignified appearance making an impression on my mind, that which time could not a face. advancing to my mother, he tenderly embraced her. the meeting with whom ringing to his my recollections of former days when he had known her as a child, the guest of his everlasting friend george washington.
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before departing washington a few days later, lafayette accompanied by his son, dined at tudor place, the guest of martha peter. among those in attendance were captain william g. williams who was introduced to britannia's sister. apparently sparks flew between them as they were married two years later. in gratitude for their hospitality, lafayette presented to the peters an engraving of himself that hangs today in the same location as it did when the peter family lived at tudor place. while lafayette was attending receptions and other events throughout the city, toured the city and observations are worthy of note and serve as the fine companion to peter's paintings. drawn upon a gigantic scale, the plan cannot be drawn up for a century. only the capital to the
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president's house is inhabited and it has already formed a medium-sized town. you can see that here -- a concentration of homes and other buildings in that area. without his public monuments, one would take it for a newborn colony. he departed from washington to attend commemorations on the anniversary of the british defeat. he followed this up with other stops in virginia, including a visit to jefferson at monticello and madison at montpelier before returning to washington in late november. he recounted his impression upon his return. we found the city very much more animated than before our departure. the number of foreigners and citizens from all parts of the union who assembled at the time of the opening of the congress had flocked there at this time
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in very great numbers. still drawn by the desire to be there at the same time as the nation's guests and in order to unlike the uncontested election in 1820, the contest four years later was one of the most bizarre in our nation's history. among the candidates, first of all, all of the candidates were from the same party and among the four candidates were two members of monroe's candidate. -- cabinet. secretary of state john quincy adams and secretary of the treasury william crawford as well as the speaker of the house henry clay and the military hero, andrew jackson. to make it a little weirder crawford had suffered a , debilitating stroke a year later but was proceeding all the same. in the election, jackson had prevailed in the popular and electoral vote, but with the vote split four ways, he didn't have the electoral votes needed for election and so for the
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second time in the young nation's history, the house of representatives would be picking the new president. it was under these circumstances that lafayette returned to the capitol to be first greeted by the senate on december 9 and the house the following day. in the unanimous resolution of invitation to lafayette, the house declared that assurances will be given to him of the gratitude and the profound respect that the chamber maintains for the imminent services that he rendered during the revolution and of the pleasure that it feels in seeing him again. in response to their invitation, lafayette addressed a joint session of congress being the first foreigner to do that. speaker of the house henry clay provided an emotional introduction in which he acknowledges the changes the nation had seen since lafayette's prior visit four decades earlier. everywhere you must be struck by the physical and moral changes which have taken place since you
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left us. the city itself which bears the name that is dear to you and dear to us was recently built in the bosom of the forest that covered its soil. lafayette returned the many compliments with humility and gratitude noting his commitment to the ideals he had found in the revolution. to be sure, i can stand fast with head held high when it is solemnly declared that on each occasion i have stayed faithful to american principals of liberty, equality and true social justice to which i have been devoted since my youth and which until my last breath will be a sacred duty to me. in gratitude for his service and acknowledgment of the personal expenditures he made in the cause of american independence, congress granted
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lafayette -- which is about $4.5 million in current value and 24,000 acres in northern florida. while in washington -- he never moved to florida. while he was in washington, lafayette was a guest of honor at the first graduation exercise of colombian college. he was accompanied by president monroe, cabinet members, congressman and the three seniors from the graduating class of that year. [laughter] >> during his winter stay in washington, lafayette ventured into nearby regions including his visit to frederick i referenced earlier. he arrived on the 29th and greeted at the jug bridge, this is the jug bridge crossing the river as you get into frederick county. he was accompanied into town by an escort of military and public officials. he stayed at colonel john macpherson's home on the courthouse square and was feted
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with banquets and receptions before he went back to washington to attend a new year's dinner hosted by congress. reinforcing his belief in american democracy was lafayette's presence during the election of 1824. he was in the house chamber when the election was settled on february 9, 1825 and john quincy adams, despite having fewer popular or electoral votes than jackson was elected. they were in attendance that evening at a white house reception. tensions were high as the guests awaited the arrival of the president-elect and they also -- and the also rans in that campaign. they recounted the mood in the room as jackson entered. my attentive lances were carried alternatively to mr. adams and mr. jackson, i was curious to see how these two men
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who were rivals the preceding day would approach each other. my wait was not long. when they noticed each other, they dashed toward each other, clasped hands and it was frank -- held them tightly for a long time. congratulations offered by general jackson were frank and sincere. lafayette was in awe that they had managed the peaceful change -- exchange of leadership with each election and was surprised in the manner in which the four candidates treated each other during such a contentious time. what he appears to miss, however, is the effect he had on the political mood at that time. the phenomenon was not lost on -- who astutely observed by the heat of the discussion, spirits had arrived at a high degree of emotion when lafayette arrived on the american shore. then, as if by magic the
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, electoral zeal was suddenly paralyzed. the newspapers which the day before were fighting furiously to clear the path to the presidency for their candidate of choice immediately closed their long columns for the passionate discussion of the parties in order to open them only to the unanimous expressions of joy and national gratitude. having removed acrimony from our political system forever -- [laughter] >> lafayette departed for a tour of the south and west continuing his tour of all 24 states by august. relieved of president monroe's apprehensions about having lafayette reside at the president's house, the new president, john quincy adams hosted lafayette and his companions as overnight guests. there was relief expressed upon meeting adams noting during the electrical contest, his
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adversariesrd his reproached him for aristocratic airs in the courts where he had been for many years. i was surprised upon arriving in washington city, i learned the president had not changed, the simplicity of the servants, the accessibility of the household did not appear to me to have undergone the least alteration. a farewell dinner hosted by president adams was held on september 6, lafayette's 67th birthday. gifts were exchanged and toasts made in honor of the nation's guest. the following day, lafayette was joined by militia units and members of george washington's along the gathered banks of the potomac to bid farewell.
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embracing those around him, lafayette expressed for the final time on american soil his deep affection saying god bless the american people, each of their states and the federal government. accept that patriotic farewell as an overflowing heart as will -- such as will beat its last throb when it ceases to beat. he boarded the steamboat mount vernon that took him to the mouth of the potomac where he where he boarded the brandywine. a frigate that had been renamed. they renamed it the brandy wine after the revolutionary battle in which lafayette had been injured. peter has thoughtfully included in this painting an event from earlier in the year, this is actually the commissioning of the brandywine in june of 1825.
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so this is the maiden voyage of the ship that would take lafayette back to europe. never before and perhaps never since has a nation held such a long and deliberate celebration for a foreign hero. a quarter century later in 1852, americans held a similar reception for the father of hungarian democracy who toured the country and was the second foreigner to address a joint session of congress. and while there are similarities between these events, nothing could outdo the extent and the sincere emotion of lafayette's triumphant farewell tour. he returned to a hero's welcome in france. while he was away, king louis xviii had died.
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replaced by charles the 10th who was determined to restore the absolute power of the monarchy. as a member of the chamber of deputies, lafayette was outspoken against the increasingly despotic rule of the king and was seen as a leader of the revolt when parisians returned to the streets again in 1830. he played an important role in installing the more moderate louis phillippe, but through -- grew disillusioned as the king grew more despotic. he died 1834, a decade after his triumphant tour. in america, president jackson ordered that the nation mourn in the same manner it had 35 years earlier at the death of george washington. john quincy adams delivered a three-hour eulogy and members of congress wore black arm bands for a month. here is something really amazing, 100 years later in 1934, americans commemorated the
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anniversary of his death with president roosevelt hosting the french ambassador as he delivered a eulogistic address to a joint session of congress. lafayette is remembered in the u.s. with many counties cities, streets, schools and a , university named in his honor. here in d.c., you find many reminders, of course, there is lafayette square, the centerpiece, of course, is an equestrian statue of andrew jackson. [laughter] in lafayette square, you can find this beautiful statue of lafayette. i did a quick tour through the museum of american history and found numerous mentions of him, exhibitions in the revolution and at tudor place, you can pay
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a visit there and visitors are reminded of his visit of a print on the wall. this is a washington family punch bowl that was likely used, undoubtedly used when lafayette visited and if you have a careful eye in one of the upstairs bedrooms, you'll find in one of the cases up there, this luster ware pitcher. this is a whole another lecture of the commemorative items that were made around this visit and in commemoration of lafayette. one side of it is this transfer print of lafayette. on the other side is the surrender of cornwallis at the battle of yorktown. and now visitors to this museum can see peter waddell's brilliant depiction of the city during the year of the triumphal visit in 1825. i want to thank my friends here
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at the george washington university museum for inviting me to be part of the speaker series. thank you again to peter waddell for allowing me a great deal of leeway in how i could use the images of your paintings and thank you also to c-span for sharing this story with your viewing audience and i want to thank all of you for your attendance here today. i think we have a few minutes for any questions that people might have. [applause] mark: thank you. >> did lafayette speak english as well as french? mark: he did not when he first left france in 1777. a lot of the time that he spent on the ship coming over, he was conversing with english-speaking
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people and began to learn it. and then through -- what i've read is that by the time he left in 1782, he was relatively fluent in english, so picked up on the language. but he didn't, hadn't learned it before he set sail for america. >> where is tudor place? >> that's a great question, that is almost a plant. [laughter] >> tudor place, for those of you who have not paid a visit to this incredible historic garden, it is located at 31st and q streets in georgetown. it was the home of thomas and martha peters. a lot of its legacy has to do with the relationship with george and martha washington. it is because of that, that the peter family who lived there understood the importance of the collections they had, the estate where they lived.
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after six generations of the same family living there, the final private owner passed it onto a foundation to make sure it was available to the public. 1644, 31st street northwest. that is 1644, 31st street northwest. [laughter] website, we want to encourage you not just to see the lafayette items there, but as a way of gaining a better understanding of american history and of life here in the district of columbia in the nation's capitol. yes, you in the back, sir. >> people might be interested, the eagle that was on the arch that welcomed lafayette to washington, d.c. was also at the laying of the cornerstone of the washington monument in 1848 with dolly madison and mrs. hamilton was also there.
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it was recorded it was there and the same eagle. >> and did it flap its wings at the appropriate moment? no, probably not, probably not recorded. any other questions? >> i have a couple questions about peters. -- peter's wonderful thing -- painting. i'm wondering about the sources for it. is there a moat around the white house, am i seeing that right? that is one question. the second question is, it looks like that the high ground above the city where the view is taking place is totally imaginary. even if you stand on the front steps of the lee custis mansion, i'm not sure you will get a view like that. the body of water that runs almost up to the capital building, i assume on the right is the anacostia river where the
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naval yard would have been and that sort of thing. the middle, i assume that's the tiber river which on this presentation looks enormous compared to what i thought it was. so can anybody, you or anybody else comment on that? >> peter might be able to. >> the tiber was 500 feet wide where it meets. the wall around the white house was put there by jefferson. the dirt was stacked up behind it. when you were in the white house, you were not aware of it. when you were on the outside. there was a wall to stop you wandering into the white house grounds. it was still there during the civil war pulled down sometime after that. it is not a moat. that is mentally enlarged. when you see all that, the white house is like a small as a
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matchbook. >> the foreground seems to be higher. >> in order to see the whole city you have to enormously elevate the viewpoint. >> do you know why did the congress give lafayette all of that acreage in florida. >> i don't know why it was specifically where it was. it was somewhere near tallahassee or in leon county in tallahassee, why they chose that probably, somebody was just willing to give it. but the hope was that he would come to the u.s. and become a gentleman farmer here. both of those tributes. both the land and the cash that they had given him was in recognition of the fact, he had spent a lot of his own money.
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he paid for the ship that brought him and others here to begin with in 1977. -- 1777. he was paying for the outfitting of his own units and in the meantime, his fortunes had turned, the revolution, he had lost most of the property and the wealth that he previously had. i think there was a sense kind of we owe the guy. why they chose that particular amount and why that particular place i think was more just what was available. there was some debate on the floor of congress when they were passing the resolution for the money whether it , was appropriate. no one was questioning whether he was deserving of it. was it appropriate, this might set a bad precedent. but there is no precedent for lafayette if you think about it.
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mentioning who you are and what you are working on. >> good afternoon, everybody, i'm julian, i'm the founder and director of the lafayette trail which is an endeavor to map the tour of lafayette in 1824-1825. i would like to start by telling you i disagree with your wife, i don't think you sound at all like pepe lepew. [laughter] >> second of all, i don't know where you can find a photo of a french baby. i can tell you i did not look like that when i was a kid. [laughter] >> i used to work for the french consulate in boston. at the end of my work there, my project was endorsed by the president of france. in april he was invited by donald trump for the state visit, the first state visit of the trump administration.
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it's no accident that it's a french president that was invited first. i was with him and i traveled to the white house and the capitol. i was there when he addressed a joint session of congress there. this is a mission to emphasize the strong connections between france and america. i go all over the country, i have more than 8,000 miles in my car in less than three months. i have been to st. louis, i go all over the country, i have added 395's stops that lafayette did in this country and i'm not even halfway through to give you an idea. i'm grateful to so many pundits in this country including mark that shed some light on the stops of lafayette in specific areas, of course, here in washington, d.c., it was phenomenal as you can imagine. i was really honored to be at the white house and the capitol and the tour of lafayette is as much an institution of government as it is about the
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people in this country. it's a great honor on a daily basis to go all over the country and meet with americans that are as passionate about french american history and really appreciated dedication of lafayette. so this is, i just on a daily basis, i'm amazed by the point of generosity and affection by the american people toward the project and it's a pleasure to be here and emphasize the connections between our two countries that have lasted for so long. i'm in the area and doing the research for washington. i will go to where mark has extended an invitation, i will gladly to go there. i would like to finish an anecdote that i love about washington, d.c. if you permit me, august 6, 1825, lafayette left washington and went to see james monroe at his mansion in virginia. they traveled with john quincy adams on the turnpike and they had to pay because it's a turnpike, ok.
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[laughter] john quincy adams goes on the turnpike, ok, and he pays and the toll gentleman says mr. president. you're 11 cents short. he follows a present in the carriage and sees lafayette inside and he goes, he says oh, i'm sorry i didn't see the nation's guest in the carriage i'm not going to make , him pay and john quincy adams goes, well, it's a private tour, we're going to see former president monroe to his country estate, so he has to pay, end of the story, sir, in any other country in the presence of the head of state, lafayette would not have had to pay, but in the u.s. he has to pay. [laughter] thank you, mark for giving me the opportunity to explain the project thank you everyone for turning out. it's been a great lecture. [applause] >> that's how we roll in the u.s. [laughter] >> i have a question. >> for me? >> yes.
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>> how was the tour developed? >> originally they wanted to go to 24 states. successs so much of the that lafayette extended the trip to the 24 states going as far west to st. louis, missouri and as far south as louisiana. but originally he was actually going to stay within washington and the area, visit the 13 colonies and it got extended because he was overwhelmed with all of his invitations from the western states. >> because he was invited? >> yes. >> he felt an obligation to do that and one of the sources that i read said is when they came back in november of 1824, the mail had piled up and included among that were a lot of
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invitations to visit every city, every berg and he tried to respond to every one of the invitations he received. there was a story, i think it was newburgh, new york, they had some problems with their transportation and they arrived really late in the night and they decided initially, well, we're just going to go back to our lodging, thank you very much for all that you've planned for us, and the crowd almost rioted because they had these beautiful displays and speeches that they wanted to make and things like that. he tried to be very gracious and accepting all of the invitations even though it had to be exhausting to go through that. >> are you going to build a trail for lafayette or is that
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what your goal is? >> yes. we're working with the state legislature in different states, actually, massachusetts a few weeks ago that designates the western most part of the commonwealth that lafayette traveled there as the lafayette trail. one i'm hoping to do the state -- do the same in different states like new hampshire, virginia as well. as you know 2024 is the by -- bicentennial of lafayette's tour. i have that in mind. you might know as well, in a few weeks now, we will celebrate in france the 100th anniversary of the end of world war i. there is a lafayette connection there. there was a lafayette in france in 1924, there is actually a church called the american church in france and inside they have a stained glass window depicting mr. pershing and mr. lafayette and how important the alliance is because the award of
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one victory. a lot of connections, lafayette, we are here, you may have heard the sentence that mr. stanton said on the grave of lafayette in 1917 on the fourth of july. i wrote to president macron to give him a report on the lafayette trail ahead of the visit of the president of the united states because, of course, it's a milestone of our bilateral relationship. i would like to finish this real quick. it's great to be back at george washington university one more time. i was last time here with the president and it's a completely environment now. great to be back. >> thank you all. thank you. appreciate it. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] >> interested in american history tv? visit our website.
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live february 3, super bowl sunday at noon eastern, author and sportswriter is our guest on in-depth. author of many books including what is my name, fool. how politics has turned the sports world upside down and his most recent, jim brown, last man standing. >> i love sports and that's why i think we need to fight for sports. we need to reclaim them and take sports back. if we are going to do so, we need to know our history. that's our greatest ammunition in this fight. we need in our history of the athletes, the sports writers, and the fans who have stood up to the machine. if are no other reason than knowing this history allows us to look at the world and see that struggle can affect every aspect of life in the system, even the ivory tower known as sports. >> join our live three hour
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