The marquis de Lafayette and the comte de Rochambeau were each vital to the fight for American independence, but they took different paths to their service in the American war. Unlike most other French officers, Lafayette did not seek a position in the American army to bolster his military resume or to simply follow his duty to his king. Inspired by the Americans’ pursuit of liberty, Lafayette agreed to serve in the Continental Army at his own expense, arriving before his country formally committed to the American cause. Rochambeau came to America under the orders of his king, commanding an army of five thousand French troops under the French alliance struck in 1778. He agreed to serve as Washington’s subordinate, though he was a far more experienced military leader. Rochambeau’s skill and diplomacy helped to bring about the Franco-American victory at Yorktown.
Part 1 of 6: The Seven Years’ War Isn’t Over Yet (1:59)
Part 2 of 6: Two Interests in America: Diplomatic and Ideological (6:00)
Part 3 of 6: Diplomatic and Ideological Support for the American Revolution (2:36)
Part 4 of 6: Lafayette: A Singular Sensation (12:38)
Part 5 of 6: Victory at Saratoga: France Commits to the War (3:58)
Part 6 of 6: France Coming to America, What Took So Long? (9:58)