Lafayette symbolized two great principles of government. First, the right of a people to govern themselves, as opposed to government of the many by a self-appointed few-in other words, democracy as opposed to autocracy. Second, a union of the democracies to insure mutual protection and peace...
Before landing in America in 1777 he wrote to his wife: "I but offer my services to that interesting republic from motives of the purest kind, unmixed with ambition or private views: her happiness and my glory are my only incentives to the task"...
-from The Spirit of Lafayette
As France floundered in the later years of the Great War, the pressure on the United States to join the European struggle against tyranny was growing. In 1918, American lawyer James Mott Hallowell published this plea to his countrymen to come to the aid of France, which had done the same for America at her hour of greatest need during the Revolution against Britain.
By detailing Lafayette's contribution to the then-new nation's battle for freedom, Hallowell argues that the debt the country incurred at its birth from France was now due, and his impassioned argument was so effective it inspired a 1919 film... and helped contribute to the United States' entry into World War I.
OF INTEREST TO: readers of World War I issue, students of French-American diplomacy
JAMES MOTT HALLOWELL (b. 1865) served as assistant attorney general of the state of Massachusetts. He also wrote Taxation of Domestic Manufacturing Corporations in Massachusetts (1908).