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Harlow Giles Unger, author of Lafayette, a new biography of the Marquis published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., will speak on “Lafayette: Champion of American Liberty,” the inaugural lecture in recognition of the book's publication, 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, in Lafayette's Jaqua Auditorium, Hugel Science Center.

Unger will sign books before and after the lecture. He also will sign books at a reception held 4:30-6:30 p.m. that day in Skillman Library, which will preview its fall exhibit, What's in a Name?: Lafayette College and the Marquis de Lafayette.

Unger's visit is sponsored by the Marquis Society and Friends of Skillman Library. His talk will air on the C-Span2 program “Book TV.”

“Harlow Unger's Lafayette is a remarkable and dramatic account of a life as fully lived as it is possible to imagine, that of Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette,” says Larry Collins, coauthor of Is Paris Burning? and O Jerusalem! with Dominique Lapierre '52.

President Bush signed a bill Aug. 7 granting American citizenship to the Marquis de Lafayette, an honor granted posthumously to only five other individuals, among them Sir Winston Churchill.

Lafayette President Arthur J. Rothkopf '55 called the honorary citizenship “a wonderful tribute to the Marquis and also quite gratifying for Lafayette College, which has so proudly borne his name for more than 175 years.” Rothkopf also noted that the posthumous honor is helping draw renewed attention to the prominent role the Marquis de Lafayette played in the American Revolution as well as in subsequent revolutionary movements in France and elsewhere in Europe.

As principal author of the “Declaration of the Rights of Man,” Lafayette helped propel not only the French Revolution, but all of Europe's subsequent revolutions. He vigorously championed freedom and human rights throughout his life.

Lafayette made a 14-month tour of the new nation in 1824-25 during which he visited 182 towns, became the first foreigner to address Congress, and was given a large tract of land in Florida. The original text of his remarks to Congress is in the Lafayette College archives, a gift from Morris W. Clothier, who also presented the College with the Daniel Chester French statue of the Marquis that stands in front of Colton Chapel.

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