Column: Frenchman Lafayette big hit in Jeffersonville

A half-century after the Declaration of Independence was issued, the Frenchman who helped the United States win the American Revolution returned to this country on a victory tour. It was a landmark event for cities on his itinerary. Jeffersonville, Indiana, was one of them.

The 1824-25 visit to the United States by the 67-year-old Marquis de Lafayette, last surviving general of the Revolutionary War, dominated headlines for a year. The closest modern equivalent would be a visit from the pope.

Congress had voted to invite the aging war hero to the United States to thank him for his service to the Continental Army and to reinvigorate republican spirit as a new generation of political leaders moved into power. President James Monroe sent the official invitation. Cities and states that desired his presence passed special legislation.

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