The founding of the somewhat United States

layfayette.jpg
In 1781, Gens. Rochambeau and Washington, with the Marquis de Lafayette, give the last orders for attack in "Siege of Yorktown" by Auguste Couder. Lizzie O’Leary
layfayette.jpg
In 1781, Gens. Rochambeau and Washington, with the Marquis de Lafayette, give the last orders for attack in "Siege of Yorktown" by Auguste Couder. Lizzie O’Leary

The founding of the somewhat United States

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If you listen to Marketplace Weekend, you know I live in New York. Brooklyn, to be specific. And that means I take the subway and spend a lot of time reading on it. This week, I have been carrying around Sarah Vowell’s new book, “Lafayette In the Somewhat United States.” It’s about the Marquis de Lafayette and his tremendous influence in the founding of our country.

And honestly, it took me reading this book on my commute to realize that Lafayette Avenue, where I get on the subway every day, is named for the guy. Ooof. Lightbulb! I feel like I should probably refund my college tuition.

But Lafayette is everywhere in America. And Vowell and I talked about that. And the influence that this aristocratic teenage Frenchman had when he worked — for free — for a group of rebellious tax protesters, aka our Founding Fathers.