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Marquis de Lafayette (1757 - 1834)

A national war hero, Lafayette never set foot in Michigan. The presence of his picture in the Senate Chamber is due to the respect with which the Revolutionary War and its heroes were regarded by Michigan's early leaders.

Born Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, he fought in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and became a close associate of President George Washington. He was voted a major general at the age of 20 by the Continental Congress and commanded a light division in the Battle of Yorktown. After his return to France, he became a powerful force in the French Revolution. In 1824, as the United States approached its 50th anniversary, President Monroe invited General Lafayette to return to America. He enjoyed a hero's welcome and toured the country's 24 states in triumph. He had a great love for the United States and was a living symbol of victory over tyranny. Interment: France, in American soil he took there for this purpose.

Artist: Alexander Simpson (?).  During Lafayette's tour of the United States, many portraits were painted of him. This painting is by Simpson who was from Washington, D.C. It was copied (a common practice of the day) from a portrait done by Ary Scheffer. The Michigan Legislature purchased the painting in 1837 and it has hung in all three State Capitol Buildings.