La Fayette, Marquis de
La Fayette, Marquis de [Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Motier] (1757-1834) French General: Motier inherited his title and wealth upon the death of his parents but, being unattracted by court life, embarked upon a military career. Since he had little opportunity for promotion in the peace-time army, he joined the American Revolutionary Continental Army. Congress appreciated La Fayette's enthusiasm for republican ideals, as well as his offer to serve without pay. At the age of nineteen, La Fayette was commissioned a major general, but without either a salary or command. He soon gained the confidence of other officers, especially George Washington. He demonstrated great leadership skills and tremendous courage at the Battle of Brandywine in September 1777 and the skirmish at Gloucester in November of the same year. After that, General Washington and Congress gave La Fayette command of a division and the proposed invasion of Canada. La Fayette went to France in 1779 to lobby for the American cause. After he returned in 1780, he served in Virginia, helping to trap Lord Cornwallis' army at Yorktown. In France, La Fayette fought for reforms and continued to work on behalf of the United States. During the French Revolution, La Fayette lost his fortune and was exiled and imprisoned. He returned to France in 1799, where he lived for 35 years, until his death in 1834.