Lafayette’s Tour: America In 1824

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The year is 2024. Do you remember 2018? If you’re a political junkie, you may recall it was the year Brett Kavanaugh won confirmation to the Supreme Court. If you enjoy reading People Magazine, then you’ll note it was the year Meghan Markle married into the British royal family. If you prefer business, it was the year both Sears and Toys ‘R’ Us declared bankruptcy.

If you’re an adult, each of those stories endure vividly in your memory. They don’t seem that far distant. And if any of those subject areas carry emotional weight with you, those scars remain to this day.

Now imagine the year 1824. What major event happened in the year 1818 that sticks in Continue Reading “Lafayette’s Tour: America In 1824”

Lafayette’s Tour: A Message From An Old Friend

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By February of 1824, the foreign press had finally revealed the extent of Lafayette’s legal troubles. He had already brought forth the wrath from the newly restored Bourbon monarchy.

In 1814, Napoleon was exiled to Elba. King Louis XVIII was restored to the crown his brother Louis XVI lost his head over during the French Revolution. Napoleon returned briefly in 1815, but quickly (after his defeat at Waterloo 100 days later) returned to exile, this time for good.

With that, the Bourbon Restoration commenced in full bloom. Lafayette, who had remained dormant following his wife’s death, was convinced to return to politics. In 1818 he wasContinue Reading “Lafayette’s Tour: A Message From An Old Friend”

Lafayette’s Tour: The Duty That Held Him Back

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Take a look at his name: Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier de La Fayette, Marquis de La Fayette. It exudes aristocracy. With Lafayette, that was a mixed blessing.

On one hand, it meant he benefited from an elite schooling in proper behavior. On the other hand, it meant proper behavior shackled him. It would make him a hero to some. It would also earn him real shackles.

Born in south central France on September 6, 1757, he followed in the military tradition footsteps of both sides of his family. On his father’s side, one of his ancestors served as a Marshal of France and accompanied Joan of Arc’s army during the Siege of Orléans in 1429. His maternal great-grandfather commanded the Second Company of Musketeers (a.k.a., the “Black Musketeers”) until his retirement in 1770.1

For the curious, the “Black Musketeers” had black horses while the First Company “Grey Musketeers” mounted gray horses. The Musketeers were a special forces unit that Continue Reading “Lafayette’s Tour: The Duty That Held Him Back”

Lafayette’s Tour: What Took Congress So Long?

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Senator Robert Y. Hayne, South Carolina, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

James Monroe entered the final year of his second term feeling good. It was, after all, the “Era of Good Feelings.” In eight years, the nation’s fifth President had accomplished much. His country had many things to feel good about.

And there was more coming.

Monroe’s decision to not seek reelection confirmed the tradition of the self-imposed limit of two terms as president. Before this, however, people had a legitimate thought that Monroe would run for an unprecedented third term. He had other thoughts. In a way, they were bigger thoughts.

But he had to wait for a slow-moving Congress to give the thumbs-up.

It seems several citizens took it upon themselves to invite Lafayette to return to the nation where he first made his mark in history. While they weren’t necessarily serving in Continue Reading “Lafayette’s Tour: What Took Congress So Long?”

Lafayette’s Tour: It Was Twenty Decades Ago…

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Two hundred years ago, in January 1824, a struggling Congress asked President James Monroe to dispatch an invitation across the ocean to the only surviving general of the American Revolutionary War. The fifth President of the United States and the last Founding Father to fill that role, Monroe wanted to send a message—on both sides of the Pond.

It was a time of transition. It was a time of hope. It was a time to remember.

Domestically, America had just won its second war of independence from Great Britain. This one-time adversary had now fast become a firm ally. Concurrently, the old monarchies of Europe reappeared, threatening to undo the republican movement in the western hemisphere.

On the verge of his sixty-seventh birthday, Monroe accomplished much by the end of his second term despite a series of controversies and setbacks that marred his first four years as President. Initially elected to the nation’s highest office in 1816, Monroe set his focus on Continue Reading “Lafayette’s Tour: It Was Twenty Decades Ago…”

God and Calhoun at Yale

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You can tell skilled debaters from amateurs by this simple test: skilled debaters can argue either side of the argument with equal success. It’s why public defenders are often better attorneys than public prosecutors. In most situations, public prosecutors can choose which case to take to court. Given this option, it’s not surprising to see them avoid cases they don’t agree with. Public defenders have no similar choice. They must make a case for the defendant whether they believe that defendant is guilty or not. Unlike private defense attorneys, who may choose not to represent any particular party, public defenders have no right to pick and choose their cases.

It’s easy to see why people sometimes think less of the legal profession. The ability to argue either side of any issue with the same fervor can indicate a certain level of amorality that can make a preacher’s skin crawl. After all, in the court of law, judgment is fungible – the power of a lawyer’s rhetoric can sway it. On the other hand, from the point of view of the pulpit, Continue Reading “God and Calhoun at Yale”

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