comrades. After France declared itself a republic on September 20, 1792, American sympathizers feted the news with toasts, cannonades, and jubilation. When Jefferson replied to William Short’s letter, he noted that the French Revolution had heartened American republicans and undercut Hamiltonian “monocrats.” He regretted the lives lost in Paris, he said, then offered this chilling apologia: “The liberty of the whole earth was depending on the issue of the contest. . . . [R]ather than it should have failed, I would have seen half the earth desolated.”7 For Jefferson, it was not just French or American freedom at stake but that of the entire Western world. To his mind, such a universal goal excused the bloodthirsty means. One mordant irony of this obstinate blindness was that while Republicans rejoiced in the French Revolution and cited the sacred debt owed to French officers who had fought in the American Revolution, those same officers officers were being victimized by revolutionary violence. Gouverneur Morris, now U.S. minister to France, informed Hamilton after the king’s execution, “It has so happened that a very great proportion of the French officers who served in America have been either opposed to the Revolution at an early day or felt themselves obliged at a later period to abandon it. Some of them are now in a state of banishment and their property confiscated.”16 With the monarchy’s fall, the marquis de Lafayette was denounced as a traitor. He fled to Belgium, only to be captured by the Austrians and shunted among various prisons for five years. Tossed into solitary confinement, he eventually emerged wan and emaciated, a mostly hairless cadaver. Lafayette’s family suffered grievously during the Terror. His wife’s sister, mother, and grandmother were all executed and dumped in a common grave. Other heroes of the American Revolution succumbed to revolutionary madness: the comte de Rochambeau was locked up in the Conciergerie, while Admiral d’Estaing was executed. Chernow, Ron. Alexander Hamilton (p. 434). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. Chernow, Ron. Alexander Hamilton (pp. 433-434). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. Chernow, Ron. Alexander Hamilton (p. 433). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. Chernow, Ron. Alexander Hamilton (p. 432). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

— Jefferson’s bloodthirst and French Revolution  

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