Bicentennial Tour

Throughout 2024–2025, the AFL will host educational programming across the United States and in France to commemorate the Bicentennial of Lafayette’s return to America as the “Guest of the Nation.” 

There will be hundreds of planned events, both in large cities such as New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston, St. Louis, New Orleans, and Savannah, as well as in the multitude of small towns Lafayette visited, still brimming with pride that America’s favorite fighting Frenchman came through their municipality. Our goal is to educate the public about the roles played by both Lafayette and France in our war for independence. We will accomplish this through planned festivities, informative programing, and meaningful remembrances.

2024–2025 Tour

Beginning on August 16, 2024, we will start the thirteen-month bicentennial celebration of Lafayette’s triumphant return tour of the United States in New York City. During the next thirteen months, we will follow Lafayette’s footsteps through the then existing 24 states in the exact order he traveled in 1824 and 1825.

August 16, 2024: In New York City, we will commemorate Lafayette’s return to the United States after forty years. This event will kick off our 13-month celebration.

October 17, 2024: We will gather at George Washington’s tomb at Mount Vernon to commemorate Lafayette’s somber visit there two centuries prior.

November 4, 2024: We will be at Monticello to honor Lafayette’s visit with Thomas Jefferson.

March 4, 2025: We will be in Fayetteville, NC and rejoice with the only city Lafayette ever visited that was named after him.

April 11, 2025: We will be in New Orleans, LA.

April 29, 2025: We will be in St Louis, MO

September 8, 2025: We will end our 13-month celebration in Washington D.C. where we will board a boat to sail down the Potomac River — past Mount Vernon, just as Lafayette did 200 years earlier on his way back to France.

Why Lafayette

In 1824, the United States was in the throes of a very contentious national Presidential election. Our country was divided and in turmoil. President James Monroe thought it would be a good idea to bring back the last living American General from the Revolutionary War for a short tour of popular cities as a way to celebrate the nation’s 50th anniversary and reignite its patriotism. At the time, many U.S. citizens knew that Lafayette had been involved in other revolutions in Europe and South America. In fact, he had been imprisoned for over 5 years as a result of the French Revolution. During and after the American Revolution, Lafayette strongly supported human rights for all, especially religious freedom and equality for women. He was an abolitionist and always fought for Liberty, Equality, and Freedom. Upon his return to the United States, Lafayette was welcomed with universal affection and gratitude by Americans in all 24 states. Everyone enthusiastically embraced the last surviving general of the American Revolution.

His arrival in New York inspired four days and nights of continuous celebration—a response replicated during his visits to each of the other states. Everywhere were reported parades, balls, dinners, and other celebratory events hosted in Lafayette’s honor. His three-month tour turned into 13 months as he was welcomed by all as the “Nation’s Guest!”. Indeed, Lafayette loved America and, without a doubt, Americans everywhere loved him right back!

AFL Board of Governors

President: Alan Hoffman
Executive Director: Chuck Schwam
Vice President: Robert Kelly
Vice President: Hank Parfitt
Treasurer: Chuck Schwam
Curator: Diane Shaw
Secretary: Bonnie Fritz
Membership Chair: Abbey Kirk
Social Media Outreach: Mackenzie Fowler

At-large Members of the Board of Governors

Caroline Lareuse
Jerry Meekins
Robert Raffety
Mackenzie Fowler
Abbey Kirk
Jan O’Sullivan
Patti Maclay
Frank Womble
Bob Kelly