Marquis de Lafayette

Masonic Biographies

Marquis de Lafayette

Born: Tuesday, 06 September 1757
Died: Tuesday, 20 May 1834


Marquis de Lafayette was a patriot, charismatic officer in the Continental Army, and proponent of the principles of Freemasonry.


One of history's most famous and influential freedom fighters is the Marquis de Lafayette. Born in 1757 into an aristocratic French family, Lafayette showed such prowess in arms that he was commissioned as a French army officer at age 13. He developed a strong belief in liberty and equality. Though his exact date of initiation into Freemasonry is unknown, it’s possible that Freemasonry inspired his strong convictions. When he learned of the ongoing American Revolution, his heart became set on going off to fight. And when the King of France forbid French officers to go abroad to serve, and the American Republic was too poor to pay his passage, Lafayette bought a ship, hired a crew, and evaded arrest to go fight for his ideals.

Upon his arrival in America, Lafayette quickly distinguished himself as one of the most charismatic and capable officers in the Continental Army. It was there that we found another of his potential initiation dates into the Craft, as a lodge was convened as the Continental army wintered at Valley Forge. Regardless of when and where he became a Mason, his tireless commitment to the ideals of the craft and of the New Republic that reflected them led him to brave a trip back to France. He went to the court of the King to appeal for guns, ships, and troops to support the Army. And he got his wish.

At Yorktown he stood alongside a combined French and American army to bring liberation to the continent at the battle of Yorktown. After the war Lafayette returned to France, in time for the French revolution to bring fire to the continent. Initially elected to the Estates-General to help draft “The Declaration Of the Rights Of Man And The Citizen” - one of the founding documents of the French Republic. And later in life, in 1834, he would be asked to become King of France, but refused the honor. By the time LaFayette died, he was one of the most honored figures of the Age of Enlightenment.

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