AFL Character Matters: 

Perceptions of Lafayette and Lessons for our Time

September 11, 2020

A panel discussion with AFL member-scholars

                     The subject of the panel discussion will be “Character Matters: Perceptions of Lafayette and Lessons for our Time."

            Our panelists:

1) Lloyd S. Kramer, Professor of History, University of North Carolina

2) Paul S. Spalding, Professor Emeritus of Religion, Illinois College.

3) Robert Crout, Adjunct Professor, College of Charleston

The panel will be moderated by AFL President Alan R. Hoffman.

            Our panelists have spent years studying Lafayette and have produced substantial publications that have been well-received. 

Lloyd Kramer wrote Lafayette in Two Worlds: Public Cultures and Personal Identities
in an Age of Revolutions
 (1996). 

Paul Spalding is the author of Lafayette: Prisoner of State (2010).

Robert Crout co-editor of Lafayette in the Age of the American Revolution: Selected Letters and Papers, 1776-1790, Vol. V.  He also co-edited books on the papers of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.


Some comments from the discussion:

What was Lafayette's attitude toward the Haitian Revolution?

Two wonderful talks already I am learning a lot from these wonderful scholars. Thank you!

how did Lafayettes views on abolition, women's rights, etc influence his fellow Continental officers? Did it rub off on them? Rub them the wrong way?

[O]ne of the things I absolutely love about Lafayette, his love of all men...

Q: How can we revive Lafayette's example and model today, make it more known, to improve our partisan and rude society, including on line versions of it?

Layette was remarkable but his wife deserves much credit in her unceasing support of her husband not only in the good times but in the bad, including in prison. It was she who managed the Cayenne plantation. Was it her life/work/support that might have prompted Layette’s support of women’s rights?

Do the panellists think that in his early years Lafayette hated Britain and that was one of the reasons he wanted to fight in America?

does anyone know exactly when the earth from the US was brought back to France. Is it 1825 or later?

Has Lafayette been honored by black scholars and writers, or has he been mostly ignored? Where do we stand currently?

Did Lafayette influence Washington in his views of African Americans? From the point of Washington not wanting slaves to have anything to do with the continental army or as little as possible to putting in freeing his slaves in his will? Agreeing to the 1st Rhode Island regiment, Laurens idea for a black regiment, etc?

Something that should be mentioned that when he was in prison in he kept a small American flag folded up on him and he kept it as his North star or guiding light. It is now in a small baccarat glass case in the Chateau la Grange . Joyce Good from Paris

This is awesome!

Thanks so much! Outstanding panel and presentations.

...His inmate friend, de Pusy.., later married his daughter...Bureaux de Pusy

...it also made him opposed to solitary confinement, another issue still with us today.

Lafayette is one of my absolute favorite historical figures to study and I love listening to you all teach. imperfect humans who had some major flaws did some extraordinary things.

Makes me love him even more to know he sought to help women authors! :)

Also though Laf gave most of his fortune to the American cause and lost the rest in the French Rev, Jefferson was the one who thought of the way of giving him some money by giving his land in Louisiana when Napoleon sold it. since he never got a dime from the American army during his service to uz

I am British.  The British had defeated the French in the Seven Years War. Lafayette really liked British people but not the British state.

Didn't he not get along with Aaron Burr? Because he killed Hamilton??

Washington freed a third of the slaves on his estate after his death but only when Martha died. He could not free two thirds of the slaves on his land because Martha owned them.

I wish I could listen for hours about these topics, this has been wonderful, THANK YOU


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