Lafayette in America in 1824 and 1825
May 14, 2009
A Lecture in conjunction with the Massachusetts Lafayette Society A decade before Tocqueville, Auguste Levasseur, private secretary to the Marquis de Lafayette, observed and reported on the state of the American Republic as he accompanied General Lafayette on his Farewell Tour of all 24 United States. Levasseur's journal, Lafayette in America, describes the Americans' enormous pride in the republican institutions created by the revolutionary generation and the ensuing growth and prosperity. He recounts their intense feelings of gratitude towards those who had won the republic, among whom Lafayette was the sole surviving major general of the Continental Army.
In this book, translated by Alan Hoffman, Levasseur recounts how the 67-year-old hero of the American Revolution and apostle of liberty in Europe was welcomed in an adoring frenzy by the American people, including Bostonians. With its panoramic view of the young country - its burgeoning cities and towns, its technological innovations like the Erie Canal, and its industrious people â€” this book captures America on the cusp of its jubilee year. Levasseur also chronicles Lafayette's affectionate visits with his old friends John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and John Quincy Adams, and his encounter with Senator Andrew Jackson. A keen observer, Levasseur gives us a sense of the characters of these men who, with Lafayette's paternal friend George Washington, led the United States through its first six decades.
Boston Athenaeum member ALAN R. HOFFMAN received a B.A. in history from Yale University and a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School. He lives in southern New Hampshire and practices law in Boston. Passionate about American history and Lafayette, Hoffman spent three years working on this first unabridged English translation of Levasseur's journal and readying it for publication. He is a member of the American Friends of Lafayette and the Massachusetts Lafayette Society. A limited number of seats are open to the public by advance reservation.
Reservations will be accepted starting May 1.