52 Quotes of Marquis de Lafayette

” Humanity has won its battle. Liberty now has a country. “
” I gave my heart to the Americans and thought of nothing else but raising my banner and adding my colors to theirs. “
” My heart has always been truly convinced that in serving the cause of America, I am fighting for the interests of France. “
” I read, I study, I examine, I listen, I think, and out of all that I try to form an idea into which I put as much common sense as I can. “
” Any commands which Congress may have for me shall be cheerfully executed by one of their earliest soldiers, whose happiness it is to think that, at a less smiling moment, he had the honor to be adopted by America, and whose blood, exertions, and affections will in her good times, as they have been in her worst, be entirely at her service. “
” One time, I was given an essay topic: to describe a perfect horse, whom the mere sight of the rider’s whip would make obedient. I depicted this perfect horse throwing his rider at the sight of the whip. “
” When the government violates the people’s rights, insurrection is, for the people and for each portion of the people, the most sacred of the rights and the most indispensible of duties. “
” Though my conduct on the 10th of August 1792 was the act of my life of which I have most reason to be proud, I will here merely do homage to the worthy martyrs of the national sovereignty and the sworn laws, who, while they supported constitutional royalty, manifested the highest degree of republican virtue. “
” Laws must be clear, precise, and uniform for all citizens. “
” The Huron and Iroquois forests are peopled by my friends; with me, the despots of Europe and their courts are the savages. “
” The good fortune of America is closely tied to the good fortune of all humanity. “
” Nature has made men free and equal. The distinctions necessary for social order are only founded on general utility. “
” During my last voyage to America, I enjoyed the happiness of seeing that revolution completed, and, thinking of the one that would probably occur in France, I said in a speech to Congress, published everywhere except in the ‘French Gazette,’ ‘May this revolution serve as a lesson to oppressors and as an example to the oppressed!’ “
” Defender of the liberty that I idolize, myself more free than anyone, in coming as a friend to offer my services to this intriguing republic, I bring to it only my frankness and my good will; no ambition, no self-interest; in working for my glory, I work for their happiness. “
” The exercise of natural rights has no limits but such as will ensure their enjoyment to other members of society. “
” It is the pride of my heart to have been one of the earliest adopted sons of America. “
” It was by a Maryland colonel in the year 1777 that the British received, in the gallant defense of an important fort, one of the first lessons of what they were to expect from American valor and patriotism. “
” I am able to say that I was very much liked at the school. I even had quite some ascendancy over my comrades, and as soon as I appeared in the school yard, I was surrounded by young friends, most of them bigger than I, but who were quite willing to give the appearance of disciples; they would have defended me furiously if necessary. “
” True republicanism is the sovereignty of the people. There are natural and imprescriptible rights which an entire nation has no right to violate. “
” No man can be subject to any laws, excepting those which have received the assent of himself or his representatives and which are promulgated beforehand and applied legally. “
” Do not calculate what I have done, for I shall accept no recompense. Calculate the public advantage, the welfare and liberty of my country, and believe that I shall refuse no burden, no danger, provided that, at the hour of tranquillity, I may return to private life, for there now remains but one step for my ambition – that of arriving at zero. “
” Nothing hurts so much the interest and reputation of America as to hear of their intestine quarrels. “
” Charleston is one of the best built, handsomest, and most agreeable cities that I have ever seen. “
” Whatever may be my feelings of personal gratitude to the Navy of the United States, I feel myself under still greater obligations to them for the honor they have done to the American name in every part of the globe. “
” The American women are very pretty and have great simplicity of character, and the extreme neatness of their appearance is truly delightful: cleanliness is everywhere even more studiously attended to here than in England. “
” It is foolishly thought by some that democratical constitutions will not, cannot, last; that the States will quarrel with each other; that a king, or at least a nobility, are indispensable for the prosperity of a nation. “
” Our articles of confederation ought to be revised and measures immediately taken to invigorate the Continental Union. Depend upon it: there lies the danger for America. This last stroke is wanting, and unless the states be strongly bound to each other, we have to fear from British and, indeed, from European politics. “
” If the king refuses the constitution, I shall oppose him; if he accepts it, I shall defend him; and the day on which he gave himself up as my prisoner secured me more fully to his service than if he had promised me half his kingdom. “
” The king knows with what ardor and perseverance I have at all times been devoted to the cause of liberty and to the principles of humanity, equality and justice. “
” All the evils of France have been produced less by the perversity of the wicked and the violence of fools than by the hesitation of the weak, the compromises of conscience, and the tardiness of patriotism. Let every deputy, every Frenchman show what he feels, what he thinks, and we are saved! “
” I feel happy that twenty-five years of vicissitudes in my fortune, and firmness in my principles, warrant me in repeating here that if, to recover her rights, it is sufficient for a nation to resolve to do so, she can preserve them only by rigid fidelity to her civil and moral duties. “
” I became obnoxious to the Jacobins because I reprobated their aristocracy, which aimed at usurping all legitimate authority. “
” In America there are none poor, and none even that can be called peasants. Each citizen has some property, and all citizens have the same rights as the richest individual, or landed proprietor, in the country. “
” My grand affair appears settled, for America is certain of her independence, humanity has gained her cause, and liberty will never be without a place of refuge. “
” The more I see, hear, and think in Europe, the more I wish for every measure that can ensure to the United States dignity, power, and public confidence. “
” If the liberties of the American people are ever destroyed, they will fall by the hands of the clergy. “
” I had displeased the jacobins by blaming their aristocratic usurpation of legitimate powers; the priests of all sorts by claiming religious liberty; the anarchists by repressing them; and the conspirators by rejecting their offers. “
” I can assure the Marquis de Chasteler that it is my unalterable determination never to set foot on any territory which acknowledges obedience to His Majesty the King of Bohemia and Hungary. “
” The continental troops have as much courage and real discipline as those that are opposed to them. They are more inured to privation, more patient than Europeans, who, on these two points, cannot be compared to them. “
” I experience for the American officers and soldiers that friendship which arises from having shared with them for a length of time dangers, sufferings, and both good and evil fortune. “
” The Spaniards are slow in their motions but strong in their attachments. “
” It is necessary above all that the citizens, who have rallied round the constitution, should be assured that the rights it guarantees will be respected with such a scrupulous fidelity as will reduce to despair its enemies, hidden or avowed. “
” May the friends of America rejoice! May her enemies be humbled and her censors silenced at the news of her noble exertions in continuance of those principles which have placed her so high in the annals of history and among the nations of the earth. “
” No person is more convinced than I am of the necessity of giving great splendour and energy to the great hereditary magistracy exercised by the king; but in a free country, there can only be citizens and public officers. “
” The days of the revolution now give place to the period of regular organization, liberty, and prosperity, which that revolution guarantees. Thus, when everything concurs for the pacification of internal troubles, the threats of the enemies of France must, in the face of the public happiness, appear even to themselves insensate. “
” May the States be so bound to each other as forever to defy European politics. Upon that union, their consequence, their happiness, will depend. This is the first wish of a heart more truly American than words can express. “
” I shall ask for the abolition for the punishment of death until I have the infallibility of human judgment demonstrated to me. “
” An irresistible passion that would induce me to believe in innate ideas and the truth of prophecy has decided my career. I have always loved liberty with the enthusiasm which actuates the religious man with the passion of a lover and with the conviction of a geometrician. “
” I have found a unique opportunity to distinguish myself and to learn my trade. I am a general officer in the army of the United States of America. My zeal in their cause and my frankness have won their trust. “
” From an early period, I had the happiness to rank among the foremost in the American Revolution. In the affection and confidence of the people, I am proud to say, I have a great share. “
” Never was a man further from a partiality for Spain than I am. But I think I now have left them in a sincere and steady intention to cultivate the friendship of America. “
” The affairs of America I shall ever look upon as my first business whilst I am in Europe. Any confidence from the king and ministers, any popularity I may have among my own countrymen, any means in my power, shall be, to the best of my skill, and till the end of my life, exerted in behalf of an interest I have so much at heart. “